Day 112: 9/9/19

Monday was an unbelievable day. Not only for how Kamala Harris filled my inbox, Pete Buttigieg updated me on his fundraising, or Joe Biden sent an email I really liked, but also how you all, the readers of BTE, came together to send me to a fundraiser next week. Thanks to your generous donations, I’ll be giving you an all-Pete Buttigieg post on Thursday! Thank you!

And, as always, I want to remain unbiased here. If any other campaigns are in the area, I’ll give you a heads up and try to attend.

Perfectly matched.

I received the first donor email from Tom Steyer on Monday, but Kamala Harris was the one stuffing my inbox with 5 emails. Joe Biden was a distant second with only 3.

It’s the final month of a quarter. Fundraising is the only thing they’ll be talking about.

Kamala Harris started the day strong with the launch of her criminal justice reform plan. She asked me only to read it and watch a video of her talking about it, neither tying it to a money or petition ask. However, over the course of the rest of the day, her other 4 emails were all about the almighty dollar. She told me about her goal of $250,000 before Thursday’s debate in the afternoon, but by 7:55 PM ET…

We’re behind on our goals today, but we can catch up. Donate today to support Kamala’s presidential campaign so we can bring a real leader to the White House in 2020:

Team Kamala

Harris wasn’t the only one lagging. After a quiet Sunday, Pete Buttigieg gave me an update on his fundraising push from Saturday.

We sent you a lot of emails on Saturday about a big fundraising goal we set to help us pay for Phase Three of our campaign. The community stepped up in a huge way. We’re 95% of the way there.

But even 95% isn’t close enough. The margin for error in a competitive primary is razor thin, and we’re determined to do everything we can to get Pete in front of voters and share our vision for meeting the challenges of this moment head-on. They demand nothing less than the best of us, coming together.

Phase Three is all about uniting supporters behind the work of winning. We set big goals because we’re hiring organizers across the country and opening offices to function as hubs for our community organizing. We need your support to turn our biggest ambitions for this campaign into on-the-ground, difference-making, vote-winning realities.

We’re grateful for all you did. But we think, together, we might have a little more left in us.

If you can, will you chip in to help us raise the rest of what we need to close ground on the weekend’s goal? Anything you can give will make a difference.

Thank you for believing so strongly in what we’re doing that you invest in it.

Team Pete

This is a departure from Saturday’s emails, where Buttigieg said that it wasn’t actually that important to hit $750,000 exactly. That second paragraph left me scratching my head. It felt out of character for Buttigieg’s largely positive campaign. I think it was the first time I recall his emails saying that the community hadn’t done good enough.

Compare it with Julian Castro, who also set a fundraising goal yesterday. He wanted 5,000 donors before he went on stage for his pre-debate rally in Houston. Like Buttigieg, he came up short.

I just got off the stage from my historic pre-debate rally in Houston. 

And I’m simply stunned — my team just told me we received almost 5,000 gifts from our amazing supporters all across the country tonight.

I only need 1 more gift from [MY ZIP CODE] before midnight to hit our 5,000-gift goal. I’d be so humbled if you could chip in $13. >>

Julian Castro

I sincerely doubt he was at 4,999 gifts, but whatever.

The point is, Castro didn’t make his goal but he didn’t sink into “woe is me, my campaign will wither without this money and then Trump will win.” He celebrated what he did receive and then asked for more.

He also used that “humble” word. One week, Castro. Can’t you go one week without reminding me how humble you are?

For what it’s worth, Michael Bennet was able to rail against the DNC without using the word “arbitrary” on Monday. He did use “humble,” though.

Joe Biden wielded the “backstory” email expertly on Monday. I actually really enjoyed reading this story about Biden from 16 years ago as part of his “I Know Joe” series of emails.

The story I’m about to share with you about Joe Biden is special — in fact, I’m fairly certain I’m the only living person left who actually witnessed it firsthand.

It was about 16 years ago, and I was a young rabbi, brand-new to Delaware, on my way to lead a shiva minyan — a worship service following a death of a Jewish person. I was from California. Back then, I didn’t know Claymont, Delaware from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A quick bit of background: When someone passes away in the Jewish faith, we observe seven days of mourning, called shiva. We gather a group of ten Jewish adults together — a minyan — to say the Mourners’ Kaddish. It usually happens in a person’s home — somewhere intimate.

In this case, the deceased individual — her name was Mrs. Greenhouse, of blessed memory — had not been a person of means. She had lived in rent-controlled senior housing in a tall high-rise building off of Namaans Road. Her apartment had been too small to fit everyone into, so we conducted our worship service in the building’s communal laundry room, in the basement of the high-rise.

We assembled the ten elders together, and it was in this most humble of places that I began to lead the kaddish. Toward the end of the service, a door at the back of the laundry room opened, and who walks in but Senator Joe Biden, his head lowered, all by himself.

I nearly dropped my prayer book in shock.

Senator Biden stood quietly in the back of the room for the duration of the service.

At the close of the kaddish, I walked over to him and asked the same question that must have been on everyone else’s mind: “Senator Biden — what are you doing here?”

And he said to me: “Listen, back in 1972, when I first ran for Senate, Mrs. Greenhouse gave $18 to my first campaign. Because that’s what she could afford. And every six years, when I’d run for reelection, she’d give another $18. She did it her whole life. I’m here to show my respect and gratitude.”

Now, the number 18 is significant in the Jewish faith — its numbers spell out the Hebrew word chai, as in “to life, to life, l’chayim!” But it’s also a humble amount. Joe Biden knew that. And he respected that.

There were no news outlets at our service that day — no Jewish reporters or important dignitaries. Just a few elderly mourners in a basement laundry room.

Joe Biden didn’t come to that service for political gain. He came to that service because he has character. He came to that service because he’s a mensch.

And if we need anything right now when it comes to the leadership of our country — we need a mensch.

I know this is such a simple, small story. But I tell it to as many people as will listen to me.

Because I think that, in their heart of hearts, when people are trying to think about the decision they’ll make next year — this is the kind of story that matters.

Rabbi Michael Beals of Delaware, for Biden for President

I know I give Biden a hard time in these posts, but that’s because I really hate how focused his emails are on Trump. Beat Trump, scare Trump, make Trump shake in his boots… I don’t care. I don’t want to be a bully. But it’s stories like this one that can remind us how lucky we are with our current crop of Democratic candidates. Regardless of your views of his policies or fitness to be President, Biden has a good heart. We should remember and celebrate that in all our candidates. Nobody is one-dimensional.

Petitions were big on Monday.

With billions of his own money funding his campaign, Tom Steyer rarely asks for donations other than to get the numbers he needs for debate appearances. On Monday, he put forth a petition. The subject says it all: “Add your name if you agree: Donald Trump is an illegitimate, criminal president.”

Steyer has been fighting for Trump’s impeachment for a long time now, longer than the 2020 election cycle has been going on. He’s carried it over as a plank of his platform. I think it’s weak as a platform goal: by virtue of winning an election, Trump will be out of office and therefore impossible to impeach. However, I think it is a great cause to push for now. We need to stop sending the message that the President is above the law. I don’t want any President, Democratic or Republican, to think that.

Bernie Sanders also had a petition, wanting me to sign my name if I supported his campaign. He wants to know who’s standing with him. Marianne Williamson wanted me to sign up for her livestream debate watch: she won’t be on stage, but she will be giving her commentary!

Tim Ryan, meanwhile, has moved beyond sadness and anger.

Columbine. Aurora. Parkland. Sandy Hook. Dayton. El Paso. Odessa.

Our country has been crippled by gun violence on so many occasions that it seems easier to just accept it as normal.

But I won’t.

Tim Ryan

He had a petition to demand an end to gun violence, and he sent it out twice. The House has already passed these measures. The Senate, back from their recess, needs to vote on the issues.

As always, spicy Tim Ryan is my favorite Tim Ryan. I like reading his words when he has a bit of fire in his belly.

Tomorrow, the scale will shift to accommodate Tim Ryan’s volume.

2 thoughts on “Day 112: 9/9/19

  1. I gotta admit, I had the same sort of scratching-my-head moment when I got that email from PFA saying, “Close, but no cigar for YOU,” after that “Aw, heck, we don’t have to hit EXACTLY $750,000” the night before. Still, darned if I wasn’t determined to put them over the top–I made one more donation. Possibly the wrong kind of reinforcement in terms of messaging, but what the hey. The money IS needed to get the boots on the ground early on.

    I, personally, can’t wait to read your report about the event next week!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s