Day 122: 9/19/19

Thursday was a day to reassure for Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, a day to celebrate for Bernie Sanders, and a day to say thanks for Pete Buttigieg.

No one candidate stood out.

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren all sent 3 emails each on Thursday, while Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang limited themselves to just 2 apiece.

I’m surprised Campaign Events got so high!

Perhaps realizing they were going too hard on the end-of-month fundraising when it was still weeks out, a lot of campaigns pulled back to talk about their campaigns instead. Marianne Williamson announced her plan for a livestream on Saturday, which is the International Day of Peace. As a peacemonger, she said, it was important that she represent this day.

Kamala Harris sent out a reassuring email about the state of her campaign. Or, well… reassuring if it wasn’t clearly sent out to reassure.

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2019, I wanted to provide an update on the state of our campaign and lay out some of our thinking about the path ahead. We are excited about the next four and a half months, as Kamala prepares to hit the trail hard and lay out why she’s the best candidate in this race to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump and build a broad coalition to win and unite this country.

Where We Are
This summer has been an important period on two key fronts: building our campaign infrastructure, and raising the resources necessary to kick that infrastructure into gear in the home stretch of this primary.

Kamala has consistently been the candidate voters want to know more about and hear from more. There is so much interest in her historic candidacy, and when voters get to know her better, they really like her. Her favorability is strong and durable, and she’s well-regarded across a broad demographic coalition. She’s been rock solid in the top five in this historically large and sprawling field from the very beginning, and is well-positioned to break through and win the Democratic nomination.

When it comes to public polls, it’s important to remember where we are. In October 2003, John Kerry, who went on to win the Democratic nomination, was polling in fifth place, at around 8 percent. At this point in 2007, Barack Obama trailed both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards consistently in Iowa caucus polls — and Clinton led national polls by an average of 18 points. (She led the national polls by double digits until the week after Iowa!) In 2015, Clinton led Bernie Sanders by 21 points in Iowa. She ended up only winning by less than half of 1 percent.

I say all that not to make any excuses. But there have been about 25 Democratic primary horse race polls in the past 30 days, and they go up and down. Even the NBC/WSJ poll this week revealed that only 9 percent of respondents say they’ve made up their mind in this race. The media is going to keep feverishly covering these polls, but we can’t get too high or too low. We are focused on executing our plan and winning this election.

This month is going to be important because it is really when we start to see the fruits of what we have been preparing for since the beginning of this race. October is when voters begin to really decide who they want to support in this primary, and we are hitting the gas.

Following the five-day Iowa bus tour in August that took her 650 miles for 18 events in 11 counties, Kamala will double down on Iowa, campaigning there each week in October. We will add over 60 more organizers in state and open 10 more offices. This is an extension of the marker we laid down there this summer, when we grew our staff to 65 people and began work in 7 offices including our headquarters in Des Moines.

Kamala has a unique message and appeal to caucus goers who have so often defied conventional wisdom and expectations in the previous two cycles. We are under no illusions: we are asking Democratic voters and caucus goers to do something that’s never been done before, to support a nominee that does not look like any nominee before now. That will take effort, energy, and resources up until caucus day. But this campaign is up for it, and Kamala Harris is up for it.
As someone who has lived and worked in California, I have seen Kamala’s electoral history up close and personal. Whether it was taking on the machine and running for district attorney or polling at 6% in polls when she ran for Attorney General, she has always proven she could build a broad coalition to win. A lot of people in that state have bet against Kamala Harris and lost.

Why Kamala?
Voters are still very much trying to decide who the best Democrat to beat Donald Trump is, and we feel strongly that Kamala will convince them it’s her over the next few months.

She is going to make the case that we will not defeat Trump — especially in the critical states we must win to hit 270 electoral votes — by going backwards or longing for a bygone era with nostalgia, saying that we just need to go back to a “normal” that, frankly, was not working for millions of people. Trump was not elected because this country was working great for everyone.

We also won’t get there by jumping headfirst into endless ideological fights that may further divide Americans at a time when so many people desperately want to bring the country together after three years of relentless division.

Kamala is going to argue that we win by uniting this country around the common issues we’re all facing – regardless of demography or geography. She believes that Trump’s constant division is preventing us from getting anything done, and focusing on the “3AM issues” she has talked so much about, like concrete actions to stop gun violence and a sensible plan to give working and middle class people $500 a month to make ends meet, is critical to defeating him and allowing us to write a new chapter where we actually achieve solutions to the problems we face.
And she will continue to focus on pursuing justice — whether it’s against a lawless president, or companies who break the law and pollute our environment, or for women and people of color whose rights are being trampled by forces seeking to put them down.

That’s what Kamala is going to focus on as we criss-cross Iowa and show voters why she is the best person to prosecute the case against four more years of Trump — and win.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible campaign. You’re the reason Kamala is in such a strong position to win this race.

Juan Rodriguez, Campaign Manager, Kamala 2020

Here’s the truth: Harris’ campaign is giving off the impression that it’s in a death spiral. Between it’s five-email-a-day fundraising pleas and sinking poll numbers, it’s clear that she’s struggling. This reassuring email did not address that. It did have a nice platitude about how the polls don’t matter this far out, but it did nothing to talk about how the public perception is of a sinking ship and how they were going to rectify that.

This didn’t reassure me. It instead gave me the impression that the campaign was a little blind to their problems and opting for the “ignore them and they’ll go away” strategy. That is never a winning strategy, and it certainly doesn’t speak well for the campaign that it doesn’t see that.

It’s not just Harris taking time for a “State of the Campaign” email. Andrew Yang also sent one out. It was… about as inspiring.

I want to be honest with you about the state of this campaign.

While we are growing in the polls, we are still behind many of our opponents in terms of fundraising, staff on the ground, and advertisements on the air and online.

And when Carly put out a call to raise $250,000 within 48 hours to catch up, the response so far has not been what we’d hoped.

I think we can get back on track and hit this goal tonight, but it’s going to take an extraordinary effort from every member on this team to do it.  Can you pitch in before midnight so we can hit our goal?


I’m the husband to an amazing woman and the father of two young boys.

I know the country my sons will grow up in is going to be very different from the one I grew up in, and I want to look back at my life knowing I did everything in my power to create the kind of future our children deserve.  An America of opportunity and abundance.  An America that invests in its people so they can build the lives they want for themselves and their families.

I hope you feel the same and are compelled to give everything you can in this moment so we can build this America together.  Please pitch in now.

This fight is too important to sit back.

Andrew Yang

I suppose at least it was sent by the candidate himself, and not the campaign manager. However, it sounds like Yang is struggling for fundraising despite the swell in numbers from his debate stunt. He’s rising in polls, yes, but because he’s being known as “the candidate who will give you money.”

You know who else will give you money? Kamala Harris.

Elizabeth Warren talked about a recent campaign event, where she took 4,000 selfies If she is trying to prove her stamina, she absolutely is succeeding there. Reporters have asked if she would stop doing that as the crowds grew, but she said no. It was more than the picture. It was about the one-on-one time with the voters.

Cory Booker sent out another “Top Five Things that Matter This Week” email, showing that last week’s rather insensitive 9/11 email with that subject was poor timing rather than a deliberate slight on the tragedy. He had a successful debate, a weekend of action coming up, the FEC deadline coming up, releasing his labor plan… wait a minute, not all of these things were from this week!

Bernie Sanders was celebrating 1,000,000 individual donors.

Reaching this important milestone proves that one can run for president without racing all around the country begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions at high-dollar fundraisers.

Bernie Sanders

He really hates fundraisers, though. I wonder if that’s because he was never invited to any.

Speaking of begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions at high-dollar fundraisers, I have some bad news from Pete Buttigieg.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to one of his high-dollar fundraisers. There was no begging for money. I didn’t see any stacks of checks.


Thank you so much for joining us last night for an evening with Pete and Chasten in South Bend! We are grateful for your continued support of Pete. You’ve been there from the beginning and it means the world to Pete, Chasten, and the Pete for America team. 

South Bend is so important to Pete, and it has been our great privilege to elevate the story of this city and its people to the national stage. Pete gets to share the narrative of change in South Bend with people across the country as an example of what can happen when we place trust in one another and rise to meet the opportunities of the future together. 

I often think back to Pete’s launch day rally in the former Studebaker building, when he noted that “America deserves our optimism, deserves our courage, and deserves our hope.” It has taken tremendous courage from you to join Team Pete, and your optimism and hope for the future has fueled this campaign. We look forward to having you with us on this journey – all the way to the White House. 

If last night inspired you as much as it did me, I hope you consider making another contribution to help us grow this movement and keep the momentum going.

Thank you again for investing in our Pete for America community, and I look forward to seeing you around the Bend! 

Elizabeth Hascher, Investment Associate – South Bend HQ, Pete for America

THERE IT WAS! In black and white (and hyperlinked blue), a blatant begging of the wealthy donors for even more money! Buttigieg didn’t beg at the event, he begged after.

In all honesty, I can’t see why this is so anathema to the democratic process and why Sanders is so against it. I gave money. Buttigieg asked for more money.

Isn’t that how Sanders has been doing it?

Buttigieg also sent another email just to his donor list:

We don’t get to say this enough: Thank you. When Pete launched his bid for president five months ago, his bold vision was supported by just a handful of staff and a small group of volunteers (on top of the greatest support system in politics — Chasten, Buddy, and Truman!). But day by day, Pete’s message caught on, and people across the country stepped up to invest in this campaign, including you.

It’s thanks to our grassroots donors that we’ve hit so many milestones. Debate stages, office openings, more than 300 staff, volunteers in multiple states — all the makings of a campaign that can win. Pete often says that a donation to a political campaign is an act of hope, and we couldn’t agree more. That hope is reciprocal. We feel it with every dollar that comes in, and we feel it more so as folks like you step up big time.

Being part of Team Pete means experiencing moments we’ll never forget, with plenty yet to come. You’re as much a part of that as we are, and we’re excited for all the milestones yet to come. Will you help us make them happen by chipping in again? We’re building a movement that will win, and we’re doing it one grassroots donation at a time.

We hear from so many of you every day. Over email, on Twitter, and in person. And that’s why we can say, without reservation, we have the best grassroots team in politics. Thanks for being a part of it and hitting these milestones with us.

Pete for America

It’s a whole email to say thank you and crossed with a donation ask.

Buttigieg also sent the only Info email of the day.

Emails like Buttigieg’s “thank you” one above are one of the reasons why these charts just don’t feel like they tell the whole story. That email was very nice. I enjoyed reading it. It got lumped into the “Donate” category of this pie chart. Buttigieg also put out a Medicare for All Who Want It policy, which was the one “Info” email of the week, however, Elizabeth Warren put out a “Merch” email that actually explained a point of her campaign. That mint green that is such a signature color for her campaign? It’s actually called “Liberty Green,” and it’s inspired by the Statue of Liberty. (Also, she has three new shirts available in Liberty Green.) I like getting little tidbits like that in emails.

Cory Booker also had a merch email on Thursday. After a week of struggling with his cash deadline, he decided instead to offer up TOTALLY FREE Cory 2020 stickers.

However, this sticker email only went to his non-donors.

TOTALLY FREE stickers like these and like the ones Harris had done in the past are ways to grow your email list. They’re not as attention grabbing as offering $1,000 a month, but they’re relatively cheap to produce and since they’re not even asking for a donation in return, people are more apt to click and give their information. It’s just an address for a FREE STICKER, after all.

Just keep in mind, they’re doing this to send you more information. The sticker is just the small price they have to pay.

Or the book.

Yes, Beto O’Rourke is doing the same thing Booker is doing with stickers, but he’s instead offering up a copy of his book. It both promotes his legalizing marijuana platform and expands his mailing list… all for the low, low cost of whatever you want to donate. He’d suggest his average donation of $20, but you can give anything. Just remember that he needs to pay for printing and shipping!

But hey, if all else fails in your list-growing activities, you can always do what Kamala Harris said she’d do.

That was her email subject.
One of these candidates has dropped out! I’m so excited!

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