Day 147: 10/14/19

It was the last day before Debate Day, and the campaigns were preparing hard. Pete Buttigieg was looking for words of support, while Andrew Yang fretted about not getting enough donors in time. Tulsi Gabbard announced that she wouldn’t be boycotting the debates after all, and Beto O’Rourke went on the attack early.

Numbers are picking up.

Kamala Harris still strides out in front of the pack with 4 emails, while Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, and Andrew Yang sent only 3 each. Michael Bennet and Tim Ryan both refrained from sending any emails at all. Even John Delaney emailed me on Monday (though he just wanted to know if I supported universal background checks). (I do.)

I like getting “Other” asks

Pete Buttigieg was leading the pack on unconventional asks yet again. While he opened up a digital AMA last week, this week was all about expressing support. The campaign invited me to write Buttigieg a message of support he could read before going on the debate stage. I have to say, I feel like that would be more supportive than merely seeing a list of names of people who had donated during a certain time frame.

I’m actually surprised at how few Volunteer asks I’ve gotten this past week. Usually, the campaigns are full of asks for debate watch parties in the weeks leading up to the debate, but not many this time. Buttigieg did invite me to find one yesterday, but nobody else suggested a watch party on Monday.

Instead of watch parties, I was getting a lot of groaning as candidates looked at their fundraising numbers. Andrew Yang was pushing hard to get 40,000 donors by debate night, and his emails were getting absolutely despondent.

With one day to go, we wish we had better news for this update. But we still have 8,815 to go to reach our 40,000 contribution goal.


When we fall short of our goals, our campaign suffers.

It means we can’t open more offices or hire more organizers in the early primary states. It means we can’t place important digital and TV ads. It means we have to cut back on the things that will win us this election.

This is a team effort and we need everyone to stand with us. Chip in now so we don’t fall behind.

Team Yang

Yang wasn’t the only one upset about his fundraising. Bernie Sanders was also soliciting more donations.

Before tomorrow’s next presidential primary debate, we’re aiming to reach a huge number of donations to show our movement stands with Bernie.

The truth is we need to close the gap with where we were at this point in September. As of today, we’re about 30,000 donations behind.

Team Bernie

Kamala Harris was especially nervous.

I’ll be honest: I’m stressing out a little bit (well…a lot) about tomorrow. I’ve had October 15 circled in red marker on my calendar for a while.

First, every candidate’s FEC reports will be made public — allowing our opponents and reporters to pore through our quarterly filing to try to learn as much as they can about our campaign.

Plus, tomorrow night, Kamala will face off against 11 other candidates in the most packed debate stage in our country’s history. Talk about pressure.

But before she heads out onto that debate stage — we’re up against a goal of raising $150,000 online. And I’m gonna be honest: right now, it looks like we’re going to fall short.

If you can help out, please rush a donation to Kamala’s campaign and help us reach our pre-debate goal of raising $150,000 online:

Hitting this goal is mission-critical. If we fall short, Juan will need to consider cutting back on parts of our campaign budget that could have an impact on our ability to win.

I wish I could rearrange the cells on my spreadsheet to make it all add up — but the math doesn’t lie.

I really hope you can pitch in today to make sure we don’t miss the mark. Kamala is counting on us.

Jenn Liu, Finance Team, Kamala 2020

Even Joe Biden was feeling the pinch.

Our Beat Trump fundraising deadline is tonight, and we’re still $135,000 short of our goal.

Here’s what happens if we fall short:

We could go into tomorrow’s debate with our resources drained.

We might not be able to fight back against attacks on our campaign around the debate.

We’ll have to cut back on our budget in other places — like our grassroots organizing program.

Biden HQ

One candidate who wasn’t stressing about money was Pete Buttigieg. He had just concluded his fundraiser, though he didn’t let me know if he was successful or not.

When we come together, we shine bright.

This team had another big fundraising push this weekend. We called it our Keep the Lights On campaign after the special moment Pete shared with supporters at a rally in Nevada. Because we knew that if enough people individually chipped in what they could — no matter how big or small — together we could go forward with the resources we need to win. We’re so grateful to everyone who rose with us to meet this moment.

That’s what this campaign is all about. It’s the beating heart of it.

Now, today, we’re checking in with field teams across the country and sending out resources to hit the ground running across all of our teams.

From all of us — in South Bend, and in field offices across the country — thank you.

If this team keeps doing incredible things, there’s no limit to how far we can go. Thanks for being part of it. More updates coming your way soon!

Pete for America
That’s what I was expecting.

Tulsi Gabbard had been playing “Will I or won’t I” about the debate, but she finally made her decision.

That’s the whole email.

I can’t say I’m shocked. The fact that she was playing at all meant that she wasn’t going to say no. She was just trying to stir up some excitement and get some attention.

Gee. I wonder why that sounds familiar? Do we know of anyone else who says stuff they don’t mean just for the media attention?

She did send a follow-up email in which she berated the NYT for saying her supporters were conspiracy theorists… by repeating a theory that there’s a conspiracy against her.

Tomorrow night Tulsi will step onto the debate stage in Ohio, and she will speak for all of us. Tulsi will take the stage in spite of the DNC/corporate media hijacking the primary election process.

Just this morning, The New York Times — yes, the “neutral” media outlet charged with co-hosting tomorrow night’s so-called debate, published yet another smear piece. This time writing: “Ms. Gabbard’s warnings of a rigged election are likely to resonate with her base, an unconventional mix of anti-interventionist progressives, libertarians, contrarian culture-war skeptics, white nationalists and conspiracy theorists.”

Here’s the thing, friend. The DNC-backed New York Times do not get to speak for us. The corporate media elite do not get to cast our broad and diverse movement of patriots, parents, students, veterans, teachers, nurses, volunteers, soldiers and ordinary Americans — as deplorables. They don’t get to hijack the job of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and across the country by tipping the scales in favor of establishment picks. Only we get to speak for us — and tomorrow, Tulsi will lift our voices that have been silenced for too long.

The corporate media and political establishment have done everything in their power to keep our voices — Tulsi’s critical message about the cost of war, and the promise of an America truly of, by and for the people — from being heard. Don’t let them win. Stand with Tulsi before she takes the stage by chipping in $5, $7, $11 or whatever you can afford right now.

When Tulsi called out the DNC/corporate media for trying to hijack the primary election from actual voters, you told us loud and clear that the reason you’re with Tulsi is because you’re counting on her to fight for all of us. You know Tulsi has never backed down from a fight, no matter the odds. After September 11, Tulsi made the decision to serve her country in uniform to fight against the terrorists who attacked us. When in 2016 the DNC showed its hand by tipping the primary scales for Hillary Clinton, Tulsi stepped down from her position as Vice Chair of the DNC and endorsed Senator Sanders. 

Tomorrow night, Tulsi will take that integrity to the stage and represent all of us. We need her voice on that stage because she’s the only candidate who knows that what makes this country truly great is its people. We need her to keep speaking up as the lone voice against regime change war, the new Cold War and nuclear arms race. To keep sounding the alarm against our reckless foreign policy that this week has turned our regime change war in Syria into a potential war between Russia and Turkey — a US ally and NATO partner. To speak loudly against the hypocrisy of the DC political establishment and the candidates who dare to defend the status quo and those who profit from our pain. 


I’m no expert, but I suspect the fact that she encourages conspiracy theories does mean that her supporters are conspiracy theorists. That’s one of those things that just feels right, you know?

Gabbard isn’t the only one getting frothy before the debates. Beto O’Rourke, after poking and prodding at Pete Buttigieg for his differing opinions on gun control, sent out a scathing email referencing a line Buttigieg said from an interview.

He notably did not call out Buttigieg directly, though whether that was because he was too civil to or too cowardly to is hard to tell.


You’ve heard Beto (and others!) say that Donald Trump isn’t the problem: he’s the symptom. The problem is that for too long, people have watched as their incomes have gone down, their planet has cooked, and thousands have been killed in schools, churches, and Wal-Marts — all while politicians of both parties have failed to fight for what’s obviously right because it’s too hard or too soon.

You don’t beat Donald Trump with half-measures or half of all people. You beat Donald Trump with a movement that stands proudly, boldly, and loudly for what’s right — no matter who’s mad. You beat them with a campaign funded by teachers, parents, and students, giving $5, $10, $15 at a time (in addition to some time making calls). Pocket change, you might say. But pocket change that adds up. In fact, if everyone who got this email gave it $10, we’d have…$10 million. (I’m bad at math but that’s pretty easy). 

Building a campaign on grassroots fundraising isn’t the easiest choice, but real change doesn’t happen when you make decisions based on what’s easy. Let’s show them how powerful “pocket change” can be when we all chip in and fight together. Can you donate $3 to help make that pocket change add up?

Contribute $3

You beat Trump with a campaign driven by deeply held values, that writes nobody off or takes anyone for granted — no matter how much power you have or how big or small your donation is.

You know what doesn’t beat Trump? Adjusting the sails when it gets hard. Changing your positions when the polls dictate it. Relying on and listening to a small group of elites. It’s time to stop worrying about what Republicans will say. Let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out, and defend it. 

We might not have the most money in the field — even among those who rely on grassroots fundraising. But that’s okay. Because if you believe deeply, speak honestly, and act decisively, you can win. We don’t have the jets or paid photolines. But we’ve got you. And that’s all we’re going to need.

Can you donate $3 right now and show everyone what a campaign looks like when they act on their convictions and values — not polls or conventional wisdom?

Contribute $3

We need you with us, and thanks for everything. 

Rob Flaherty, Beto for America

It’s worth noting that Buttigieg’s line referencing “pocket change” was meant in the context of “we need big donors to help us take out Trump.” As many Democrats have reminded me, Trump has pulled in over $125 million so far for his re-election campaign.

O’Rourke has less than $20 million.

I’m with Buttigieg on this one. When the race is as important and uncertain as this one, putting handicaps on yourself is a STUPID idea. If rich people want to help get Trump out of office, then LET THEM. We need to fix the immediate problem before we can look at the bigger picture. If the shoreline is eroding now, it’s more urgent to get the people living on it to safety than it is to stop climate change.

John Delaney has been in this race the longest and he’s one of the least active in my inbox.

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