October 15 was a monumental day in the Democratic primary. All of the campaigns had to make their Q3 finances public, and we were finally able to scrutinize the numbers some were excited about, and some tried to hide.
Oh yeah, it was also debate day…
With 5 emails in 24 hours, Bernie Sanders became the most vocal candidate on this debate day. He did want to tell me the great news and how he had no doom and gloom, his campaign was really picking up (but it wasn’t where they wanted it to be yet, so please keep giving!) Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren all sent 4 emails on Tuesday, while Tom Steyer and Marianne Williamson limited themselves to 3.
It’s no surprise that everyone wanted to talk about the debate, but there were a handful of emails that didn’t touch on the debate.
Joe Sestak and Pete Buttigieg both emailed about their campaigns. Sestak wanted to talk to me about his walk across New Hampshire, while Buttigieg reminded me of a Grassroots Investment Team fundraising call on Wednesday night.
Julian Castro echoed Beto O’Rourke from Monday, calling out the “pocket change” comment made by Pete Buttigieg and said that he has the support of people like me, and that’s all he needs to beat Trump.
Buttigieg’s point, again, was that while it was great to have that support, let’s be real, it’s not going to be enough. We also need the support of people with money to go against Trump’s money machine…which plenty of Democrats have emailed about worriedly.
Joe Biden also talked about current events, though he was more worried about how now he has to fend off Trump’s attacks, and that’s eating into his budget so he doesn’t have money he needs for other things.
Elizabeth Warren dropped a new policy to get big money out of politics and swore off big-dollar donors, period.
While I agree that money in politics is a bad thing, I’m still not sold on the argument that people who can afford a $2,800 campaign donation are corrupt and shouldn’t be allowed to participate in democracy. I actually read a Medium article yesterday that really summed up my issues with that take, called “The Privilege of Refusing Big Money.” Just to warn, it has a pro-Buttigieg angle, but the arguments against Warren and Sanders align with my views. It basically boils down to: why can’t the rich pay their fair share of elections? Why must the poor shoulder the ENTIRE burden of a political campaign?
Finally, Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang, and Cory Booker all sent emails that had to do more with their fundraising than with the debates. Bennet talked about his mid-month deadline and how my commitment to his campaign was keeping him going. Yang’s campaign manager told me that he cringed whenever Yang asked if they had hit their goal of 40,000 donations yet, because they hadn’t, and he wasn’t sure if they were going to (they did). Booker sent out an email to his donors inviting us to make our own ActBlue Booker donation page. I made one and added the link to my sidebar (or bottom bar if you’re on mobile).
Now, when you’re making a campaign page, you can put a campaign’s theme on it. The campaigns provide the themes. Elizabeth Warren did the same. However, Booker’s themes were… uh…
I don’t understand the football one. The Starfleet is because he loves Star Trek. The vegetable one is because he’s a vegan. But seriously… what?
Every candidate who emailed wanted me to show my support for them financially. Tom Steyer was the only candidate who sent an email with no ask, just talking about some of his thoughts before the debate stage.
I received 20 of those donate emails in the hour after the debate ended.
And now, for an illustration in how one outlier can change an entire average.
Marianne Williamson genuinely believes her supporters are rich. She frequently adds in donation buttons for $500, $1,000, or $2,800 donations. On Tuesday, she sent an email asking me to give generously, but the only financial suggestion she gave was that $2,800 was the legal limit.
It really makes her strategy stand out among all the rest of the candidates and their much more reasonable financial asks.
Note, the averages above include “$0” whenever a candidate does NOT specify how much to give, or when a candidate does not ask for money at all. The more a candidate doesn’t ask for money, the lower their average is.
Williamson has included her huge rainbow buttons in just about every email since she’s debuted them, but she changes up which ones she uses, so I can’t get in a rhythm with recording them. I’m really growing to hate rainbow buttons.