Day 161: 10/28/19

Monday brought some bad Halloween puns from Cory Booker, some unusual fundraising claims from Julian Castro, and a new message from Kamala Harris.


For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 18 candidates for the Democratic Presidential Nomination! This blog breaks down recent emails with charts and excerpts. If you already know all of this, feel free to skip to the next chart!

I signed up to all mailing lists either on May 21 or the day the candidate announced, whichever was later. Using a different email address, I have donated at least $1 to all candidates who have been on a debate stage (I have given additional donations to my preferred candidates through my personal email, but the campaigns have linked the two accounts together and may ask for more as a result).

When showing breakdowns by campaigns, there will usually be 2 numbers. Emails to my non-donor account will be indicated by a darker color/top bar in horizontal bar charts. Emails to my donor account will be indicated by a lighter color/bottom bar.

Unless otherwise specified, all other charts combine the donor and non-donor numbers, as they are roughly 1-for-1, so the percentages and relative differences don’t change much. You can divide the numbers in half to get the rough estimate for what someone not signed up twice would be receiving. The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.

If you want specific data on any particular day, feel free to drop a comment!

Five emails on a Monday?

Julian Castro is once again in the lead with 5 emails sent in one day. Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren each sent 3 emails, while Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang restrained themselves to just 2.

We’re nearing the end of the month.

Several campaigns are trying to tie their end of month fundraising to Halloween, a holiday that conveniently falls at the end of the month. Michael Bennet is certainly attempting it.


Personally, I feel like it takes more than some orange and some spiders to make something Halloween-y. Let’s ask Cory Booker what he does to bring the festive spirit into his campaign…

P.S. OK one more. “What do vegan zombies eat?”


Cory Booker

I love him.

Other candidates have launched Halloween merch or talked about “scary results” if they don’t get their funding, but none of them did that on Monday. Michael Bennet did launch an argument for why he is needed as the nominee: he’s polling in sixth place in a crucial swing state like Michigan, and therefore can beat Trump.

I have to admit, I can’t quite follow that logic.

Beto O’Rourke is upset that even Tom Steyer has managed to qualify for the November debates, but he hasn’t gotten to that point yet. It sounds like O’Rourke is starting to struggle with the realities of his campaign:

We have to raise $200,000 for our end-of-month fundraising goal to remain competitive in this race…

We’re sprinting to raise another $200,000 before the end of the month.

Hitting this goal will make a big difference on whether we’ll have the resources to keep funding certain programs in our budget.

Our chances will get a whole lot slimmer if we have to slash funds from our organizing teams, media advertising, or strategy to qualify Beto for the November Debate. 

Team Beto

O’Rourke isn’t making any ultimatums like Julian Castro is or Cory Booker did, but things aren’t looking good for him.

Somehow, things are looking good for Castro.

The debate donor threshold is 200,000 donors.

Yes, somehow a new deadline could give Castro the momentum he needs to get the money he needs from his first deadline. And yes, nameless “generous donors” are stepping up to match donations. Why aren’t they just giving the money Castro so desperately needs directly to him? I have no idea. Maybe they’re not real.

Regardless, this new deadline has Castro really fired up.

CLINCH this HISTORIC fundraising push.

And yes, in one of Castro’s five emails from Monday, he did say he was humbled.

Tom Steyer with the yellow Outside ask.

While the candidates have all been tweeting about the California fires, Tom Steyer asked me to donate to California’s first responders. I sort of want to know how much he’s donated: as it’s not a political group, surely he’s not limited by campaign laws and can give at least a million of his billions to fighting the fires… right?

Friend, California is in a state of emergency. 

Last night, a brush fire erupted near the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. High winds turned the hillside into a firescape — it has burned more than 600 acres, thousands are being evacuated, and firefighters are working nonstop to contain the flames. 

That is just today, in just one part of California. The Kincade fire has been burning in Sonoma County since Wednesday. More than 66,000 acres have burned; hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes. 

I’m proud of my home state for responding the way we always do in the face of continuous climate disasters. First responders are going above and beyond to keep us safe. Shelters in surrounding counties are opening their doors to take in stranded families. All of us are asking, “How can we help?” 

I hope you will support our first responders, our second responders, and local organizations by donating to them today. They need us right now. 

Please keep safe,

Tom Steyer

Pete Buttigieg offered me a chance to get a membership card by asking me to make a monthly donation as a donor or a single donation as a non-donor. I have now received membership card offers from Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, and Andrew Yang in addition to Buttigieg. One thing I do like about Buttigieg’s card is that the backside has the rules of the road on it. You know how I’m a sucker for a code of conduct.

Buttigieg also asked me to record a video of why I support him. He claims he has an easy system set up where I click a link and click record and record a video and then I can rerecord it and send it to him. I gotta say… if it really is that easy, kudos to Buttigieg for making it easy to get testimonials from real people.

Kamala Harris is asking for money like all the other campaigns, but she’s starting to go an abstract direction.

You guessed it: in this email, I’m going to ask you to make your first contribution to our campaign for president before the upcoming end-of-month fundraising deadline. But first, I hope you’ll let me explain why your gift matters so much in this moment.

What happens in the 98 days between now and the Iowa caucuses matters tremendously to the viability of our campaign.

As you’ve seen in the news, many of our opponents are out-raising us by tens of millions of dollars. The polls are fluctuating daily, but most of them show us tailing some of our opponents. And, as my team and I have shared, grassroots contributions to our campaign have slowed this month.

I’m not sharing this to scare you. I’m sharing this because I believe in speaking truth and being transparent with our supporters.

The polls are going to fluctuate. Our opponents will probably continue to out-raise us — I mean one of them is even talking about getting a super PAC. And all this news might make you start losing hope in what we can achieve in this election.

I’m asking you to do something radical: I’m asking you to believe.

If you’ll indulge me, I have a short story to share about hope. The night before the Iowa caucuses in 2007, I went to a senior home in Des Moines and I started knocking on doors, reminding folks to head out and caucus.

At one of the doors, a lady answered — a petite Black woman well into her 80’s. I started talking to her about Barack Obama, and she looked at me with a straight face and said, “They’re not gonna let him win.”

As I looked back at her, I thought about what her 80+ years of life had required her to endure and witness. All the injustices she had experienced. All of the indignities. And that night, she was holding on to her dignity. She was not about to endure another disappointment.

I stayed and talked with her, she talked more with me. Guess who showed up in Barack Obama’s corner the next night at the caucus? And he won.

I share this to remind you that, when we believe in our own ability to make change, in our ability to do what has never been done before, we can achieve anything.

If you’re with me in this, I need you to believe — because there’s a lot of work to be done, and we could really use your help. If you’re able, please consider pitching in your first donation to our campaign right now — whatever amount is meaningful and possible for you.

If you’re still reading this, thank you for taking the time. I know you’re here because you believe our democracy is worth fighting for — and this is a fight we will win.

Kamala Harris

She did preface her email with the subject “This is a long email. I hope you will read it,” so at least she warned me?

I find it very interesting how Harris’ messaging has been shifting from “let’s prosecute Trump” to “let’s believe in something together.” Unfortunately, this sort of change (as with any change at this stage of the race) feels like she’s actually going off message, even though it’s still a good message. By going off-message, though, off-brand as it were, it feels more like she’s trying to stay afloat than it does a natural progression of her campaign. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more campaigns sliding off message as the race tightens.

And speaking of someone sliding off message… or maybe sliding on message? Tulsi Gabbard sent a very nice email out on Monday, but only to her non-donors.

I hope you give me a moment to explain exactly why this video speaks to the heart of what makes Tulsi — and our growing movement of Americans — different from every other candidate and campaign:

In every town, city and county across the country we are hearing the same thing: Things have changed, and not for the better. One young man in Iowa from the small town of Albia shared that in his town, people can’t even look each other in the eyes at the corner store. He said people have lost friends and even their businesses because of political differences. Conversations that were once casual and friendly have become tense and strained. People are feeling hopeless. Left behind. Bitter with not just the state of politics, but the impact that it’s had on their closest relationships. 

I really want you to hear this, friend: It doesn’t need to be this way. In our movement, we not only respect, but deeply appreciate, that our great nation is made up of a rich diversity of views and attitudes. That progress cannot be made when we fear differences of opinion, resort to cancel culture, or when we allow our leaders and the media to fan the flames of division. On the campaign trail, Tulsi has the opportunity to meet people from across the political spectrum, from all walks of life and with all different (and often very strongly held) points of view. We do our best to ensure that at our gatherings, we create an environment of aloha and respect that is so lacking from our political discourse. We may respectfully disagree, yet we are still able to look each other in the eyes and have a conversation.  

Short soundbites might work for the DNC debate stage and for corporate media headlines but they don’t work for we, the American people. Are you ready to usher in a new era of unity that works to find common ground and celebrates what makes us great instead of what makes us different? Watch this video and then contribute to our campaign that is capable of not only beating Trump, but unifying our country.

We have so much more in common, as Americans, than we are ever led to believe if we just read the headlines or listen to our political leaders. But they’re selling a lie, and it’s a lie that Tulsi will continue to call out — in the media, on the campaign trail — in order to heal our great divide.

The truth is, I rarely meet people on the trail who just define themselves as merely “pro” or “anti” any complicated or personal issue. Whether it’s on immigration, foreign policy, gun safety, or healthcare, the solution is almost always more nuanced and human than the corporate media or political establishment allows. 

Our President, our leaders in Congress, our representatives in the media — they have failed us by putting bias and political point scoring ahead of our people, and our planet. As your President, Tulsi will once again make the White House a beacon of hope and light that serves the people, not any particular political party. She will bring a soldier’s values of service above self to the position of commander in chief, honoring the sacrifices of her brothers and sisters in arms who put on the uniform to defend the freedoms, rights and liberties of ALL Americans.

Are you with Tulsi?


Thank you for standing with me, and standing for a better and more united America. 

Caitlin, TULSI2020

Let me remind you that this same candidate saying “That progress cannot be made when we fear differences of opinion, resort to cancel culture, or when we allow our leaders and the media to fan the flames of division” is the very same candidate who was furious at the “corrupt elite,” and who called Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.” For someone who is scolding our leaders for fanning the flames of division, Tulsi Gabbard certainly seems to be fanning those flames pretty hard. “The utter disdain for the truth — and refusal to face their own failures and hypocrisy — shown by establishment warmongers and their corporate media lackeys is not only insulting, it’s a threat to our democracy,” Gabbard said in an earlier email.

But sure. Tell me again how you’re a beacon of hope and light, Gabbard.

Pete Buttigieg beat Andrew Yang to 200 total emails!

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