Wednesday was scary with the amount of fundraising emails I received! Kamala Harris is strapped for cash, while Bernie Sanders is setting up an Us vs Them dichotomy. Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg is just happy to be in the race.
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!
Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, and Kamala Harris all tied with 4 emails on Wednesday, while Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren all only sent 3. Everyone else managed to restrain themselves to 2 or fewer.
It’s interesting to note that Harris is not sending me donor emails. This actually could be indicative of a serious money problem, and based on the emails and articles I’ve been reading lately, yes, in fact, it is.
Many services that allow for mass mailing lists of the sort all political campaigns would need to manage usually have charges based on the number of emails in the database. For example, perhaps you pay for the 100,000 email level, and if you have over 100,000 emails on your lists, you have to pay an additional monthly charge.
Harris was sending me emails to 3 accounts: Personal (donor), BTE (donor), and BTE (non-donor). I am assuming the two donor accounts were linked together due to the same name/address/information (it seems like all other candidates that received personal donations from me have done this, so I assume Harris has as well). My BTE account has only given Harris $1, while the personal account gave her more. As a result, if she is clearing duplicates in an attempt to shrink her list and save some money, it’s more likely she would delete the BTE donor email and keep the more lucrative personal donor email. Indeed, I have continued to receive emails to my personal address but not the BTE one. If you recall from the charts, this has been going on for about a week now. I have asked that the Harris campaign switch my email address on file over to the BTE address, but I have not received any response (or emails).
Harris has definitely been running out of money.
I wanted to be sure you heard this from me directly.
At the bottom of this email is a memo about the reorganization of our campaign, and I invite you to read it in full. But here’s the gist:
We’ve got less than 100 days until Iowa. If we’re going to have a fighting chance in this race, we need to reduce expenditures, realign our resources, and raise more money.
I don’t share this with you to scare you — and no, this is not a gimmick. These are the real consequences of the fundraising challenges we’re facing in a primary race that’s this crowded.
I share this with you today because this is your campaign. From the day we launched our campaign back in Oakland to now, you’ve built this campaign from the ground up.
All of what we’ve achieved so far was made possible because hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters like you have contributed a few dollars at a time.
Because you stepped up to organize your own communities, bring new people into the fold, and fight for the future of our democracy.
We need you again today. If you believe in Kamala, I’m asking you directly: rush your first donation to our campaign to help us »
You joined this fight because you believed in our mission, in our values, and in Kamala Harris.
We know that other candidates in this race have threatened to drop out if they don’t hit fundraising goals. We’re not going to do that. We’re just going to be transparent and honest. And right now, our #1 priority is putting us on a path to be successful in Iowa and win the nomination.
The stakes of this election are too high for us to back down. America needs real change, and real leadership. We need to elect Kamala Harris. And I believe in the very fiber of my being that she can win this race.
There is a pathway to victory, and we know Kamala will pull this off. But we’ll only get there with your support.
TO: Kamala Harris for the People Team, Supporters, & Interested Parties
FROM: Juan Rodriguez, Campaign Manager
MEMO: Next Steps & Organization Realignment
With fewer than 100 days until the Iowa Caucus and in a competitive resources environment, we are implementing an organizational realignment to go all-in on Iowa.
Since the launch of the campaign, Kamala Harris and this team has raised more than $35 million from over 350,000 donors, with an average contribution of $34. We ended the last quarter with the fourth most cash on hand, and continue to receive endorsements and grassroots support across the country. However, in a field of 18 candidates, we face an incredibly competitive resource environment. To effectively compete with the top campaigns and make the necessary investments in the critical final 100 days to the caucus, we need to reduce expenditures elsewhere and realign resources.
From the beginning of this campaign, Kamala Harris and this team set out with one goal – to win the nomination and defeat Donald Trump in 2020. This requires us to make difficult strategic decisions and make clear priorities, not threaten to drop out or deploy gimmicks. Plenty of winning primary campaigns, like John Kerry’s in 2004 and John McCain’s in 2008, have had to make tough choices on their way to the nomination, and this is no different.
Reduction in HQ expenditures to bolster Iowa investments: First, to reduce campaign expenditures, I will take a pay cut along with all consultants, we will trim and renegotiate contracts, and we will also reduce the size of our headquarters staff. These decisions are difficult but will ensure the campaign is positioned to execute a robust Iowa ground game and a minimum 7-figure paid media campaign in the weeks leading up to the caucus.
Deployment of staff to Iowa: Second, in the coming weeks, we will deploy many field staff from New Hampshire, Nevada, and California and some staff from headquarters to Iowa for the home stretch of the caucus campaign. The South Carolina operation will remain in full force and will not change. These moves will increase the number of field organizers and staff we have on the ground in the first contest and give our campaign the organizational muscle needed to compete in every precinct.
Kamala all-in on Iowa: In the month of October, no candidate spent more time in Iowa than Kamala — she made 5 trips and spent 15 days in the Hawkeye State — about 10 more days than any other candidate. In November, she will continue to spend significant time in Iowa, including spending Thanksgiving there, to meet caucus goers at town halls and in coffee shops, on farms and at dining room tables. She is determined to earn the support of every caucus goer she can in the next 96 days.
P.S. We have just 36 hours left until we close the books on our October new donor goal. I know we can win, but we need supporters like you who believe in Kamala to step up and make their first donation today. We can do this, but we need you on the team. Donate now »Juan Rodriguez, Campaign Manager, Kamala Harris For the People
Harris has sent several emails along these lines, frequently saying “I don’t share this with you to scare you.” Honestly, I’m not scared, but I’m pretty sure she is.
If we want to talk about fear on Halloween, though, we don’t have to look any further than this chart from an email of Bernie Sanders’.
Every single Sanders supporter I’ve spoken to about this chart has defended it with “It’s a race. There’s only one winner. Of course it’s us vs. them.”
Unfortunately, that is overlooking the fundamental point of politics. It’s not us vs. them. It’s us making the world better for all of us.
What makes this chart exponentially worse, in my opinion, is that “Not me. Us.” is one of Sanders’ campaign slogans. Exactly what I said: all of us making the world better.
Except in this chart, Sanders is very clearly drawing a literal line. Us is not Them. Them is big red Xs. Us is big green check marks. Us good. Them bad.
Except… Them is fellow Democrats.
The Us vs Them mentality is part of the problem why our country is such a mess right now. The Republicans cling to Us vs Them that they cannot allow any of themselves to fail. Look at how they close ranks to protect Trump, because he is on their team and anyone not on their team is the scum of the earth.
Look at rival sports teams. Look at rival countries. Look at racism. Us vs Them is a deliberate framing to divide a group and pit them against each other.
I get that people are angry and hurt. But just as violence begets violence and hate begets hate, a solution that “punishes” people will only perpetuate the cycle we’re stuck in. We need a candidate who can say “I’m the best choice” without needing to add “because the other choices suck.” How will that translate to diplomacy with other countries?
As much as it sounds like Marianne Williamson, she has good points at times. We cannot allow hate to win again, even hate directed toward “the right people.”
Tulsi Gabbard wanted to talk to me about the events of the past month. I really didn’t want to listen. Beto O’Rourke assured me that his fundraising email was not like the other fundraising emails I was receiving (his chart was a different style, did that count?). Julian Castro failed to match subject and body tones yet again…
Subject: THIS. IS. AMAZING!!!!!
Body: If Julián can’t reach the $800K he needs in time — he will be forced out of this race.
We can’t risk losing such a historic voice in this election.
These last 24 hours will truly make or break us. Will you rush $5?Team Julian
Okay, to be fair, the actual amazing part of the email was that he had almost made the debate donor threshold for December. Because momentum? I honestly don’t understand the thought process behind his declarations.
Andrew Yang decided on a quick sweepstakes to try to raise the last of the $1.5 million he needed: donate and maybe you’ll get a call from him during his power hour livestream today! Amy Klobuchar is pushing for a small $250,000 end of month goal, while Joe Biden is sad that he’s not on pace to hit his best fundraising month ever and will be off by 3% if I don’t give $5 right now!
And Cory Booker? He’s already missed one daily goal. I told you daily goals were a bad idea.
Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg is off there doing his own thing and recapping his campaign thus far.
I don’t think anyone else has recapped their campaign. I’m not entirely sure anyone other than Elizabeth Warren has a campaign worth recapping.