Friday was… wow. Between the Liberty and Justice dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, where supporters of 14 candidates converged on the Wells Fargo arena for a dinner widely touted as “the place where candidates become Presidents” and Beto O’Rourke dropping out of the race, Friday had a surprising amount of activity for the first of the month.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 17 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!
At 3 emails each, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris didn’t seem to mind that it was the first of the month. Buttigieg doesn’t subscribe to the “end of the month deadline!” fundraising strategy, so it makes sense that his email counts didn’t dip, but Harris usually does. However, with her financial woes, it also makes sense that she didn’t want to lighten up on the pressure.
Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang all sent 2 emails each on Friday.
On Friday, many candidates just wanted to get some information out. Most notable was Beto O’Rourke, who suddenly and abruptly dropped out of the race just hours before the Liberty and Justice dinner where he was scheduled to give a speech. Look for my Beto recap later today on his email campaign. O’Rourke cited a lack of means to continue forward and the importance of rallying around the eventual nominee.
Elizabeth Warren dropped her much-sought-after Medicare for All plan on Friday and included a calculator in her email so I could see how much I would save on her plan. She also spent most of the day tweeting about it and how much better it was than any other plan out there.
I tried her calculator and discovered that it’s nothing more than a marketing device. It doesn’t calculate anything: if you’re already covered by governmental insurance, it says great, nothing changes except your coverage gets better. If you’re covered by insurance offered through your job, for example, it says great, every single dollar you are currently paying now is how much you’ll save with Warren’s Medicare for All.
Except it isn’t.
For starters, at no point does it ask me how much I make or how much I’m worth. In other words, when I did the calculator pretending to be a super wealthy CEO of a company with an annual salary of $68 million before my bonuses, I still got back every single penny that I put into health care. I thought people in that category were supposed to get an increase in their taxes due to how the plan was being funded. Furthermore, when I did it just as me, it said I’d get back every single penny I put in. Which I wouldn’t. My health insurance premiums get deducted directly from my payheck pre-tax. That means that if I’m currently paying $2,400 in premiums now (which the calculator specifically asks me to include in my costs), that $2,400 will be put in my paycheck and then I’ll be taxed on it. I’ll still get a big chunk of it back, but not the full $2,400.
And yes, $2,200 would still be better than $0. I’m not denying that. However, I’m taking great offense at the way Warren is being disingenuous about her plan. “The middle class will pay not a penny more” she boasts. “This calculator will tell you how much you can save!”
For a candidate running on having a well-thought out plan and accurate data, it’s a big turn-off for her to be so inaccurate in order to paint a picture that sounds best.
Tom Steyer also just wanted to talk about policies today, linking me to his policy to connect rural America. Michael Bennet said thank you for helping him hit his goal of $175,000 with just minutes to go in October. And Andrew Yang sent me an excerpt from his speech at the Liberty and Justice dinner on why he was running for President.
Many campaigns wanted to talk about the dinner tonight. Pete Buttigieg offered me a chance to send Buttigieg some well-wishes before he went on stage. Steve Bullock also talked about he was going to be on stage. Joe Sestak didn’t qualify for the Liberty and Justice dinner, but he did tell me he’d be joining other candidates at the NAACP Economic Freedom Town Hall on Saturday.
For candidates talking about fundraising, most of them were simply expressing gratitude. Joe Biden was going to have a thank you call for his grassroots donors that I could RsVP for. Andrew Yang offered me the chance to buy a $15 button to show his appreciation for what I did for his campaign (3 inches in diameter, and it says “I put Andrew Yang on TV!”). Julian Castro was so grateful for how we saved his campaign (he told me at 5 PM ET via email), that he had a survey for me to fill out that absolutely totally was not asking for money.
(It was asking for money)
And Kamala Harris asked me to becoming a founding donor to her All-In for Iowa fund, because they need money.