Friday brought a lot of talk about money and emotions, from Julian Castro wanting to get on the debate stage to Tom Steyer scolding Michael Bloomberg for not wanting a wealth tax, and from Elizabeth Warren accepting her anger to Cory Booker rejecting hate.
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!
Joe Sestak is the surprising most prolific emailer on Friday, with a total of 3 emails, though Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, and Marianne Williamson all tie with him for volume. Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang all sent out 2 emails on Friday.
But what was Sestak talking about so much? Campaign events, actually! He was speaking at a presidential forum on Friday, and he wanted to announce his presence so his followers would know where and when to tune in. His timeslot then got changed, so he sent an email explaining the new time. But the email that made me laugh and do a little digging was his first email of the day.
All the focus is in Iowa and New Hampshire, but did you know that Joe Sestak is one of only three candidates qualified for the Minnesota ballot right now!?
I did a little digging, and sure enough, only Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Sestak have qualified for the Minnesota ballot. With filing closing on December 10, candidates are running out of time to make it in.
To be fair, the bar for qualifiying for the Minnesota ballot is incredibly low. As the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chair, Ken Martin, put it:
It’s pretty much anyone who sends me a letter requesting their name be put on the ballot by Dec. 10 is put on the ballot. I don’t have any ability to sort of play games with that.Ken Martin
So yes, candidates just have to send Mr. Martin a letter requesting to be put on the ballot in order to qualify. Still, only three candidates actually have sent him that letter so far.
And Joe Sestak is one of them.
Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro both expressed concerns about Michael Bloomberg potentially entering the race. Well. Castro expressed concerns about how one of the most CRITICAL voice in the entire race (his) could be cut from the debate while Bloomberg could go ahead and buy his way onto the stage. Sanders just expressed joy over how the billionaires really are scared if Bloomberg is threatening to join.
Tom Steyer also talked about Bloomberg, though he called him out over the idea of a wealth tax.
Friend: Tom just challenged Michael Bloomberg, who is considering running for the Democratic nomination, to support a wealth tax or stay out of the race. The fact is, our 2020 Democratic nominee must support taxing the wealthy more to pay for the progressive policies we need, like universal health care and a Green New Deal. Tom is committed to addressing America’s wealth gap — and he believes everyone who thinks they should be president must do the same.
This is why we’ve supported Tom since day one: He never hesitates to do what’s right. To keep Tom and his message on the debate stage in December, will you invest $1 in this campaign right now?Tom 2020
Much as most of us dislike the idea of big-money billionaires buying their way into our political system, Steyer’s message actually underlines why it is so important to get billionaires on our side. First of all, billionaires know other billionaires. Just as you are more likely to listen to a friend or coworker’s opinion than a random stranger on the street, so too will billionaires be more likely to listen to others in their social groups. But also… billionaires can punch at the same weight class as other billionaires. Michael Bloomberg is one of the top ten richest men in the country. If everyone who donated to Bernie Sanders pooled all their money together, do you think they’d be equal to Bloomberg? Do you think they’d be anywhere close enough to catch his attention? And if every single one of Sanders’ donors are focused on taking on Bloomberg’s challenge, who is left to take on the remaining Koch brothers, or any of the other conservative billionaires?
As angry as we all are over the wealth inequality in this country, if we say “eat the rich!” we are alienating potential allies. Just as women need men to stand up for women’s rights, just as people of color need white people to stand up for their rights, so too do we unfortunately need billionaires to stand up for the rights of those less fortunate.
Note that I’m not saying “we need the billionaire class to survive.” But we do need billionaires to agree that the inequality needs to be addressed. I can’t say I know anyone, billionaire or not, who is persuaded by the argument “YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.”
Talk of billionaires aside, let’s talk about money. A full 70% of yesterday’s asks were directly for donations. Julian Castro is desperately trying to raise money to qualify for the next debate (anyone told him he needs to get his poll numbers up, and whining doesn’t excite anyone?). Marianne Williamson wants to increase her exposure, so she’s trying to raise $1 million (her ad has been played 18 times already!). Bernie Sanders is so proud of his $19 average donation, only it’s not good enough, so he needs us to give him more so he can compete with Joe Biden’s Super PAC as it ramps up. Pete Buttigieg is having his Marathon States Fund, explaining his campaign strategy via emails as he tries to raise $1 million (and his staffers pout that he didn’t call it the “Mayor”-athon States Fund). Elizabeth Warren also has a million dollar goal to prove her plan is what people want.
Warren wrote a diatribe on why she’s angry and that’s okay. It was a response to something Joe Biden had said the other day.
But at another level these kinds of attacks are a serious problem. They reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics. If someone doesn’t agree with you — it’s not just that you disagree — that person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker.Joe Biden
Angry emphasis mine.
When I read this, I thought Biden was talking about the political discourse people have these days, and how polarized we as collective groups following our chosen candidates have become. It did not even occur to me that this could be interpreted as a misogynistic attack on Warren.
Over and over, we are told that women are not allowed to be angry. It makes us unattractive to powerful men who want us to be quiet.
And it’s not just women. When we speak up against Wall Street and Big Tech — when we make our voices heard against injustice and greed — we are told that everyone who has less power should be quiet.
Because, this fight isn’t really about anger, or emotion, or civility. It’s about power — those who have it, and those who don’t plan to let go of it.
Well, I am angry and I own it. I’m angry on behalf of everyone who is hurt by Trump’s government, our rigged economy, and business as usual.
And we can translate this anger into real change — if we all fight side by side. Will you chip in today to help take political and economic power out of the hands of billionaires and lobbyists, and put it in the hands of working people?
When billionaires are claiming they can’t afford to pitch in to a two-cent wealth tax, there are a whole lot of reasons to be angry.
I’m angry on behalf of students who are drowning in thousands of dollars of student loan debt, and those scammed by for-profit colleges.
I’m angry on behalf of people who go bankrupt because they dared to receive medical care.
I’m angry on behalf of communities of color who breathe in the worst of our pollution day after day, and know that polluting corporations won’t even get a slap on the wrist.
The list goes on and on.
When we see these injustices in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we should be angry. And we should make our anger heard — by organizing and building a grassroots movement.
I plan to use this anger to keep the House, take back the Senate, and win the White House.
If you’re angry too — if you’re ready to fight back — chip in for the first time today. If all of the people who are told that our anger is too much fight side by side, we will make the big, structural change our country needs.
Thanks for being a part of this,Elizabeth Warren
I honestly did not conflate the two emails at all. I assumed Warren had been striking back at news articles declaring her angry in an unflattering way. And to that extent, I do agree with her. Women aren’t “supposed” to get angry. We’re supposed to be sweet and helpful and nurturing. Probably emotional in the weepy sense. Not angry. But we are angry, angry and hurt, and Warren is saying it is perfectly acceptable to be allowed to be angry and to show it.
However, I have to stop her and draw a line.
I don’t want my President to be angry.
And by angry, in this case, I mean aggressively angry, lashing out at people angry, insulting other people angry. Anger at injustice can be a powerful motivator, but if you’re going to be a leader, it must be controlled. I think of the greatest President in my lifetime, President Obama, and think of his anger. He would be so angry at the obstructionism and at the lack of action that allowed school shooting after school shooting. I remember some of the tightness in his voice when he’d make a speech to comfort the nation and point out that he shouldn’t have to be making these speeches as frequently as he was. He was angry. But at no point did Obama ever lose control of his anger.
And Obama’s not a woman.
The Presidential candidates I am drawn to have consistently been the ones who control their anger and direct it toward the systems that make them angry, not the people reflecting those systems. I am glad, as a woman, that Warren is owning her anger and refusing to let others tell her she should not be angry. But as a voter in a country that is being terrorized and abused by a very angry man, the last thing I want is to replace him with another President full of anger.
Cory Booker also wrote an oratorical email on Friday. Instead of anger, he focused on hate.
For just a moment, I want you to think back to how you felt three years ago tonight — when Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States.
If you’re like me, you never want to experience anything like that shock again. Each of us must devote ourselves right now to do what it takes to win in 2020.
Since Trump got elected, he’s divided our nation with hate and fear all while undermining working and middle-class people along the way — refusing to condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville, attempting to ban Muslims from entering our country, implementing tax cuts for the ultra-rich, trying to take away health care protections from millions, putting kids in cages at our border, backing out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. The list goes on.
We can’t allow him to win a second term. We need a leader that will not only stand up against hate but work to heal our country with courageous empathy and an unapologetically bold vision for our future.
That’s why I’m running for president.
I believe that we won’t beat Donald Trump by sinking to his level. You can’t beat hate with more hate.
We beat Donald Trump by bringing people together and recognizing that we all share a common pain, and the only way to heal that pain is by working together to solve our country’s biggest problems.
This election cycle is a defining moment for our country. Are we going to find common cause or are we going to be divided even further?
We can’t afford to get this wrong. If you’re with me, make a donation to my campaign right now. Let’s beat Trump, and let’s do it by rising up together.Cory Booker
We won’t defeat Trump’s hate with more hate, no matter who that hate is directed at. This is a message I certainly can agree with.