Day 182: 11/18/19

Monday brought a dog email from Joe Biden, a new tone from Julian Castro, and stickers from Pete Buttigieg and Marianne Williamson.


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!

Ramping up the frequency…

Joe Biden sent 4 emails on Monday, desperate not to be outdone by the other 2020 candidates. Good thing, too, because Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang each sent 3 out. Cory Booker, John Delaney, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren limited themselves to just 2 emails on Monday.

Nearly 3/4 of the emails were for donations.

Monday’s donation asks ranged from the standard sob stories to the blatant cash grabs. Cory Booker is pacing behind on his fundraising and needs help to get on the December debate stage. Andrew Yang wanted to introduce me to the Freedom Dividend recipients and explain that if I gave him money, he could give everyone money. Michael Bennet wouldn’t be running, he assured me, if he didn’t think he could win. Joe Sestak made the argument that the next Commander in Chief needed to understand the awesome power of the U.S. Armed Forces for both good or bad.

Joe Biden had perhaps the most bizarre framing of his donation ask for the day. With a subject of “Look at this dog,” this is the email he sent:

I cut off the donation buttons at the bottom.

The transition between “Look at this dog” and “okay, important business” was abrupt and jarring. The dog had nothing to do with the email, the point of the email, the content of the email… nothing! Yes, candidates with cute dogs (and Major is a VERY GOOD BOY) should absolutely use their pets for money, but there’s an art to it. Not a hard art, but still, not this.

Elizabeth Warren talks about her dog, Bailey, in terms of going home to Bailey, and come visit Bailey, and Bailey would be first dog. Pete Buttigieg finds ways to work his dogs into his messaging (okay, that’s more his husband, but still). Beto O’Rourke would talk about his dog, Artemis, potentially becoming a social media influencer for him as an excuse to share a picture.

There are so many ways this picture could have been used to write a cute message that could trigger donations. What Biden’s camp actually did was one of the few ways it couldn’t.

Elizabeth Warren was offering me a spot on her grassroots donor wall again. The same donor wall that was only open for a limited time a few months ago. Yeah, that one. Donate anything and I could get on it! Also, I might get a call from her.

Julian Castro is trying to change up his message. He’s dropped the whiny momma’s boy aspects and is now the People’s Hero.

More than ten months ago, I entered this race to put People First.  

Starting from scratch, with more than 400,000 contributions from more than 185,000 people, averaging just $20 – we’ve built a campaign with grassroots support across the country. 

Billionaire Tom Steyer has already spent over $55 million on TV ads to get on the debate stage. Now, ten months in – Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is jumping in the race to use his personal fortune to try and buy the nomination. 

We don’t need another ego-driven billionaire flooding the airwaves. We know your support isn’t for sale.

Contribute now and show them we can’t be bought. 

I didn’t run to see myself on TV – I ran to work with you.  

I’m running because there’s a housing crisis, because, in this country getting sick means going bankrupt for too many, and because while the wealthiest in this country are earning more than ever, wages for the rest of us have stagnated. 

An economy built to benefit billionaires doesn’t need a billionaire reaching down to voters to convince them to help him. This campaign is about working together to lift each other up. 

Pitch in now and add your support to an army of everyday donors who know the real problems Americans face, and the hard work it’s going to take to solve them >> 

Julian Castro

I’m not really fond of this style of messaging, but at least he’s not bragging about being humble or looking toward his childhood for validation? I can’t help but feel that if he’d been on this message from the start, he might still be considered viable.

At least as viable as Steve Bullock.

Pete Buttigieg is offering a snazzy new Rules of the Road sticker if I donate, complete with spiral animation.

Actually, I think the animation is something I have to do myself.

Marianne Williamson is also offering a sticker with a donation of at least $5.

This is the last chance to get it.

Andrew Yang is trying to hit 750,000 total contributions by the debate night, so he’s advising his supporters to donate as many times as they can to rack up his numbers even quicker. With 3 of the 4 qualifying polls he needs for December, Yang is almost on the final debate stage of the year.

Debates are top priority.

Cory Booker is in debate prep but getting distracted by fundraising, while Kamala Harris wants me to fill out a survey to inform her debate prep.

Tom Steyer was brokenhearted over a story of an American who ended up with a $30,000 hospital bill after just one night in the hospital. This shouldn’t happen in America.

Joe Biden tried to tempt me to dinner with him again. Not only will there be ice cream for dessert, but dinner will be spaghetti.

This is his non-donor email

In his donor email, the button values went up from $5, but in the non-donor email, they went down from $250. If you’re used to donating by just tapping the first button, what you thought was a $5 contribution could suddenly be a $250 contribution. Once again, I’m frowning at Biden’s unsavory button tactics. Remember when he changed the color of one of the buttons slightly so you’d be subconsciously tempted to click that one? Yeah, I remember…

And yes, this was a conscious decision by the campaign, as evidenced by the donor version below.

Buttons in normal order.

It’s also worth noting the little jab at Trump: people actually win our contests! An email tweeter much like me, but for Trump emails, noticed that for all of the “win dinner with Trump!” emails, there never seemed to be any discussion of the winners. Several news articles also could not uncover any Trump winners.

I believe every Democrat who has held competitions like this have shown off at least ONE of their winners at some point.

Watch parties are back in vogue for this debate. I don’t recall very many last time, but Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar all encouraged watch parties. I do believe, this time, I’ll actually go to one. I have a feeling this next debate is going to be FUN.

I give up on trying to get Kamala Harris to email me as a donor again.

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