There was a shake-up in the horse race that is the Democratic field of candidates on Wednesday, and no, it wasn’t Michael Bloomberg filing with the FEC: Wayne Messam suspended his campaign for President. Bloomberg is still not officially in the race.
Oh, and there was also a debate. Yeah, that was a thing that happened.
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!
Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, and Elizabeth Warren sent the most emails on debate day, with 5 each. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang all sent 4, while Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Tom Steyer sent 3 each.
Though unusual for a standard day, it was not at all unusual that the biggest chunk of emails came between 9:00 PM and midnight ET. The debate began at 9 PM, after all, and every candidate had to send me both mid-debate updates and post-debate fundraising asks.
In case you were wondering, 69 of the 84 emails on Wednesday were about the debate. Even candidates not on the debate stage were talking about the debate.
Michael Bennet continues to be upset that he hasn’t qualified for a debate since July.
Ten Democrats will take the debate stage tonight. Michael has recently polled higher or tied with half of them.
While the DNC continues its attempts to artificially winnow the field by blocking qualified candidates with arbitrary rules, created in back rooms, our campaign is gaining traction in swing states across the country.Bennet for America Research Team
Mind you, the majority of Americans are continuing to be upset that the debate stage is full of 10 candidates and desperately want FEWER. I realize Bennet is upset because the DNC’s rules are cutting him out, but they are just trying to answer to the people who want fewer candidates to choose from.
As for being upset that he’s polling higher than candidates on the debate stage… that may be so, but he has not managed to get the excitement of the American people. Many candidates have reminded us that the only way we’re going to win in 2020 is if we turn out the voters. Yes, there’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on–if you don’t have support, you won’t have donors, who let you expand to more support–but it’s worth noting that two of the candidates on the debate stage, Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang started with virtually nothing for their campaigns: no name recognition, no big contact lists, no money in the bank. They were both able to craft viable messages and deliver them in a way that stirred Americans to respond, and really, that is the mark of electibility.
Steve Bullock also expressed his concerns over the frontrunners on the debate stage.
Tonight is the next DNC debate. But an alarming poll today shows that each of the leading candidates would lose to Donald Trump in a key battleground state.
Since Governor Bullock is the only Democratic candidate who’s actually won a Trump state, we need his voice in this campaign now more than ever.Team Bullock
Again, like with Bennet, Bullock failed to deliver a message that resonated with enough people. No excitement in the primary will not magically translate to excitement in the general.
It was Julian Castro, however, who had the strongest issues with not being on the debate stage, sending not one, not two, but three emails in which he lambasted the state of affairs.
I need your help right now.
As I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been cut out of the debate tonight.
We got so close, but due to the DNC’s rules, we didn’t make it.
We’ve been shaping this debate.
Don’t let us miss another one.Julian Castro
It may be worth pointing out that except for the first debate, Castro’s favorability dropped after every debate. He is one of the more unpopular Democratic candidates, and the debates do not seem to be helping him in the polls.
We can’t afford another debate stage with no one on it representing our most vulnerable communities.
Perhaps the one thing Castro is good at is reminding people about the disadvantaged communities, such as the victims of police violence and the immigrants detained at the border. However, it isn’t fair to say no one else tries to represent these groups too.
Despite not being on the stage, Castro’s team was quick to claim the victory.
It was interesting to contrast Castro’s sour grapes to Cory Booker’s attitude. Booker has about the same amount of donors and polls as Castro: he polled high enough to get on the November stage, but as of Wednesday night, he did not have either of the December requirements.
As I leave the DNC debate stage in Atlanta, I’m filled with an enormous sense of gratitude — for every single one of you who helped get me here.
I also feel a responsibility — to you and the whole team — to do everything I can to make sure this isn’t our last debate. We have a powerful, one-of-a-kind message for our country’s future.
A message of love and courageous empathy that we’ve seen resonate with voters who, more than anything, want to feel inspired again. A message that will always drive our campaign.
But, to be frank: Unless we can hit the DNC’s donor and polling thresholds required to qualify for the December debate, tonight might have been the last time you see me up there on a stage like that.
No matter what, I can’t tell you how much your support means to me — especially in moments like this.
Thank you,Cory Booker
One of these candidates has the right attitude to keep moving forward in this race. The other, I’m ready to say adios to.
As always, the debates were a chance for campaigns to grab for cash. Between the pre-debate goals, the during-debate support, and the post-debate affirmations, the campaigns were hard and heavy with their asks.
Tulsi Gabbard sent the most-pertinent during-debate email–most sent generic “She’s up there fighting for us right now!” or “if you agree with what he says, chip in!”–referring to an attack from Kamala Harris on her going on Fox News. In typical Gabbard fashion, she cut out the part Harris was actually protesting–opposing the Democratic party for four years and trying to get a spot on Trump’s cabinet–and instead attacked Harris for being upset that she went on Fox.
Just now on the presidential debate stage in Atlanta, Kamala Harris had the audacity to go after Tulsi for… daring to go on Fox News during the Obama administration. Harris displayed the lack of vision, leadership and foresight to declare that only those who toe the line of the Democratic establishment and refuse to speak to Americans they consider “deplorables” are allowed to be crowned the Democratic nominee.
She’s out of touch. Kamala Harris may have a fancy slogan that says she’s “for the people” but she’s clearly for the few. The elite. The DC establishment and the tired status quo. Tulsi scares her, because we’re not playing by these undemocratic rules. We’re a movement of Americans who are reaching beyond party lines, to problem solve and tackle the challenges of our time.
Tulsi can beat Trump in 2020 and here’s why: Her message for the people is resonating with Americans who feel left behind by our divisive political climate, and the corrupt corporate media in the pocket of the military industrial complex. The fact that Tulsi can go on Fox News, CNN, NBC and Joe Rogan in one week is not something to apologize for, it’s necessary in order to speak to all Americans. It’s patriotism that drove Tulsi to serve and it’s patriotism that unites us all in this moment.
Unfortunately for Gabbard, that left her with no ammo when she went after Pete Buttigieg later in the debate and got slammed down hard by her fellow veteran. Not only did he scold her for misquoting him, but he also pointed out her poor judgment in meeting with Assad and then, when Gabbard tried to rebut by listing all the past Presidents who met with adversaries, reminded her that Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un was also an embarrassing thing.
Gabbard has not emailed me to protest about the unfairness of that attack.
Overall, the debate was remarkably civil, and aside from Gabbard, most of the emails afterwards were about the strength of each candidate and not attacking another candidate. There were a few generic jabs: Andrew Yang said his first priority was the American people, not trading blows with his opponents, while Bernie Sanders implied he was the only candidate you could TRUST to stand up to Wall Street (all-caps word was his emphasis, not mine. Also emphasized his GUTS earlier in the day). Most candidates finished the night with some version of “If I made you proud, money plz?”
I already gave them all a dollar. How much more do they want!?