Friday marked the 200th day that I’ve been tracking political emails! I am filled both with a sense of pride and a sense of “what am I doing with my life?”
A multitude of campaigns have decided to contribute to this 200th write-up, with Julian Castro and Michael Bennet defending SNAP, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer defending the climate, and Marianne Williamson and Tulsi Gabbard defending their reasoning for raising more money.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 12 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!
Julian Castro is still leading with 5 emails on Friday, though Joe Biden sent 4 and Pete Buttigieg sent 4 to his donors. Buttigieg only sent 1 to his non-donors. Elizabeth Warren sent 3 to her donors and only 1 to her non-donors.
While most campaigns wanted to talk about what they were up to and how much money they needed, some campaigns did focus on the world around them. Both Julian Castro and Michael Bennet, for example, brought up Trump’s decision to add work requirements that would kick 700,000 Americans off of SNAP benefits. While Castro used this as a ploy to fundraise (we need a President who will end hunger, and I’m the only one who’s released a plan for that!), Bennet offered up a petition to sign in protest.
Honestly, the cynic in me doubts either of their strategies will do anything for those 700,000.
Meanwhile Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren both admired the young people striking for the climate and offered me their own petitions to sign.
Bernie Sanders sent an email to his non-donors warning about a new threat that had emerged: Joe Biden’s Super PAC had bought air time. Clearly this means they are about to unload on him, and so he needs my $2.70 to fight back.
John Kerry sent an email on behalf of Joe Biden explaining why he was endorsing Biden and how defeating an incumbent President was HARD. It had only been done four times in the past 100 years, and Kerry didn’t want to see us get so close only to throw it away at the last stretch, which is why Biden needed my help.
It got me thinking. I’ve harped on Sanders for being over-confident, but Biden is every bit as guilty of it. For the entire 200 days I’ve been tracking him, Biden’s entire strategy seems to have been to treat the primary as an annoying inconvenience standing in the way of his showdown against Trump. Only… that’s not at all what the primary is or is about. This is the time when ideas should be debated and tested against each other and the best ideas should percolate to the top. If you want to skip past all of that to get to the general… you’re skipping the actually decision-making by the people and instead assuming you know everything best. It’s really not an attractive look for someone who wants to actually represent all the people, just assuming that you’re going to be the victor and let’s just skip ahead to Trump.
(Mike Bloomberg is also trying this approach via Twitter. He’s announced he is the ONLY candidate running against Trump RIGHT NOW. Clearly, he hasn’t been receiving Joe Biden’s emails.)
Bernie Sanders offered me, as a donor, a chance to get the newest limited-edition sticker by donating anything. He wanted me to see it before anyone else.
I’m not really feeling this design, to be honest. I don’t think I’ll be trying to get it.
Marianne Williamson released part 2 of her campaign success strategy. Remember, Part I was to seize the opportunity of other candidates dropping out. Here is Part II: The Top Tier.
People ask me all the time—how can Marianne win? What’s your strategy? So, I am writing a set of emails, each one covering a strategic idea. It’s important we have this conversation.
Here is what has surprised me most about this election—that most of the candidates have stayed in this long—including Marianne. Yes, the group is getting smaller, but only somewhat. There are still 15 candidates, two of whom are new.
So, we have to ask — how will this impact a Williamson candidacy?
First, we know that defeating Trump will take a national mission of inspiration, to see ourselves firmly in the now, with its challenges and opportunities. If we use 20th century tactics or ideas, Trump will win.
Second, the large number of candidates still in the race means that people have not yet decided. Would billionaire Michael Bloomberg get in the race now if he did not have polling showing this race is wide open? No.
Third, Marianne is an outsider with new and different ideas—so her candidacy takes time to develop. That could be an issue, but with 15 candidates in the race, she has the time to develop her own campaign, ideas and supporters. And, it’s working—event after event, phone call after phone call—our movement gets stronger.
You are with Marianne for a reason. Our top-tier presidential candidates are not strong enough. That leaves an opportunity for Marianne but it will take a complete commitment.
Join me. Commit to Marianne’s candidacy. December is the last quarterly FEC fundraising deadline of this primary. We have a renewed opportunity to move up in the polls. With your help, we can and we will. With your help, we can and we will.Patricia Ewing, Campaign Manager, Marianne Williamson for President
Williamson isn’t the only candidate slipping me strategy details via email. Tulsi Gabbard also laid out her plans.
We’re just weeks away from the end of the year, and the close of the last FEC deadline for the year. Our movement is making great strides, gaining momentum every day — but we must do more if we’re going to enter the primaries ready to win.
Emails like this one you’re reading right now, and the individuals like you who give to them, are the engine of our campaign. We are 100% reliant on generous, hard earned, individual grassroots donations. And that’s how it should be. Our campaign depends on the will of people because it is We, the People who Tulsi is running to serve.
Now we’re all clear on who really keeps this campaign running (reminder: it’s you), let’s get clear on what we need to do over the coming weeks: Below are the three most important things we can achieve together before the year is out to ensure Tulsi is in the strongest position possible to keep fighting for all of us, and for a more United States of America:
What it’ll take to bypass the corporate media blackouts and smears, and keep Tulsi’s message for the people front and center: Speaking truth to power to millions of viewers every month — on the airwaves, on debate stages, online. We’ve qualified for the 200,000 individual donor threshold for the December debate. But it’s not enough to just be on that stage one night a month, we need to make sure Tulsi’s message is heard every day — with a big digital ad spend that delivers Tulsi’s message to phones and screens across the country.
We need to raise $1,000,000 by the end of the year so we’re ready to launch powerful digital and TV ads in early states like New Hampshire. Will you donate $37 now to give Tulsi the platform she needs to go head-to-head with establishment picks and the corporate media?
We’ve already seen how the media cannot be relied upon to accurately represent Tulsi, her message or our movement. That means we need to keep finding ways to get around the establishment spin and broadcast it ourselves.
What it’ll take to get Tulsi on the ballot in every state.
In order to win, we need to get Tulsi on the ballot in every single state over the coming weeks and months. The process varies state-by-state with some requiring signatures and many requiring significant investments of time and money. Bottom line: No name on the ballot, no vote during the primaries, no win. This is a MASSIVE and expensive undertaking. We have volunteer organizers in more than 13 states collecting signatures each day but if we’re going to make it, we will need to spend somewhere between $400,000 and $1 million across 39 states to ensure Tulsi’s name is on those ballots as each deadline approaches.
What it’ll take to get Tulsi directly in front of the voters who will decide the next election.
We already know that when Tulsi gets in front of people, she wins them over. So we need to get Tulsi directly in front of more voters than ever over the coming weeks. That means town halls and events in early states and more yard signs and billboards in strategic areas around the country that are capable of reaching undecided voters who will decide this next election.
We need to raise $1 million by the end of the year — and the close of this critical last FEC deadline quarter — in order to make sure our early state organizing and visibility is bigger and louder than ever. Can you help?
OK! Are you still with me, friend? This ambitious yet achievable undertaking is only possible because of the groundswell of grassroots support we’re seeing grow stronger and stronger every day. We need to keep up the pressure — which means increasing our spending, our energy, our focus — going into this final stretch of 2019.Caitlin for TULSI2020
I have to admit, even with all the times Caitlin for TULSI2020 has emailed me, I don’t actually know her role in the campaign. Is she Gabbard’s campaign manager? I suspect she is, but I haven’t had it confirmed.
Regardless, her strategy and Williamson’s seem to be exactly the same: Give them money and they can win.
Other candidates with this strategy include Andrew Yang (who borrowed Castro’s favorite word)
At the beginning of the year, no one knew my name. Now, thanks to you, our campaign is surging and I’m seeing “Yang2020” everywhere — including on a presidential tour bus!
I can’t tell you how incredibly humbling that is, so I wanted to personally reach out and thank you for everything you’ve done to get us here.
But we absolutely cannot slow down now. You know we must work twice as hard as other campaigns to get our message out. We’ve set a new goal of raising $2 million by midnight on December 15th to completely fund our ground game in Iowa and the other early states — and show everyone we’re not done growing yet.Andrew Yang
And Cory Booker.
It’s clear that what we all know — that Cory Booker deserves a spot on the December debate stage — is being heard across the country.
But right now, with only one week left, we’re closing in on the debate qualification deadline. That’s why we just launched a brand new ad — to reach new and undecided folks and introduce them to our campaign.
Of course, this is the same strategy that all the campaigns are using. I suspect it’s a tried and true one: the more money you have, the better your campaign will do. Of course, it’s not entirely based on money: Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg are both stuck in the mid-single-digits despite their tens of millions spent, and even John Delaney’s 2+ years of campaigning haven’t moved the needle. Still, money doesn’t hurt.