Thursday was a Debate Day, which is always full of emails. Sure enough, I received over 20 emails after the debates began at 8 PM ET. Most of the candidates wanted money before the debate, during the debate, and after the debate.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 2 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!
Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, and Julian Castro won the most emails of the night with 5 each, and yes, Castro did send extra emails to those who had donated to him in the past. Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren all sent only 4 emails, while Michael Bennet, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang sent 3. Nobody on stage sent fewer than 3 emails, though Mike Bloomberg did remember that he’d need my vote even if he didn’t need my money and sent me an email about his health care plan.
To be clear, while debates were the topic of the night, just about every debate email was also asking for money. Fundraising is the topic for an email talking about raising money without also mentioning one of the other topics.
That being said, Pete Buttigieg was the only candidate asking for well-wishes before the debate this time, with a digital card I could sign to wish him luck and express my pride. His mother also sent an email as well, the first mother email in months from any of the candidates.
Perhaps most peculiarly was how Elizabeth Warren did not talk about the debates (much). Oh, sure, she sent one email while on stage asking if I saw how good she was doing (as did Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar), but other than that, her fundraising emails were bog-standard, no debate-mentions at all. Warren has hardly ever mentioned the debates in her emails. Reading her emails, I honestly feel like they are largely divorced from her actual campaign. They recite the same platitudes and pleas for money. Grateful down to her toes. Fight hard. Big, structural changes.
I’m deeply grateful for everything you do as a member of this grassroots team.
The movement we’ve built together has come so far. Now, we’re in the final push to the first caucuses and primaries.
Side by side, we’re building a movement to beat the most corrupt president in American history — by campaigning on the biggest anti-corruption platform since Watergate. And shoulder to shoulder, we’re fighting for an economy that works for all of us.
Our next big test is the final FEC fundraising deadline of 2019.
Are you watching?
Elizabeth is on the debate stage right now! She’s making the case for big, structural change and the movement that’s going to fight for it on day one of the Warren Presidency.
She’s fighting for us on stage, but this is a team effort — and she needs to know we’re with her.Team Warren
Over the past year, Elizabeth has spent a lot of time talking with people from all across the country, from all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of communities.
And it’s clear: People don’t want small tweaks that nibble around the edges. They want big, structural change.
It’s not enough to just defeat Trump. We need to stop our economy and our government from only working for a thinner and thinner slice at the top, leaving everyone else in the dust.
Elizabeth has a plan for an America that works for everyone, but it’s a team effort, and it’s going to take a grassroots movement to create big, structural change.
To make big, structural change in 2020, it’s crucial you help this grassroots movement be as strong as possible — can you chip in for the first time before Elizabeth takes the stage in tonight’s debate?Team Warren
All three of these emails came in one day. There’s not that much difference between the messages. (The fourth email was from Ady Barkan, a health care activist who endorsed Warren.) And there’s not that much difference between these emails and the ones that came yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. There’s a reason I don’t talk about Warren much in these posts, and that’s because her emails are so boring. The same words, shuffled around a little bit, three times a day, every day, for seven months.
And yes, you may say that this is typical of any politician’s emails. They have their message and they stick to it. Amy Klobuchar is also bad at spicing up her emails, though she maintains a cheerful optimism throughout.
However, this isn’t a requirement for political emails. Cory Booker can inject personality into his emails. With Pete Buttigieg, I can usually tell who the email will be signed by if it’s written by someone other than generic “Pete for America” or “Team Pete” (With Warren, it’s almost always “Team Warren”). Julian Castro has even taking to changing up his message these days, no longer repeating the same tired stump speech about his mother. And with Tom Steyer’s “12 Days of Tom,” he’s writing different emails tied together with the same theme (Day 6: 6 family members).
I read dozens of emails a day. I couldn’t pick out any of Warren’s emails that stand out in my memory.
Marianne Williamson’s campaign manager challenged me to a bet over debate topics. This was a far cry from her first debate, when she suggested yoga poses to stay calm and friendly.
Apparently, only 5% thought real issues would be discussed on stage. Well, I watched the entire debate.
- Moderators WILL NOT ask how candidates propose to foster world peace or de-escalate American military action internationally: They did ask questions on China’s abuses of human rights, closing Guantanamo Bay, and withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Does that count?
- Moderators WILL NOT ask how a health plan will foster health: Okay, she’s right on this one.
- Candidates will not explain how their health plans help to prevent or cure disease: Also didn’t happen.
- Moderators WILL NOT ask how candidates propose to maximize the well-being of our country’s children or work to ensure every American child reaches his/her full potential: I don’t think this question was asked specifically, but I know universal health care was brought up. I recall Elizabeth Warren talking about how it would enable parents to work harder and longer hours and wondering if that’s really what she meant to say.
- Moderators WILL NOT ask about Reparations. Period.: The moderators DID ask about reparations. Period. And the candidates answered. At least one was openly in favor of them.
I didn’t take Williamson up on her bet. I really should have. Somehow, I don’t think she’d actually pay me my winnings if I had.
Cory Booker had a new ad he wanted me to watch, but he could only afford to put it on air once. Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro attacked fundraisers in wine caves again. Sanders went so far as to brag about how he wouldn’t take money from rich people. Pete Buttigieg mentioned that he was attacked from all sides at the debate and needed my support. Joe Biden told me he was going to thank the workers who put the debate on, hug his family, and skip the spin room. Andrew Yang warned me that the media was going to take his post-debate fundraising to judge his strength.
Michael Bennet, not on the debate stage and nowhere close to it, told me that the debates were nothing but a media circus and also that one of Buttigieg’s fundraisers had said
A top fund-raiser for Pete Buttigieg recently said: “If you took a secret ballot of Senate Democrats as to who would make the best president, Bennet might well win. It’s a shame that he’s not even allowed to debate.”Bennet for America
I think the fact that this was said by a fundraiser for Buttigieg and not Bennet speaks volumes about how Senate Democrats’ secret opinions do not necessarily line up with the wishes of the American people.
Tom Steyer sent me a handwritten note while he was on stage (his campaign manager said he passed it to her as he was heading on stage).
There is something about Steyer’s handwriting that I just… don’t like. I can’t put my finger on it.
One thing I can put my finger on is the lack of the Oxford comma. I’m sorry, Steyer. I don’t think we can be friends.