Day 224: 12/30/19

Happy New Year!

Story time: I did some study/work abroad in England while in/immediately after college, and I was in London for one of the New Years. My mother FaceTimed with me and we watched the London fireworks from my hostel window.

Then she went to bed. She had celebrated the New Year, why wait up until midnight?

It was so glorious that it has become our family tradition. Every December 31, at 7:00 PM EST, we send each other Happy New Years texts and pop open the bubbly grape juice. After a cup and maybe some chips or cheese, we tuck into bed at reasonable hours. So, when this post goes live, as far as my family is concerned, it’s basically 2020.

(I anticipate being up for another 5 hours trying to catch up on emails).


For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, though I have previously been on the mailing lists of 28 Democratic candidates! 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!

It took some time for the Trump emails to kick in, so I started officially tracking his list on July 7. I have been tracking Biden’s for longer, but I will start comparing them as of July 7. All of these emails are going to a new email, and I have not donated, filled out surveys, signed petitions, or otherwise interacted with either candidate’s emails.

The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.

Yes, you’re reading those numbers correctly.

Pete Buttigieg sent a whopping 7 emails in one 24-hour period. SEVEN. And it wasn’t even the last day of the quarter! By comparison, Joe Biden only sent 6 and Bernie Sanders only sent 5.

The percentage of donation asks has actually dropped.

Amy Klobuchar did the unthinkable. On December 30, one day before the final FEC deadline of 2019, she sent an email asking for donations to Tina Smith and Jeanne Shaheen, the only two female Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2020.

She did not ask to split that donation with herself.

Marianne Williamson teased me by saying that if she doesn’t get an influx of cash this year, she’ll have to drop out. She doesn’t want to, of course, but if that’s where her path is destined to go, she’ll accept it. She does believe she’ll have a surge in Iowa, though. She sent me an email detailing her plan.

I’m the ground reporting from Des Moines, Iowa, now 35 days until the Iowa caucuses on February 3rd.

I have some encouraging and material reports from official and off-the-record conversations with pollsters, reporters, and other campaign leaders.

Among 12 candidates on the ballot in Iowa, Marianne is not in a coveted top 4 position. HOWEVER, she is gaining ground toward the middle in multiple counties. I speculate that she will rank higher in multiple caucuses and counties than the polling/media establishment currently reflects.

We must remind voters that polls are not votes and that this election doesn’t really begin until Iowa voters caucus on February 3rd, when everything becomes real. Our supporters here know that.

Marianne needs very strong turnout at all caucuses. In 2016, 1/3rd of Iowans caucused. If we can mobilize Marianne supporters among the other 2/3rds, the non-traditional, first-time caucus-goers, we can alter our trajectory. We know that’s possible, and we know Marianne’s supporters are awake, aligned, and ready to mobilize.

Hillary’s supporters will largely support Biden, and Bernie still maintains about 30% support here from his 2016 base. That still leaves a very large, open pool of voters in which some candidates can still emerge.

While any top-tier candidate who doesn’t place in the top 4 statewide will face their death knell, Marianne placing near or inside of the top 4 in any county will lead to a surge in press, polling and fundraising. That’s what we need.

It’s likely that Yang, Castro, Booker and Gabbard supporters will support Marianne in caucus precincts where their candidates don’t reach the 15% threshold. Getting over 15% in a precinct means getting delegates to the convention.

I hope that you find this report as encouraging as I do, and that—while arduous—we still have a pathway forward and to victory. Please share this report with our supporters as they will also appreciate what I’m gathering on the ground here in Iowa.

Juan, Deputy Campaign Manager & Caucus Director, Marianne Williamson for President

Remember how the Iowa caucuses work? How you need 15% to be a viable candidate, and if you’re not at that 15%, you’re inviable and you need to realign? I find it amazing that she thinks she’ll remain viable while Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, and Cory Booker become inviable.

Regardless, she believes it enough to forward me this email again, just so I didn’t miss it.

Tom Steyer’s staff was really struggling to grasp the concept of the FEC deadline. First, his treasurer, named Hunter, told me that she wanted to close her spreadsheet so she could file her report and enjoy the last few moments of 2019, so could I get my donation in. Then his COO, Chris, told me he noticed Hunter was staying late and offered to help her finish up so they could file the FEC report and go home.

On December 30?

There’s still a whole DAY of donations to record! If Hunter and Chris filed their FEC report before the year ended, then they’d have to amend it later and cause more work for everyone. There’s a reason the FEC gives campaigns 15 days after their deadline to file.

Of course, Hunter and Chris were just trying to solicit a donation from a feeling of guilt or empathy for these poor staffers having to stay late and work because people procrastinate with their donations, but the story rang false to me and made me frown.

Deval Patrick reached out with three reasons why I should donate to him.

  1. They entered the race late.
  2. Their opponents have tens of millions more than they do.
  3. The deadline is less than 48 hours away.

Absolutely none of these reasons are my problem. Two of them could have been fixed by making better decisions. And none of them were explaining to me why Patrick would be a better President than the people who got in in a timely manner.

Joe Biden was all over the board yesterday, explaining that if they don’t hit their goal, Donald Trump would know!

He said that like I care what Trump thinks about him, or anyone.

Biden also played up the 2016 elections, reminding me of how many people had regrets the day after and saying “WE won’t have regrets about not doing everything we could to stop Trump. Will you?” Hint hint: donate to him to have no regrets.

Biden’s campaign manager also wrote to me to tell me he had a meeting with Biden in the morning to go over their finances, and he wanted to tell Biden the good news about how close they were to hitting their goal. He also included an email exchange between himself and Biden.

I don’t believe for a moment that this was a real email exchange.

First of all: who writes work emails like this?

Second of all: Was this supposed to show me the strength of the campaign? Coupling it with a desperate plea for last minute donations from me, especially as a NON-DONOR, and calling me a “top supporter,” actually tells me that this is a guy who’s probably been lying about the campaign’s success to his boss and is desperately trying to make up the difference before he notices.

Actual campaign staffers, please let me know if this tone and language is typical for internal campaign emails. I’ve never seen one of these “let me show you a real email from the candidate!” messages that rang true to me.

Bernie Sanders continued to stress the value of just donating, no matter how much. He doesn’t care about the amount donated, just the number of donations given. That’s why his goal is for 5 million donations.

That’s also why, he failed to explain satisfactorily, I should double my previous donation amount to $2. Or just give $10. You know. Because the amount of money doesn’t matter.

Elizabeth Warren has reminded me that no matter how much she is behind, she absolutely refuses to ask rich people for monetary help, so it’s on all of us not-rich people to chip in and give her a hand. Think about it: that’s what she’s asking. She has wealthy contacts and supporters, people who have donated to her campaigns in the past, but she refuses to let them help her. Warren and Sanders are both so focused on their financial purity that they don’t stop to think about the people who maybe are trying to buy insulin and can’t really afford to keep giving $5 to a Presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg made history in my books with his very first negative comment toward other Democrats in an email.

Some Democrats have argued that we have to reject support from Americans based on who they voted for in the last election or their income.

But the way we see it is if you want to beat Donald Trump, you’re with us. Some dug deep and gave $5, and those who could afford to give more, gave $2800 — the maximum allowed by law. We’re not going to agree on everything, but what we all agree on is the stakes are too high for purity tests that polarize Americans. To win this election, we need to galvanize Americans.

We won’t accept contributions from federal lobbyists, executives of the fossil fuel industry, or corporate PACs, and as president, Pete will enact meaningful campaign finance reform.

Hari Sevugan, Deputy Campaign Manager, Pete for America

I know. The horror. Stating a fact about other candidates in a way that makes them look bad.

Honestly, this little jab made me grin, because it’s showing that the youngest candidate is starting to bare his fangs. For all his niceness, we cannot forget that Buttigieg is a politician and this is a competition. And yet, for all the classification of this as “negative,” it was neither mean nor petty. It was an unflattering statement of some of the arguments against the people harping on his wine caves.

I’ll be honest: that second paragraph was enough to get me to dig out this email on my personal account and donate. It’s exactly what I’ve been saying: We can’t afford to handicap ourselves. Not this election.

I actually wrote up a Twitter thread about a lesson I learned first from my mother: you can’t rewrite the rules until you’ve demonstrated that you can win with the existing ones.

Debates are higher than expected…

Cory Booker once again rang the alarms of an all-white debate stage (though Julian Castro did not copy his email this time). However, it was Andrew Yang who decided he would do something about it: he wrote a letter to Tom Perez, the DNC Chairman.

In his letter, Yang asked Perez to commission 4 polls in the early states. As there currently haven’t been polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada after the last debate, clearly, there was a problem with the debate thresholds for the January debate.

Perez refused. The DNC does not have anything to do with polling. Aside from picking which pollsters they consider qualifying, they don’t stick their hands in the polls. The polls are meant to be independent of party and bias. It would not be appropriate, Perez said, to spend DNC dollars in this way. Especially not when they have to focus on defeating Trump.

Of course, Yang took this response like a mature candidate who understands the role the parties and the polls play and the importance of the DNC not even having the appearance of tipping the scales one way or another.

Wait, sorry, that’s not what I meant.

I will remind you that yesterday, Yang was worried he wouldn’t hit his $3 million goal. Adding an extra $500,000 sure makes sense.

I can only think of two explanations for this exchange with the DNC and Yang’s threat of “hitting back” and saying that by following the rules and keeping the polls non-partisan, the DNC is “unfairly deciding” the debate stage: either the man is genuinely ignorant of the political process (in which case: WHY THE HECK IS HE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT), or he is deliberately stirring up anger in his Yang Gang to get them to rage-donate. If the latter is the case, he’s definitely following the precedent of the only other unelected official to win the Presidency, fellow New York businessman Donald Trump.

Regardless, to wrap up the year, I figured I’d go ahead and write up a summary of every current candidate’s email strategy in three words. You can check it out on my Twitter here.

Happy New Year, everyone! 2019 was the best year in all of human history. Let’s make 2020 even better!

By the time you’re reading this, Biden has cracked 600 emails in less than a year.

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