Happy 2020! It’s a beautiful winter day here, with the sun shining and the birds raiding my bird feeder. I ended up staying up until 1:54 AM to catch up on all my emails. It was not the busiest email day of the year.
But it was close.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 1 candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, but I’ve been on 28 mailing lists! 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!
On the final day of 2019, Pete Buttigieg hit it out of the park with a whopping 8 emails, including some of the year’s best, in my opinion. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang all restrained themselves to just 6, while Cory Booker and Julian Castro were positively demure at only 5 emails in a day.
Some candidates went heavier on the New Year’s part of their New Year’s Eve fundraising emails, and those got slid into the News Events category, but most candidates were blatantly just after the last minute money. Pete Buttigieg announced the results of his “lowest unique donation” contest: only one person donated $1.40. Many people tried pi and a few tried e, but it took several hours before anyone tried $1.01.
Regardless, Buttigieg was pleased that people had so much fun with it: Joy is one of his Rules of the Road. He was so taken by the various amounts donated and the stories tweeted about them that he actually did something I kind of wish more candidates did: he gave a donation link that included a section to type in why you are donating the amount that you are. So many times, I’ve wanted to attach a little note to my donations: This is for that line at the debate, this is for that email about the ICE raids in Mississippi, this is because you clearly love the people of Ohio that you represent…
Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren also reflected on the past year and how they got to the point they were at, though Buttigieg did it more thoroughly than Warren. Warren was celebrating the exact 1-year anniversary of her campaign, while Buttigieg said “this is how we started, and how we grew, and where we are now…” He hit his 2 million donors goal before the year was out, which he celebrated with a confetti GIF.
Warren noted that her campaign had held over 187 town halls in 29 states and Puerto Rico. She also noted she’d taken nearly 100,000 selfies, though a quirk to the grammar sort of implied that all 100,000 were taken IN Puerto Rico, which I doubt.
Both Cory Booker and Andrew Yang talked about getting back on the debate stage in January, though while Booker discussed the shame of having more billionaires than Black people on the debate stage, Yang just wanted to be on the stage. Booker pointed out the dearth of polls that would make qualifying harder, while Yang just said he has a plan to get on the stage, he just needs money for it.
I pictured Yang having an elaborate, Mission-Impossible style break in. I think the polls would be easier.
While Pete Buttigieg’s Other asks were for the reasons behind why I choose the amounts to donate that I do, Tom Steyer wanted to talk to me about his dogs and invite me to share pictures of my pets.
I would have appreciated the cute dog pictures more if it hadn’t come after the emails saying “This is the last time we’ll ask you for money this year!” Because of course there was an ask for a $1 donation in the dog email.
Plenty of other candidates also let me know when it was the last time they were asking, though they all were careful to specify it was the last time the candidiate would be personally asking, and any following emails were signed by generic team members.
(Hunter and Chris from Tom Steyer’s campaign didn’t email me again.)
For Elizabeth Warren’s one-year anniversary, she offered up an enamel pin with a $25 donation.
More and more campaigns are doing enamel pins. I like them. I have frequently wished to have something a little classier than a big circle button I could pin to my shirt at work, or the lapel of my coat. Something simultaneously discreet and also saying “This is who I support.”
I’m sorry, Cory Booker, but an enamel pin of your face isn’t quite so classy. Face pins are weird looking. Tom Steyer’s tie pin is a good example of a fun enamel pin. Pete Buttigieg has his bridge logo. I haven’t seen any of the other candidates advertising enamel pins in their emails.
Julian Castro wanted to remind me that purchasing merch from his shop counted as a donation. He really needed my help to get to $100,000 for this deadline.
Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, was repeatedly celebrating the remarkable things this team has done, including all the things donors named Aimin had done.
We know you’re one of a kind, but you are one of 2 Aimins who have donated to this campaign.
You made your first donation back in March. We’re so glad to have you as a 2019 donor.
And you’re not alone! 20287 other supporters from Michigan have also contributed.
You were one of the first 65,000 donors. You’re part of the small group that helped Pete get to the first debate stage. Thank you.
You were one of 53,505 donors who donated the day Pete officially announced he was running for President of the United States.
You’re one of over 21,000 donors who have donated $20.20. (There sure are a lot of us looking forward to defeating Donald Trump in 2020!)
Over 700,000 supporters have contributed to this campaign. That’s a huge group of supporters who are acting with hope and urgency to bring in a new approach approach to unifying our country.
Thanks,Pete for America
Thanks to some top notch researchers, I can say with assurance that I am not the only Aimin who donated to Buttigieg. I wondered if I was because I had donated through two different emails, but the ActBlue FEC records confirmed that there is another Aimin who donated to him.
There’s also another one who donated to Bernie Sanders. I’d love to meet either of them.
Elizabeth Warren suggested that if my New Year’s Resolution is to elect the first woman President, I should donate to her. It left me wondering for way too long if this was a moment when “female” was actually more grammatically appropriate than “woman.”
Cory Booker offered up an old picture of himself celebrating with some friends and told me that I knew what to do, along with donation buttons.
And Joe Biden, after cajoling and begging all day, sent me an email to let me know that there were mere moments left before the deadline. He desperately needed my help.
Biden’s was the last email of the night, but Bernie Sanders’ was the one whose email reflected the first ask of 2020. Just as he had for previous quarters, he sent a graphic heavy email that changed after midnight. It went from counting down the minutes to the FEC deadline to telling me I was too late to donate to that… but I could be one of the first donors to Bernie Sanders in 2020!
Instead, I went to bed.