Day 228: 1/3/20

Yesterday, we heard from Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson, and Tulsi Gabbard on Trump’s attacks on Iran. We also heard less from Pete Buttigieg and more about Jonathan Van Ness from Elizabeth Warren.

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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.

Joe Biden’s numbers are correct

Joe Biden crushed the pack with his 4 donor emails on Friday, while Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren only sent 3 each. Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang all sent only 2.

Other was a “call your Senators/Representatives”

Now, for those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you’ll know that I have been railing against Pete Buttigieg’s volume of emails for all of Q4. I constantly threatened that if his Q4 haul wasn’t better than his Q2 haul, we were going to have Words.

Well… his Q4 haul wasn’t better than his Q2 haul (though it was only off by a couple hundred thousand), but I don’t actually have the power or clout to get to have any say over Buttigieg’s email campaign. Nevertheless…he pulled back. Aside from the first day, his emails are at a sane level (for political emails), and of yesterday’s 2 emails, I suspect I only got one because I was “local” to South Bend. It was for phone banking out of his South Bend office, and written by his South Bend organizer, Breana, who is one kick-ass incredible woman I’ve met in other trips to South Bend. It was fun to read a political email written by someone I actually know, and I could definitely hear it in her voice.

(Sorry, Breana, I’m wrapped up in a fluffy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate with my first cold of the year. No talking today for me.)

Another thing Breana’s email made me wonder about was campaign offices in candidates’ hometowns. Buttigieg has made it very clear that his story and the story of South Bend are intrinsically tied together, and it was very important for him to have a campaign office in his hometown.

I haven’t heard anything like this from any of the other active candidates. I couldn’t even tell you what most of their home towns are. (Cory Booker is from Newark, Andrew Yang and Mike Bloomberg are from New York City). I believe Beto O’Rourke had an El Paso office, and I would not have been at all surprised if Tim Ryan had a Youngstown office, but otherwise… the candidates’ roots are missing from their campaigns.

It’s important for a tree to have solid roots so it doesn’t fall over, so it can sustain itself and grow. Some of the other candidates, especially the Senators, are very affectionate about their home states, but there’s a difference to the state you hail from and the town or city that shaped you and you call home in your heart.

Or maybe I just like hearing about South Bend because I know the city.

Finally, a fundraising drop!

Regardless, there was some big news the campaigns were dealing with yesterday: Trump ordered an airstrike that killed a high-ranking Iranian official and made millions speculate that this was the start of World War III. Every candidate tweeted about it, with some making comments and others releasing official statements (and Julian Castro basically copying Elizabeth Warren’s tweet twelve hours later). Only a handful of candidates actually emailed about the attack.

Those who did email had radically different approaches to the topic.

Um.

Joe Biden started off with an address to the country that I could picture coming from the Oval Office, a solemn President seated behind the Resolute Desk and informing his country what had transpired. That made it all the more jarring when it abruptly transformed into a campaign ad. Biden needs money. Give him money because Trump attacked Iran.

On her first day with no campaign staff, Marianne Williamson sent out a lengthy address of her own.

We cannot as responsible citizens look away from what’s happening with Iran right now. 

When Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq, Iraq and Iran spent years at war with each other. In a strange way it was helpful to the United States that Iran had its hands full dealing with Iraq. One of the unfortunate consequences of our deeply irresponsible invasion of Iraq was that it emboldened Iran. 

Iran has been a very active player in Middle Eastern politics, and not in ways that are helpful to the United States to be sure. The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal strengthened the hand of the hardliners there, making their activities in the region more dangerous. Recently the United States led attacks against Iran’s network in Iraq in response to the death of a US contractor at the hands of Iranian-backed militias, which in turn led to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In response to that, President Trump ordered the assassination of one of Iran’s highest military commanders, Qassem Soleimani. 

The killing of Soleimani is extremely serious, and will almost certainly cause a significant reaction from Iran. It’s not that Soleimani was a good man; he was not. But that’s not what this is about. It’s about the wise versus unwise, responsible versus irresponsible use of military power.

Now the president has called for deploying 3,000 more troops to the Middle East. Make no mistake about it, this is an extremely dangerous moment for our country and for our world.

Every American must realize that war with Iran would be catastrophic. When anybody tells you that we’re going to go over there and handle the bad guys, whoever they are and wherever they are, remind them of Vietnam and remind them of Iraq.The cowboy-like imagery employed by warmongers in both cases is dangerous and insane. War in Vietnam was irresponsible and tragic; war in Iraq was irresponsible and tragic; war with Iran could be irresponsible, tragic, and possibly cataclysmic.

How did we get to this? We certainly can’t blame it on our Founders. According to the Constitution, the president must seek congressional approval before declaring war. Yet after 9/11, Congress passed—and continually authorizes—the National Defense Authorization Act, giving the president broad powers to do whatever he thinks necessary to “fight terrorism.” The NDAA is an absurd abdication of congressional authority, and the sweetest gift possible to the military-industrial-complex. 

Today the administration is going into overdrive trying to justify Soleimani’s assassination. One argument is that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Iraq; remember that our invasion was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans in Iraq. They’re also claiming that there were imminent attacks being planned against the United States. That, I do not doubt. So we should thwart any such attacks, of course! But killing Soleimani will only ensure more of them. American military and civilian personnel were already at risk in the region, and now they are only more so. Please hold them in your thoughts and prayers today.

I assume there are reasonable people in the American defense establishment trying hard to reign in the more reckless impulses of our president now. One can only imagine what’s going on behind the scenes. Let’s all of us do whatever we can to take a stand for responsible behavior on the part of our country. Call your Representatives and Senators to say “NO” to war with Iran.

I will be monitoring this situation as closely as possible, and will give you my thoughts as things develops. Please check my social media platforms for regular video updates.

Prayers for peace,

Marianne Williamson

It was difficult to push through this email’s explanations, but her ask was far more appropriate to the moment: call your Senators and Representatives. Tell them that this is not okay.

Finally, Tulsi Gabbard had a video for me to watch.

I didn’t watch the video

Like Williamson, Gabbard did not fundraise off of a potentially imminent world war, even though not having wars is Gabbard’s main campaign promise. Say what you like about Gabbard, I have to give her some kudos for not using an international incident as a cash grab.

None of the other candidates talked about the war. In emails, they were focused on Iowa being a month away and raising more money for the caucuses. Amy Klobuchar had her second fundraising goal of the year: first it was $50,000 in one day on Thursday, and on Friday, it was 5,000 donations in one day. Andrew Yang was pleased at how he shocked everyone with his fundraising haul, and now they have to talk about him. After all, when there are five front runners, he pointed out, there really are no front runners, and Iowa is wide open. Michael Bennet agreed, pointing out that Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough called him the Secretariat of the campaign, a race horse that famously surprised everyone by coming behind for a win. And Elizabeth Warren pointed out that while everyone stepped up and she ended up with great quarterly fundraising numbers by the end, Joe Biden still outraised her by $1.5 million and she needs to close the gap.

So I should donate to hang out with her and Jonathan Van Ness in Iowa.

Michael Bennet is so close to 400 emails!

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