Week 33: December 29, 2019-January 4, 2020

New week, new year! 2020 brought a sharp drop in the number of emails after nearly a new high, but it also brought the loss of Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson’s campaign staff. Bernie Sanders brought the first negative email hit of the year, and possibly of the entire race, and Pete Buttigieg is almost 38.

I’ve added Xs where candidates dropped out. The square is where I started donating.

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.

The past week was busy.

Pete Buttigieg was one busy writer in the last few days of 2019, sending out a total of 32 emails in this past week. Joe Biden sent out a full 7 emails fewer, with only 25, while Elizabeth Warren came in third with 24 emails in a week.

This chart made me laugh

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the email volume ratcheted up to astronomical heights on Tuesday, the last day of the year, and then abruptly plummeted as campaigns tried to rest and recover from the holidays and the FEC deadlines. There is no comparison between the last few days of 2019 and the first four days of 2020.

Overwhelmingly about raising money.

Fundraising was king for the past week, and it’s no surprise why. Between the FEC deadline and the campaigns recapping their hauls, money was all anyone wanted to talk about.

Nobody missed their goal… or at least, nobody told me they did…

Almost a full quarter of the emails I received in the past week (entirely in 2019) were telling me that campaigns were behind on their end of year goals and things weren’t looking good. I grumble about this strategy a lot, but it must have worked, as everyone who wasn’t sure they would make it (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang specifically) pulled in huge last-minute fundraising hauls, with Yang clocking $4 million in the last week of 2019 and Warren pulling in $1.5 million.

The average amount asked for was $37.13

The only candidates who didn’t include direct suggested values when asking for money this past week were Mike Bloomberg (who didn’t ask for money at all) and Deval Patrick (who asked me to help him catch up to everyone who’d been in the race months longer than he had).

One absolutely fascinating takeaway from this chart and Twitter comments I’ve been receiving is the vitriol thrown at Pete Buttigieg for his “lowest unique donor” contest (of which the winner’s prize was being called out as the winner). Many supporters of Bernie Sanders were ranting in my Twitter comments about how this was an underhanded method to artificially lower his average donation value. To that, I look at the above chart. Buttigieg is the one trying to lower his average donation value?

Regardless, Sanders has it out for Buttigieg. In what was definitely the first email attack of the year and possibly even the first real attack from a Democrat to a fellow Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders launched a furious tirade over email about how Pete Buttigieg was going to pay the price for sending a mailer to New Hampshire voters in which he differentiated Medicare for All and Medicare for All Who Want It.

This week, Pete Buttigieg sent out a mailing to New Hampshire voters using right-wing and insurance industry talking points to attack Medicare for All and our campaign.

He called it a “Medicare Briefing Report” – but it is really just a mailing designed to scare seniors, people who live in rural communities, people with disabilities, and union workers.

It was disappointing.

But honestly, these things happen on political campaigns. At least until candidates peddling these lies are made to pay a price for them.

So that’s what we want to do: make candidates who attack Medicare for All with falsehoods pay a price.

And that is why we’re asking:

Make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign today as a way of saying that we are NOT going to let Pete Buttigieg or his friends in the insurance and pharmaceutical industry scare people out of voting for Bernie Sanders.

Pete Buttigieg probably spent $100,000 on this mailing. The cost of its creation, printing and liberal distribution throughout the state. So what we want to do is double that — in this email — because doing so will not only help us win, but also send a message that there’s a price to pay for these attacks.

All my best,

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

Just for the record, this is the mailing Buttigieg sent out.

If this is what the right-wing wants our health insurance to look like, sign me up!

Here’s a fact that Sanders doesn’t like to talk about much: when discussing M4A with a bunch of union workers, he reassured them that he’d change the bill so they would get paid for all the bonuses to their health insurance they would be losing.

So, by Sanders’ own admission, it is possible that people would be forced into a worse situation through Medicare for All. Sure, most people don’t care about all the hassle and hoops of their insurance, but most isn’t all, and that’s what Buttigieg is pointing out.

It’s also worth noting that Sanders only sent this message to his donors, people who had committed their money to his campaign. His non-donors received a peppy “we shocked everyone with our fundraising haul! Imagine how we’ll shock them when we win Iowa!” message.

Trump is not counted as GOP in this chart.

While Sanders was the most antagonistic toward a fellow Democrat, he wasn’t the only one being snide or snippy toward them. Surprisingly, it was Cory Booker who had the most D-negative emails of the past week, though his were upset at the DNC for suppressing the diversity of the candidates on the debate stage. John Delaney and Michael Bennet also grumbled about the “artificial winnowing” of the field. Pete Buttigieg snarked briefly about how some Democrats say we need to cut people out of our fundraising, and Andrew Yang worked the Yang Gang into a fury over how his totally rational request for the DNC to damage the impartiality of polls was denied. Finally, Tulsi Gabbard hoped I was proud of how she refused to play partisan games and was committed to serving us (by… not doing her job?)

Really, the only two of those emails that were clearly antagonistic toward Democrats instead of merely negative were Yang’s and Sanders’.

Not a surprise.

The campaigns were overwhelmingly asking for money this past week, as we’ve already established, though the beginning of a new year has brought a lot of surveys asking for my opinions on issues on what the campaigns should focus on this next year. Pete Buttigieg’s campaign offered up a birthday card for me to sign, and Amy Klobuchar asked me to donate to some Senate re-election campaigns.

However, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly, everyone wanted my money.

Mike Bloomberg and Deval Patrick really aren’t picking up much email steam.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, consider supporting me on Ko-Fi. But Their Emails! merch is also available on for purchase here!

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