Days 236 and 237: 1/11/20-1/12/20

Over the weekend, I was missing several emails from Pete Buttigieg, and Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, and Elizabeth Warren all struck out at their fellow Democrats.


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.

Remember when there were more than two dozen names on this chart?

Pete Buttigieg sent a massive 9 emails over the weekend, though not so many to his donors. Interestingly, the three emails I was missing from my BTE donor account, I did receive from Buttigieg on my personal donor account. I feel this was more a hiccup in the program than an actual scaling back of emails.

Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren all sent 6 emails over the weekend. These four plus Buttigieg make up the candidates considered to be in serious contention for the Iowa caucus victory. Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang both sent 5 emails.

If I had received Buttigieg’s missing emails, this would be a lot more even.

The emails were a bit more frequent on Saturday than Sunday, up overall for a weekend, but not anything excessively notable.

What was notable was the tone taken.

Bernie Sanders was unhappy with both parties.

Bernie Sanders started the negativity this weekend with a discussion on his history of anti-war stances.

In January of 1991, one of the first votes I cast in Congress was against the war in Iraq.

I remember it well. Almost all Republicans supported the war effort, as did a number of Democrats. I didn’t, and I walked off the floor thinking “well, I’ll probably be a one-term congressman now.”

But I will repeat something today that I said back then, because I think it is still applicable:

And that is that the challenge of our time is not simply to begin a war that will result in the deaths of many people — young Americans and innocent families overseas — but the real challenge of our time is to see how we can use our power in a different way to stop aggression and keep our people safe. Because if we are not successful right now, then I think all this world has to look forward to in the future for our children is war, and more war, and more war… as if we haven’t had enough war already.

A decade after that first war in Iraq, I voted against yet another war in the same country.

That was the right vote.

And it is almost beyond impossible to imagine that after nearly 17 years of that war in Iraq — a war that upended the regional order of the Middle East and resulted in untold loss of life — that this administration is putting us on such a dangerous path toward more war.

This time with Iran.

Apparently for some, decades of constant war is not enough.

Let us not forget that when Trump took office, we had a nuclear agreement with Iran, negotiated by the Obama administration along with our closest allies. Countries from all over the world came together to negotiate that agreement, which put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program.

The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.

Unfortunately, Trump followed his reckless instincts and listened to right-wing extremists, some of whom were exactly the same people that got us into the war in Iraq in the first place.

Now, as you all know, last week President Trump ordered the assassination of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, along with the leader of an Iraqi militia.

Trump justified the assassination of Soleimani by claiming that it was necessary to prevent ‘imminent’ attacks on U.S. forces, but his administration has offered no evidence to back that claim up, even in a classified setting.

Then he claimed that there were plans to attack U.S. embassies, again offering no evidence. And now, unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.

Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions for selfish reasons and without regard for the Constitution.

As a United States senator, I will do everything I can to rein in this reckless president and prevent a war with Iran.

As president, I will offer a different vision for how we exercise American power: one that is not demonstrated by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring countries together and forge international consensus around shared challenges.

A test of a great nation is not how many wars we can fight or how many governments we can overthrow, but how we can use our strength to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way.

I cannot do it alone. But maybe, just maybe, instead of spending $1.8 trillion a year globally on weapons of destruction, we can lead the world to address the issues that affect us all, like the existential threat of climate change.

So our job is to offer a different vision — a vision that one day human beings on this planet will live in a world where international conflicts are resolved peacefully, not by mass murder.

Thank you for your continued support of that vision.

Bernie Sanders

On the other hand, Joe Biden merely gave a slight dig at his billionaire opponents:

This race will come down to the momentum we build over the next 22 days — but, unlike billionaires Bloomberg and Steyer who’ve poured millions of dollars into their campaigns, we’re relying on supporters like you to meet every goal and fuel Joe Biden to victory.

With 13 candidates still in this race, and the polls showing a virtual tie in Iowa, anything can happen between now and Caucus Day, so we have to be prepared for whatever our opponents or Trump throw at us.

Tulsi Gabbard is no stranger to insulting the Democratic party or its candidates, so she lashed out at the richest and poorest in the race and laid out her strategy for victory:

There are many ways to win an election, friend.

If you’re a billionaire like Tom Steyer, you can drop over $17 million on TV and online ads in the early states of South Carolina and Nevada and buy your way onto the debate stage.

If you and your consultant class friends are cushy with the military industrial complex and a darling of the corporate media, like Mayor Pete, you can bank on millions in “free” media coverage and a path that isn’t paved with establishment smears and media blackouts.

If you’re Michael Bloomberg… hell, you OWN the media. Enough said.

So, how DOES Tulsi win?

Here’s how: With us. With you, friend. With all of us pulling together over the next 32 days… WE are Tulsi’s path to victory: A movement of everyday Americans who want to trust that our President has our best interests in mind.

A movement of soldiers, teachers, nurses, workers, public servants and so much more, who expect our government and its leader to be there for us when we need it after our lifetimes of service.

Tulsi can win because — and trust us we see this every day on the road, at town hall after town hall across the country — whenever people have a chance to meet with Tulsi, to hear directly from her, to hear her vision for our country and learn about her record of service to her country and its people… that’s when they get it: She’s the real deal. The first question is almost always “why haven’t I heard of you before now?!”

And THIS is where you come in, team. We have only 32 days to make sure EVERY voter in New Hampshire has a chance to hear directly from Tulsi. We’re banking on a breakout performance in New Hampshire — one that can launch our campaign through to South Carolina and beyond. But Tulsi needs your help today to make this happen: Will you chip-in $33 dollars to help us reach every voter in New Hampshire before February?

Right now New Hampshire is truly anyone’s game — what we know for certain is that every single vote matters, and that getting Tulsi and her message in front of every single voter in New Hampshire over the coming 32 days is critical to our path to victory.

Will you make sure every single voter in New Hampshire knows Tulsi before February? Getting our message out — with TV and digital ads, with more direct voter events — is key to coming out of New Hampshire with the kind of momentum we must raise to see Tulsi through to the end.

Can you rush $33 now to help buy as much air time as possible in New Hampshire ahead of first votes?

Together, we can make this happen.

PS — Some of you are asking why the campaign’s focus is on New Hampshire right now instead of Iowa. We’ll tell it to you straight, like Tulsi always does: We only put your dollars to work where we know they will have a big, outsized impact. Where we know we can win and defy the odds. We wish we did, but we simply don’t have the astronomical resources of the billionaire and top-tier candidates to run at-scale field operations and hyper competitive media buys in every singly early state. Instead, we are laser-focused on the areas we’re seeing the most momentum, and where together, we are making sure Tulsi can talk to every person in New Hampshire about her vision for our country before they go to the polls. Will you help her reach them? Donate $33 now.


Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders dropped the billionaires and also lashed out at Pete Buttigieg.

Hope you’ve had a nice weekend.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few observations from my weekend with Bernie in Iowa. I think you’ll find them interesting.

First, I’ve seen big and energetic crowds for Bernie at every stop. I’ve also seen offices stuffed to the walls with volunteers. The enthusiasm with three weeks to go is a sight. I wish you could see it. You’d love it.

But there’s something else I’ve seen, and that is ENDLESS Pete Buttigieg television ads.

The truth is, I had seen the spending reports. We get constant updates on these things. But now I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and it’s not great.

So we need your help to catch up, because there is too much at stake and too little time left before the caucus:

Can you make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign? We are in the lead and increasing our Iowa advertising could be what it takes to hold on and finish with a win.

Other campaigns can spend everything they have in these early states and rely on outside spending in the ones that follow. We can’t.

But we have Bernie and we have each other, and that’s more than enough. So let’s keep fighting and let’s win — for each other, for people we don’t even know, and for the future of our country.

All my best,

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

However, it was Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager’s email that made me pull out my metaphorical popcorn.

Last night, we got some disappointing news.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign is instructing volunteers to dismiss our broad-based, inclusive campaign by saying the “people who support [Elizabeth] are highly-educated, more affluent people.”

When I heard that description, I didn’t recognize it. That doesn’t describe me or many of the passionate volunteers and organizers I know. This type of attack isn’t about disagreeing on issues — it’s about dismissing the potency of our grassroots movement.

Let’s be clear: As a party, and as a country, we can’t afford to repeat the factionalism of the 2016 primary. To win in November, we need a nominee who can unite a broad coalition of Democrats — who will excite every part of the Democratic party and inspires more people to join the fight.

If you want the Democratic primary to be about a substantive vision for a country that works for everyone, I’m asking you to support our campaign with a contribution right now.

Here’s why this is personal for me: My parents were immigrants from China who both worked two jobs to pay their bills. They waited tables, sold souvenirs, sewed clothes, and did everything they could to give my brothers and me a better life. I dropped out of high school but got back on track, got my GED, and graduated from a state school.

Now, I’m Elizabeth’s campaign manager. She’s lived the American dream too — growing up in Oklahoma, her family barely hanging onto its place in the middle class, getting a degree from a commuter college for $50 a semester, becoming a teacher, professor, senator, and candidate for president.

We’re fighting to open doors for the next kid to get ahead. And everytime I’m out on the road with Elizabeth, I see her inspiring new people to join the fight, because in her story, they see themselves, and in her plans, they see a path out of the mess we’re in as a country.

I have all the respect in the world for Bernie Sanders, but when talking about our movement, his campaign has it backwards. I hope he reconsiders what he’s encouraging.

No matter what, we’ll keep running to unite the party and defeat Donald Trump.

We’ll be spending our time taking selfies (100,000 and counting!), holding more town halls and public events, and building on our grassroots-funded movement — one that’s powered by more than 2.7 million contributions from nearly 1 million donors chipping in to something they believe in.

And in the final days before the Iowa caucuses, we’ll be knocking on doors, making calls, and having thousands of meaningful conversations with people all across the country to get as many people involved and out to the polls and caucuses as possible. That’s how we win in 2020. And that’s how we deliver big, structural change in 2021.

If that’s the type of campaign you’re proud to be a part of, please chip in $2 or whatever you can to help keep up the fight.

Thanks for everything, and I hope to see you on the road. -roger

P.S. If the Bernie campaign’s description rang false to you too, we’d love to hear your story. What brings you into this fight, and what issues do you care about?

Roger Lau, Campaign Manager, Warren for President

I’m going to take a moment to say yes, Roger always signs his emails twice, once with a lower-case name and once with his full signature block.

It drives me crazy.

Now that that has been addressed, let’s move on to the content.

Roger Lau’s email highlights something I’ve noticed in all of these campaign emails from all campaigns. There has been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity on the debate stage, but there has also been a handful of articles highlighting the diversity behind the candidates. High-level female staffers and names implying various multi-cultural origins fill the signatures of these political emails. Stories of staffers who are LGBTQ+, disabled, or otherwise in a minority are highlighted across multiple campaigns. Old and young, politically experienced or brand new, there is a ton of diversity reflected in these campaigns. No, it’s not the same as having the face of the campaign reflect the diversity of America, but it’s important to point out that the world of politics isn’t a world of old white guys smoking cigars in back rooms anymore, no matter how many emails may reference them. Good candidates listen to their staff. A diverse staff means a diverse wealth of ideas and viewpoints. In some ways, this diversity is just as important as debate stage diversity.

Anything to get me engaged.

Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren asked me to share my story with their campaigns, while Tom Steyer suggested I send him a debate message and Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang asked me to sign birthday cards for their candidates.

The call for volunteers to canvass in Iowa and phone bank around the country was still huge, along with surveys asking my opinions. Elizabeth Warren is still suggesting she might call me if I make calls for her, while Joe Biden just tried to scare me with what might happen if he doesn’t raise the money he needs.

IF. IF. AND IF. Biden likes this rhetorical structure.

However, Joe Biden did send another, rather bizarre, email over the weekend that was getting a lot of attention. Before you ask: yes, this is really a real email.

Major and Champ are Biden’s dogs.

I’m honestly not even sure where to begin. First of all: does Biden not have any other picture of Major? That’s just a cropped version of his adoption picture, which the campaign has used before. When using cute dogs to fundraise, you need to keep changing up the picture.

Secondly… the dog wrote the email. I know Pete Buttigieg’s dogs, Buddy and Truman, share a Twitter account, and Elizabeth Warren’s dog, Bailey, also has a Twitter account, but there’s a difference between a humorous Twitter handle and sending a fundraising email from an animal’s point of view. Especially since…

Thirdly: Major is asking for Biden to “come home.” I.E. “stop campaigning and spend time with your family.” That is… definitely not a winning message, right? Is Biden’s own campaign trying to sneakily tell Biden to give up? Probably not. But I bet Major and Champ would love to have their dad around the house full-time again. As long as he has an election to win, he won’t be.

Discussion of polls is a News Event.

Tom Steyer wanted to let me know about the momenTOM he was seeing on the ground, while most candidates were fretting about the dead heat in Iowa. Mike Bloomberg gave his last call for his trip to NYC contest, while Cory Booker is still offering me dinner*. Bernie Sanders continued to try to push the narrative that having the most raised money doesn’t actually matter, because other candidates will use “outside spending” after Iowa so they don’t need to worry about saving their money.

*This was written prior to the news that Booker dropped out on Monday. I was thinking he’d hold out at least through this competition. I wonder if he’ll still have dinner with the winner.

Sanders is a fine one to talk, with multiple super PACs and similar organizations actually spending big outside money on helping him campaign.

Elizabeth Warren launched some new winter merch, including a scarf she pictured wrapped around Bailey’s neck, but it was Pete Buttigieg who broke out something new in the world of political emails: digital badges.

I felt a little bit like a Girl Scout again, seeing which badges I had already collected… except this email did not arrive in my donor inbox. I did receive a personal version of it, though, which included a fourth badge that is now impossible to collect.

This was for my first political donation of this cycle. Thanks, Buttigieg, for being a “local boy” and sparking my interest!

Buttigieg has promised more badges to come. I’m intrigued. I like these a bit more than Andrew Yang’s infamous collectible buttons or all of the membership cards because I don’t have to give again to get them: if I already earned a badge, I get it, no additional effort needed on my part.

I should have membership cards from every campaign left standing, after all, except for Deval Patrick and Mike Bloomberg. I donated to all of them.

But I’d have to donate again to prove it.

I’m considering changing Andrew Yang’s color at the bottom there.

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