Day 240: 1/15/20

In Thursday’s emails, people were talking about the debate, Michael Bennet was trying to be spicy, and I get fed up with Amy Klobuchar’s design choices.


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.

I don’t know if you’d call this more or less sane.

Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar have tied with Pete Buttigieg for most emails for once, an incredible 5 in a single day. Elizabeth Warren came close with sending 4, while Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang both sent 3 emails.

With mailing lists flush from the debates, of course they’re going to talk debates.

The debates were once again at the forefront, as candidates recapped the debate from the previous night and the surges in fundraising they were all seeing as a result. Amy Klobuchar asked me to fill her post-debate fund, while Pete Buttigieg reiterated his plea for unity. Elizabeth Warren asked me to donate if she made me proud, and Bernie Sanders told me he was taking on the entire 1%. Joe Biden wanted me to take a survey about the debate, while Tom Steyer reminded me that he is the only candidate saying climate change is his absolute number 1 priority.

It wasn’t just the candidates on stage: Andrew Yang was incredibly disappointed in the debate.

Yang Gang —

Last night’s debate was just like Andrew predicted: full of attacks, empty rhetoric, and very few solutions.

It was extremely disappointing. But we can’t get stuck in our frustration, because the truth is that we’re surging. The crowds have been huge and Andrew is fired up!

Let’s make sure our fundraising stays high so we can peak at just the right time before the Iowa caucuses.

Team Yang

Of course, debate day was also the first time that Yang failed to hit a fundraising goal. He hasn’t bothered to bring that up yet.

Deval Patrick acknowledged that while not on the debate stage, he’s not without his own receipts.

I wasn’t on the debate stage in Iowa last night, but I can tell you where I have been. I’ve been in the Deep South as the head of the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division investigating a number of African American church burnings.

I’ve been in post-apartheid South Africa, helping to draft their constitution.

I’ve been in the Massachusetts State House as Governor, delivering health care to 98% of residents.

And over the past few months I’ve been traveling around the country meeting voters who are looking for a candidate with a track record of delivering results for their constituents and are still undecided about who they will support in this election.

So, if you are looking for a candidate with a track record of delivering results, chip in a few dollars before our Saturday deadline to help us grow our campaign and continue to compete in this race.

Deval Patrick

I still think Patrick joined far too late to actually have a chance. But he does have some impressive marks on his resume. Unfortunately, by joining late, he’s handicapped his campaign and will end up with a “failed Presidential run” on his record when he actually joins the race in a timely manner next time. I can’t actually see any upside for Patrick joining the race when and how he did.

Maybe that’s why I’m not in politics.

Tulsi Gabbard also talked about not being on the “debate” stage. In quotation marks.

Two stages, only one leader:

On the presidential “debate” stage: The least representative group of candidates to date delivered 60 second sound bites to the corporate media, partaking in irrelevant he-said-she-said squabbles that have no bearing on the big issues facing our country today.

On a stage in Concord, New Hampshire: Tulsi sat down with leading anti-war experts, Dennis Kucinich, Stephen Kinzer, and constitutional authority Lawrence Lessig to speak directly with the people of New Hampshire about how we got into these wars, how they impact all of us, and how we get out of them and get our troops home.

Image of Tulsi on stage in Concord, NH, and the presidential debate stage.

Last night highlighted the difference between Tulsi and every other candidate: Some people pay lip service to service and “peace seeking” while working or voting to fund for-profit wars, while Tulsi leads with her actions.

Taking action against the most powerful lobby in the land has come at a price, but we cannot let them win, Friend. WE can get Tulsi’s message out loud and proud and we can do it today — with your help. Will you contribute $29 now to help us run powerful anti war ads all across the state of New Hampshire?

Last night — and for years — Tulsi has been asking the common sense, bi-partisan questions that impact every American: Do these wars make our people safer? Are they constitutional? What’s the real cost of these wars?

Tulsi is the only candidate who deeply and personally understands the terrible cost of war. And she will keep fighting for all of us, for peace and the safety and security of all Americans – as long as we stand with her.

Will you show Tulsi you have her back, Friend? You can get her message directly to the voters going to the polls in 29 days by rushing $29 now to our Primary State Ad Blitz Fund.


I think we’re all asking the same question: why is Gabbard still running?

John Delaney didn’t talk about the debate directly, but he brought up his pet issue: health care.

Currently, only three candidates have detailed plans for universal access — Senators Warren and Sanders, and myself.

The plans advocated by Senators Warren and Sanders, however, call for an extreme “single-payer” system, where the government is the only provider of coverage.

But the truth is, that’s just not possible. Their plan will kick millions off their coverage and severely underfund hospitals, which will inevitably result in closures and leave even more folks without the care they need.

My plan — BetterCare — achieves the ambition of universal coverage without the negatives of a single-payer system.

I believe we must create universal healthcare by automatically enrolling every American in a free public healthcare plan — AND still allow folks to buy supplemental coverage or opt out and keep the private plans they currently have.

John Delaney

In his final email of the evening, Bernie Sanders declared that he did a great job on the debate stage despite the deck being stacked against him.

Bernie did great at last night’s debate, but that does not change the fact that he did not get a fair shake.

Hey Bernie, how would you keep your plans from bankrupting the country?

Bernie head shake

Hey Bernie, in the wake of the Iran crisis, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei has again called for all U.S. troops to be pulled out of the Middle East, something you’ve called for as well.

Bernie head shake

And those questions are to say nothing of post-debate coverage stacked with people who have long histories attacking or working against Bernie.

And now that our campaign is doing so well, it will only get worse. So Bernie needs your help to fight back — to elevate our voices and reach the people we need to WIN. So we’re asking:

Can you make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign today? We’ll put your donation right to work winning in Iowa and winning the delegates we need to secure the nomination.

We’ve said from the start that we aren’t just taking on the political and financial establishment in this country, but we would be taking on much of the corporate media and pundit class, as well.

Well, we’re here. But if we keep fighting, we’re going to win.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie2020

It’s worth noting that he didn’t answer the question on how he was going to pay for his plan (not “keep it from bankrupting the country” but “pay for it.”) He also disagreed that modest improvements were improvements over no improvements, and he needed to correct Elizabeth Warren that she wasn’t the only one on stage who had defeated an incumbent Republican in the past thirty years: he had done that thirty years ago! (29 years and 2 months, according to Andrew Yang.)

What fascinates me is the Sanders’ belief that the front runner deserves a kid-gloves treatment, where nothing bad is ever said about them and no critiques or hard questions are brought up. If the media isn’t fawning over him, they’re against him?

I mean, I guess that’s a presidential attitude by our current standards.

So much money

Michael Bennet turned over his email to his top endorser, James Carville, and Carville slapped me in the face with a demand to know why I wasn’t doing enough for Bennet.

I bet I’ve stepped up more than you’re giving me credit for, so stop yelling at me.

Bennet forwarded this email to me again later and also emailed me about how Bennet SHREDDED Trump’s lies with THE TRUTH.

Trump… lied!?

I wonder if Bennet took my summation of his campaign as “Boring is GOOD” to heart and is trying to kickstart it with a jolt of spice. Unfortunately, this is coming across as very inauthentic compared to… every other message I’ve gotten from him.

Elizabeth Warren sent an email a few days late to talk about what Cory Booker’s campaign meant and how she will continue on with his messaging.

Earlier this week, my friend Cory Booker suspended his presidential campaign, and I wanted to share my thoughts on what it means for the rest of the primary — and for our party.

Cory Booker has always been a powerful voice for justice and equality, from fighting for tenants’ rights to serving the city of Newark to championing criminal justice reform in the United States Senate.

He made this primary stronger, he’s working to unite our country around a positive vision, and he’ll continue to be a leader in the fight to defeat Donald Trump. But he also reminded us that we can’t just beat Donald Trump — that is the floor, not the ceiling, as he put it.

Cory Booker is right. Defeating Donald Trump is the floor, not the ceiling. After we beat Trump in 2020, we need to make big, structural change in 2021 and beyond to root out corruption, rebuild the middle class, and protect our democracy.

We need to fight side by side as a grassroots movement to put power in the hands of the people, where it belongs. I can’t do it alone — will you add your name to say you’re in this fight all the way?

Here’s the way I see it: Part of protecting our democracy means facing up to how it’s been twisted by the wealthy and well-connected, and how our government isn’t representing all Americans.

It’s not lost on me that the field of Democratic presidential candidates has only gotten less and less diverse as the race has gone on.

There weren’t any candidates of color on last night’s debate stage, but there was a billionaire who bought his podium. Our party and our democracy deserve better. We need to get big money out of politics, get big money out of Washington, tackle the ways that discrimination and bigotry continue to undermine our democracy, and make sure everyone’s voices are heard.

I’ll remember what Cory Booker fought for. I’ll remember how he fought: by bringing people together behind a unifying purpose. And I’ll always be honored to fight by your side for an America that works for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. If you’re all in, add your name.

Elizabeth Warren

There has been a definite shift in Warren’s email rhetoric recently, with a bit more passion injected into her words. I wish she had always sent emails written like this. Again, like Bennet, like Julian Castro had by the end of his campaign, this shift now just rings false to me.

Warren wasn’t the only one using another person’s words, though in Pete Buttigieg’s case, he let Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, speak for himself.

I’m Steve Adler — Mayor of Austin, Texas. I’ve been a proud member of Team Pete from the start. Here’s a photo of Pete and me the day he announced his candidacy:

Pete is focused on fixing the problems Americans face. I am confident he is ready to pick up the pieces after a Donald Trump presidency. And right now, polls are showing that it’s going to come down to Iowans showing up and caucusing for Pete.

With the Iowa Caucuses quickly approaching, the PFA team has set a goal of reaching every single caucusgoer before February 3rd. If you believe Pete’s message is worth fighting for, help PFA reach this goal by donating here.

In many ways, I view Pete as a mentor. He embodies the qualities I wish every American President had: compassion and hard work. In every conversation I’ve ever had with Pete, it’s been clear he’s looking out for the well-being of all Americans. He’s committed himself to serving the American public, and I’ve never seen him fall short of that commitment.

I’ve watched his campaign grow from a group of friends united behind progressive ideals to a top-tier presidential campaign. I write to you because behind every strong campaign, is an even stronger group of supporters.

I’m proud to call Pete a friend and a mentor, and I’ll be even prouder to call him President of the United States.

Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, for Pete for America

Buttigieg also offered up his tie debate sticker again, but this time, he talked about the importance of the color in the design.

Does this look familiar? Perhaps you’ve seen our favorite future president wearing something similar on the debate stage last night… or the times before.

Pete gave an incredible performance at the debate last night — wearing his usual blue tie, of course. And did you know that this particular shade of blue, River Blue, is one of the signature colors of our campaign?

The colors we use everywhere — from the walls of our offices to the pages on our website to the logos on shirts and banners and emails like this one — are deeply rooted in South Bend. They’re an ode to Pete’s hometown and his life here. River Blue, the color of Pete’s tie and our new sticker, is named for St. Joseph’s River, which runs through the heart of downtown South Bend.

And just as our colors are tied to South Bend, so are our values: we believe in community, we believe in hard work, and we believe wholeheartedly in the hope of a stronger, fairer, more unified future. Those are the values Pete lived by every day as mayor of South Bend, and they’re the values we uphold as we build a future for America based on belonging.

Pete showed us those values at the debate last night. And they’re what we think of every time we see the River Blue on Pete’s tie — and now, on this sticker.

If you chip in today, you’ll be helping us build on our post-debate momentum by spreading Pete’s vision for America to as many voters and caucusgoers as possible — plus, you’ll receive our new sticker. It’s a win-win-win: for you, for this campaign, and for our country.

Pete for America

As a graphic design geek, I love insights like this into the campaign branding. As a resident of a city on the Saint Joseph river, I love that it is highlighted on a national stage. I also raise my eyebrow at the apostrophe-s, but whatever. Regional differences?

Regardless, campaign branding is something I’ve brought up multiple times recently. Pete Buttigieg knows how to keep a brand consistent, while Amy Klobuchar is a big offender for this, with her crazy highlighting and weird choice of coral for emphasis.

Technically, 8 colors here if you count black and white.

Why so many colors? Why is the hyperlink blue (5) different from America blue (2)? Why is highlight green (6) different from Amy green (1). WHY CORAL (4)?

Here, this is a quick mockup I threw together of a more cohesive color palette:

Notice a difference?

With a tighter, more coherent palette, the email feels more cohesive. By having only one “off-brand” color, it stands out more as a highlight of important information.

Maybe you think this is all overdone, but here’s my question to you: can you tell which campaign each of these donation buttons comes from?

Answers will be provided at the bottom of this post.

If you know even one, you’ve provided an example of how a strong brand can trigger connections with nothing more than font or color. You want people to think of you when they see a certain color or style of font.

That means people are thinking of you.

Answers to Donation Buttons:
1. Joe Biden
2. Bernie Sanders
3. Pete Buttigieg
4. Tom Steyer
5. John Delaney
6. Tulsi Gabbard
7. Andrew Yang
8. Elizabeth Warren
9. Michael Bennet

2 thoughts on “Day 240: 1/15/20

  1. Goodness, if you haven’t heard before about River Blue, you may want to go to (Buttigieg’s website), select “Supporter Toolkit,” and then go to “Colors” — scroll down to read about each one. Frankly, I always thought the ties were Calm Blue, but maybe he has a suite of different blue ties.


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