Day 246: 1/21/20

Tuesday brought with it plenty of fundraising asks, with a few Senators upset over the impeachment trials and a few non-Senators upset over Citizens United. Andrew Yang is planning on being revolutionary, but first, he needs to make his goal.


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.

Nobody has the email endurance of Pete Buttigieg.

Once again, Pete Buttigieg walloped my inbox with 5 emails in a day. Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders both sent 4 emails, while Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang sent 3. Deval Patrick seems to have forgotten he’s running for President, just like most of the country.

Do you know what 10-year anniversary was Tuesday?

Pete Buttigieg sent me a new ad of his to watch (and then donate), while Tom Steyer asked me to sign a petition urging Trump to face the facts in his impeachment. The only other non-donation ask came from Joe Biden, of all people. He sent me a surprisingly good email about fundraising in politics.

When I first ran for office, the only way you could raise money for your campaign was by going door-to-door, asking rich men — and I say men — to give to your campaign. And when I was a 29-year-old trying to run for Senate, those rich men looked at me and said: “thanks, son. Call me when you’re 40.”

I went around them. I relied on small donors in my neighborhood in Delaware. And if it weren’t for those neighbors, well, I’d probably still be an attorney in Wilmington. And we did well by their money: we couldn’t afford to send out direct mail, so my sister started “the Biden Post Office.” Volunteers fanned out to distribute the mail themselves.

In a way, we’ve come full circle. My campaign today is reliant on small donations from people just like you. In fact, the majority of our funding comes from small donations given to messages just like this one. And we’re still doing well by your money: using it to fund big volunteer programs — though at this point we can afford direct mail.

We have a goal to hit this month, and I have to tell you that we’re not quite where I’d like us to be. Can you pitch in $5 right now to help us meet it?

My first campaign was in 1972. I can’t imagine how many candidates — young, marginalized, or lacking access to the super rich — have been shut out of the process because of our campaign finance system. And today, the anniversary of the Citizens United decision should serve as a reminder of that. Our system is broken, and we need to win to fix it.

I’m grateful that the way we fundraise has changed. But it also means that I need to ask for your help again. If we fall behind our January goal, that means fewer volunteers in Iowa. It means fewer ads. And it means that our campaign — one that you’ve put so much of your time and your heart into — could fall behind when it matters most.

Can you help make up the gap with a $5 donation right now? We literally are depending on it. We’re literally depending on you.

When I’m elected, we’re going to fix our broken campaign finance system. We’re going to undo the damage done by Citizens United. But it starts with beating Trump. And beating Trump starts with winning this nomination. And winning the nomination starts with you.

Grateful for everything you do for us,

Joe Biden

Except… is it just me, or does this email actually argue against Biden?

To begin with, he talks about being shut out of being taken seriously because he was “too young.” We’ve definitely heard that argument made about a candidate in this race already. However, since he won that election and went on to a Senate career he frequently points to as qualifications, being “too young” was not actually a flaw.

He talks about relying on small donors for that first election, and then “come[s] full circle” back to small donors again. That implies that in the middle, he relied on big donors, those same wealthy men he talked about in the first paragraph. There’s nothing wrong with relying on big donors: they are part of America too (and at least Biden isn’t demonizing them like other candidates are). However, his conclusion about Citizens United further breaking system implies that how it used to be was better, and this talk of coming full circle back to small donors implies that how it used to be was big donors.

It’s confusing, at the least, and mildly concerning. I don’t think that’s what Biden meant to say, but the full letter together has some disjointed connections.

And then there’s that bit in the middle.

I can’t imagine how many candidates — young, marginalized, or lacking access to the super rich — have been shut out of the process because of our campaign finance system.

Joe Biden

Young, marginalized, and lacking access to the super rich candidates get unfairly shut out of the process? And that’s why we should vote for an old, straight, white, heterosexual, Christian man with plenty of connections to the super rich? This is an argument for just about every candidate except Biden himself and Mike Bloomberg. (Even Bernie Sanders is at least a bit marginalized.)

Sometimes, I really wonder if Biden actually wants to be President, or if, like me, he’s one of these people who goes “Ugh, if no one else is doing a good job, FINE! I’ll do it!”

I think this is the smallest amount of variation I’ve seen so far.

Biden wasn’t the only candidate to talk about fundraising today, though the only other one to reference the 10-year-anniversary of Citizens United was Pete Buttigieg, who not only referenced the case, but he drew a direct line from who is benefiting from the decision to one of his major competitors, Bernie Sanders.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission.

We know that no issue we care about — from gun safety to immigration, from climate to education to paid family leave — will be handled well unless our democracy is in better shape. And it’s hardly a democracy if Citizens United means dollars can drown out the will of the people. 

Because of that, Pete for America does not take money from corporate PACs, fossil fuel executives, and lobbyists. So with 13 days until the Iowa Caucuses, we are calling on every supporter reading this to donate $3 to show the strength of a true grassroots, people-powered movement. Thank you.

Hi there,

10 years ago, the Citizens United decision put our democracy up for sale. The Supreme Court decided the voices of dark money and corporate PACs speak louder than those of everyday Americans. 

This decision created a campaign finance system that allows dark money to flow through our democracy — corrupting our election processes by creating a clear channel for special interests and corporations to weigh in on the election or defeat of a candidate through well funded political communications. The Supreme Court’s ruling effectively drowned out the voices of ordinary Americans in their own democracy.

Today, our campaign is turning the page on not just Trump and Trumpism, but also on the corruption ingrained in our government. We’re ushering in a new era of politics, but we can’t do it without your support.

Our campaign does not accept corporate PAC money or donations from fossil fuel executives and lobbyists. But we’re up against dark money groups that are playing by a different set of rules. Just last week, it was released that a pro-Bernie, dark money group is running digital ads against Pete in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

This paid media campaign is pouring tens of thousands of dollars into spreading falsehoods about Pete’s plan to make sure all Americans have access to affordable health care.

In the days leading up to the most defining contest in the primaries, we need to make sure we’re able to run a campaign that can win on February 3rd and defeat Donald Trump in November — which means spreading our message of unity and combating these falsehoods. We need our grassroots supporters to stand up, stand strong, and make a donation toward change.

History does not define our future. But change only happens when we work together. Are you ready?

Pete for America

The pro-Bernie dark money group in question is most likely Organize for Justice, as that was the reveal widely reported last week. While associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she is working as a campaign surrogate for Bernie Sanders, especially as he is stuck in D.C. for Trump’s impeachment trial.

And being stuck in D.C. is something Sanders isn’t happy about.

The establishment will ramp up their attacks to beat us the closer we get to Iowa. We are facing super PACs, the billionaire class, and the entire damn 1%.

We have thirteen days before the Iowa caucus. And unfortunately, we already had to cancel a rally for Bernie in Iowa tomorrow because he needs to be at Trump’s impeachment.

So Bernie needs all of us to step up for him in the face of establishment attacks.

Today, let’s show the size of our movement. Let’s show how many people want to make Bernie Sanders our next president. Let’s get an absolutely HUGE number of contributions to our campaign and send an unmistakable message that Bernie will win.

Make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign today and we can win the Iowa caucus, win the nomination, defeat Donald Trump, and transform our country.

Let’s keep focused. Let’s keep fighting. If we do, together we can make Bernie Sanders our next president.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

I don’t know about you, but I am disgusted that Sanders’ campaign is expressing more scorn toward the “establishment” (implying Democrats) than the corrupt President whose impeachment trial he is participating in.

Not only that, but he seems impatient and frustrated with the impeachment trial even existing. Unfortunately, he had to have a rally canceled? Unfortunately, he was expected to do his job?

Other senators, such as Amy Klobuchar, isn’t expressing displeasure at having to do their jobs.

In her emails, Klobuchar does not talk about the impeachment trial at all. There is no reference to being pulled off the trail and needing to make up fundraising. She’s multi-tasking like a mother, without a single complaint.

Honestly, that’s more of the attitude we need from our leaders.

Meanwhile, Andrew Yang is preparing for a new ad drop. Maybe. If he can afford it.

We just filmed a new ad designed to break through the noise and separate us from ads Iowans are seeing on their televisions and online every day.  And with only 13 days until the Iowa caucuses, we need the funds to get it on the air ASAP.

That’s why we just set a new public goal of $1 million in 48 hours to get our ad on air in Iowa, and we need you to help us hit it, Yang Gang.

This is an aggressive goal, so we need you to give $10 or more right now if we’re going to hit it.  Hitting this goal and getting this ad on the air is critical to our plans in Iowa.

We missed our last goal, and it wasn’t a great feeling.  We can’t let that happen again.

And this might just be our most important goal yet.  Getting a delegate in Iowa will qualify us for the February debates, and I will be able to get our Humanity First message to more voters.

So now more than ever, it’s critical we hit our $1 million goal in 48 hours.  Dig in deep and help us get our new ad up in Iowa by Friday.  Chip in right now:

Andrew Yang

While we’ve worked hard to ensure our TV ads are as revolutionary as our campaign, this next ad is truly going to be a gamechanger.

Our new ad will look and feel completely different from anything else on TV and put us on the path to a massive upset in Iowa.

But we need to raise $1 million by tomorrow night in order to broadcast the ad all over Iowa on Friday — reaching thousands of voters across the state. So, as campaign manager, I’m personally asking you to give as much as you can right now to help us raise the funds we need!

If we don’t raise $1 million by tomorrow at midnight, our team won’t be able to run the ad in Iowa in time for it to reach enough voters.

We can’t allow that to happen.

As soon as we raise the $1 million we need, our team will be able to broadcast our new ad all over Iowa. We’ll even send you the video so you can be one of the first to see it!

Please chip in what you can to fund our new ad right now, so we can get it on the air in time!

Zach Graumann, Campaign Manager, Friends of Andrew Yang

Here is what’s on the line over the next few weeks:

A $1 million ad buy to get our newest game-changing ad on the air in Iowa

Gains in the polls, showing that we are growing and will peak at the right time

A strong finish on February 3rd that shocks the establishment

The February debate stage

The bid for the Democratic nomination so we can beat Trump in November

The reality is that none of this will be possible without your help.

Your $1 or more contribution will help us hit our $1 million goal by tomorrow night and directly help us gain in the polls, shock the world at the Iowa caucuses, and get Andrew on the February 7 debate stage. Please pitch in now:

With so much on the line in the next two weeks, each of us must pull our weight if we’re going to pull off a historic win in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Winning these two states will either make or break our chances of securing the bid for the Democratic nomination.

So we need the Yang Gang to keep the momentum going to get Andrew all the way to the Oval Office. And that means hitting our goal.

Aimin, pitch in $1 or more to get us to $1 million by tomorrow at midnight and let’s win this thing together.

Thank you for all you do,


With how much this new ad has been hyped, I’m surprised Yang hasn’t released even a sneak preview of it. What on earth could be so game-changing and revolutionary in political television ads?

I guess we’ll have to hope the Yang Gang raises their million to find out.

40 emails separates Pete Buttigieg from Elizabeth Warren.

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