Day 262: 2/6/20

Finally, we have a winner for Iowa! According to the Iowa Democratic Party, it’s Pete Buttigieg!

According to the Bernie 2020 campaign, it’s Bernie Sanders!

And according to Tulsi Gabbard, the DNC is in charge of every election and also federal holidays.


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 push is never-ending.

Pete Buttigieg cleared first place among emails again with 6 sent out on Thursday, while Joe Biden came in a close second with 5. Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar both trailed behind the email front runners with only 4 apiece.

I added “attend” and nothing changed.

There were a lot of plays for money on Thursday, but Andrew Yang wanted to know my priorities before debate night, Michael Bennet wanted to give me a chance to get a copy of his book (free with $10 paid for shipping!), Tulsi Gabbard had an ad for me to watch and a petition for me to sign (more on her petition in a moment), and Tom Steyer wanted me to text him so he could text me a reminder about the debate and also critical campaign updates that would totally not be spam.

So many goals.

For once, Andrew Yang does not have an open fundraising goal, joining Tom Steyer and Deval Patrick. Mike Bloomberg didn’t email at all, so of course he didn’t have a goal set. Pete Buttigieg was the only other candidate who did not set a goal, though he was very open with what he had already achieved.

Earlier we wrote about two primary polls out of New Hampshire that show Pete is surging just days before the primary. That’s not the only sign of momentum. Take a look at our fundraising since the Iowa Caucuses:

63,841 individual donations

Over 22,000 new donors (22,636 to be exact!)

$2.73 million raised with an average of $42

But there are some hard truths we have to face as a team, too. This is not enough. If you can, please consider making a donation right now so we can harness the momentum out of Iowa and win in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Bernie is still first in the polls in New Hampshire, and we’re being massively outraised by his campaign. In January alone, his campaign raised more than $25 million, and they’re being supported by NINE outside dark money groups, too.

Can you make a donation today to help us take on Bernie in New Hampshire? He’s got one of the most well-funded organizations in politics and has been building his email list for years. 

We’re very much the underdog here, but we’ve got Team Pete, and the strength of this community is unstoppable — as long as we dig in together right now.

In the last several days since the Iowa Caucuses, we’ve seen donations come in from all 50 states and territories. From urban, suburban, and rural communities. Although we don’t know the results of the Caucuses quite yet, we do know this — folks from all walks of life are excited about what this campaign stands for and what we’ll do for the future of our nation.

These numbers go to show we are galvanizing Americans from all over the country to turn the page on our broken politics of the past so we can defeat Donald Trump once and for all.

If you’re ready for the day after a Donald Trump presidency, join us with a donation of any size so we can exceed our goals and create a better country together.

We wouldn’t be here without the generous support of folks like you so we want to say thank you for helping us make it this far.

Pete for America

What he has already raised was not enough, he said, urging his donors to give more. But there’s a very interesting number in that email: 63,841 donations since Iowa.

Why interesting? Well, take a look at Bernie Sanders’ donor goal: 63,842.

Earlier today, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced his campaign had received 63,841 donations since he prematurely declared himself “victorious” in Iowa.

Well, not only did Bernie receive more votes, but we’ve set a goal of receiving more donations — but we want to do it in just one day. Today.

And we need to do it if we’re going to win, especially since the Buttigieg campaign also has outside spending organizations running HUGE ad buys on his behalf in Iowa.

So what do you say? With a big push before midnight, we can get there. Use this link:

Make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign before midnight to help us reach at least 63,842 donations to our campaign today.

Bernie is on the stage at CNN’s town hall. Chip in while you watch the thermometer rise and enjoy Bernie making the case for health care for all, jobs for all, and justice for all.

Chip in $2.70. Help us hit our goal.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

Yes, that’s right. Bernie Sanders sent out an email (at 8:46 PM, about 10 minutes before Iowa officially called it for Buttigieg) both saying that Buttigieg was “victorious” in quotation marks, the universal sign for “Yeah, uh-huh, not really this at all,” and trying to beat his fundraising numbers (which he did successfully achieve according to his auto-updating graphic).

Sanders also got very upset at Buttigieg for having an outside group (VoteVets, a progressive veterans group raising the voices and needs of veterans on a national scale) running huge ads for him… in Iowa.

Iowa’s over, Sanders. No campaign is running ads there any more.

Elizabeth Warren, at least, got the state right when she attacked Buttigieg for…

Bear with me, this is a little complicated.

For a tweet that if it had been a DM and if it had been sent to VoteVets, would have been illegal.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret:

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, and a few other campaigns in this race, are being boosted by the support of Super PACs and the bigwig donors who can donate millions to them.

Here are a few of the ad buys these groups have placed in the early states:

An outside group has already spent more than $1,000,000 on TV ads backing Pete in New Hampshire

“Unite the Country,” a Super PAC supporting Joe Biden, dumped nearly $5,000,000 into last-minute ads for him in Iowa, and just announced another $900,000 ad buy in New Hampshire

This type of behavior is exactly what’s broken in our politics, and we won’t let it go unnoticed.

On the day Elizabeth announced she was running for president, she denounced the role of Super PACs and shady outside spending in the Democratic primary.

If you believe Super PACs and anonymous wealthy donors have no place in our primary, chip in to fund our 100% grassroots-funded campaign for big, structural change now.

Here’s what makes these new ads even more troubling: It’s illegal for candidates and Super PACs to coordinate strategy with one another.

But we saw this tweet from one of our opponents’ senior strategists, and we wanted to make sure you saw it, because it’s a prime example of just how easy it is for campaigns to exploit our broken campaign finance laws:

@mhalle Pete's military experience and closing message from Iowa work everywhere especially in Nevada where it's critical they see this on the air through the caucus.

That message will be picked up by outside groups working on Pete’s behalf.

As you can see, there’s a pretty easy way to skirt those rules about sharing notes between Super PACs and campaigns: by doing it all in public.

Elizabeth is running a campaign that’s 100% grassroots funded. She doesn’t accept help from Super PACs — or PACs of any kind — and she doesn’t accept donations from executives of giant agribusinesses, the fossil fuel industry, big tech companies, or hedge funds. She doesn’t host private closed-door fundraisers where billionaires can beg for more tax breaks or lax regulations on polluting our environment, either.

That’s because Elizabeth is in this fight to create a government that works for us, not the wealthy and well-connected. That means preventing wealthy donors from buying this election.

Instead, Elizabeth relies on this grassroots movement, made up of more than one million people, who contribute their own money to fund this campaign.

And with millions of dollars now being spent by outside groups in this primary, she needs your help more than ever. The New Hampshire primary is less than a week away, and we doubt this is the last we’ll see of outside groups trying to tip the scales.

If you believe that our elected officials should be accountable to the people, and not secretive donors with their own set of priorities, chip in to fund our campaign for big, structural change.

Team Warren

Warren’s campaign manager, Roger Lau, tweeted a reply to Buttigieg’s strategist.

Today I learned Roger doesn’t sign his tweets with -roger like he does his emails.

This tweet in itself is a bit peculiar: Hey, did you mean for this to be illegal instead of legal?

Now, while Buttigieg’s campaign put out a statement saying that they are not coordinating with VoteVets, and while VoteVets put out a statement saying they are not coordinating with Buttigieg’s campaign, and a former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission said there was nothing wrong with Halle’s tweet, what was interesting was what happened next.

A different super PAC, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, or PCCC, jumped into the fight with a statement of their own.

It’s a slap in the face of campaign finance law to so brazenly and unethically direct a Super PAC how to spend on his behalf.

Adam Green, co-founder of PCCC

What stake does the PCCC have in all of this? Well, if you look at their webpage:

Front and first.
Still on the front page
I had to scroll down on the front page for this.

That’s right. Triggered by a social media comment done publicly, a super PAC supporting Elizabeth Warren (She doesn’t accept help from Super PACs — or PACs of any kind) immediately stepped in to continue a line of attack initiated by the campaign. As if there was… coordination. Done publicly. Between a campaign and a super PAC.

Which would have been illegal if handled in DMs.

NOTE: VoteVets, as of the time of this writing, does not seem to be airing pro-Buttigieg ads in Nevada.

Still talking about Iowa, but now also New Hampshire

There are debates tonight, which is driving some chatter, but most of the campaigns are still focused on who won and who didn’t win in Iowa, how they can win New Hampshire, and how much money they can pull in. Bernie Sanders sent out this glowing email thanking Iowa for giving him such a strong victory.

Thank you, Iowa!

A short while ago in Manchester, New Hampshire, I held a press conference that should have occurred three nights ago in Des Moines, Iowa — but for the unfortunate inability of the Iowa Democratic Party to count votes in a timely fashion. That screw up has been extremely unfair to the people of Iowa, the candidates and all of their supporters.

So what I want to do today, three days late, is to thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us at the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.

Even though the vote tabulations have been very slow, we are now at a point where 97 percent of the votes have been counted and we are winning the popular initial vote by some 6,000 votes.

In other words, some 6,000 more Iowans came out on caucus night to support our candidacy than the candidacy of any other candidate.

And when 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your next nearest opponent, we call that a victory.

In a contest with voter turnout of approximately 180,000, and with eight strong candidates competing, a victory margin of some 6,000 is decisive.

Further, in Iowa there is a realignment process whereby people who supported a candidate with less than 15% in the room can cast a vote in a second round for a different candidate. In that post-realignment vote we are ahead by over 2,500 votes.

And the reason that happened is because of the unprecedented grassroots effort of our campaign.

Thousands of volunteers knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors in the cold and snow. And I want to thank each and every volunteer who participated in that effort, and to thank all of our grassroots campaign contributors whose financial support made that victory possible.

And now that Iowa is finally behind us, let me take this opportunity to thank the thousands of volunteers we have here in New Hampshire who are working so hard to bring us to victory. They are knocking on doors, they are making phone calls, they are doing all the things that lead to a winning campaign.

But I need your help if we are to finish the job, win in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, and take our victories into Super Tuesday.

Can you make a $2.70 contribution to our campaign today to help us win in New Hampshire, win this primary, and defeat Donald Trump — the most dangerous president in modern American history?

Now as everyone knows, the Iowa process is enormously complicated. In my view, far too complicated.

As it stands right now either myself or Mr. Buttigieg will end with a tiny fraction of an advantage in the State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs).

Given the remaining precincts outstanding, and mathematical errors which we are discovering in the data, we could well end up with more SDEs. But this difference, no matter who inches ahead in the end, is meaningless because we are both likely to receive the same number of national delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

So now we are in New Hampshire, where we are fighting hard to win. As in Iowa, we have thousands of volunteers working hard which is precisely what the political revolution is all about.

Thank you so much for your support, let’s go forward together.

Bernie Sanders

Again, by the metric that the national party uses to decide how many delegates a candidate gets to put toward their nomination, Pete Buttigieg was declared the winner. Sanders even acknowledged in this email that the “very strong win” is effectively a tie.

I don’t know in which universe the best known Senator in the world tying with the former mayor of the 305th largest city in the U.S. counts as a strong win for the Senator, but if that’s the way Sanders wants to play it…

Buttigieg certainly capitalized on his victory, sending out email after email pointing to the results at the end of the night:

That is some good branding.

In addition to the pretty GIFs and graphics, Buttigieg laid out the argument for why he won: a broad coalition of support.

Quotes here can’t do bullet lists.

If you combine those two lists, Buttigieg is first or second regardless of male/female, age between 17-64, whether or not you graduated college, Democrats/Independents, Liberals/Moderates, suburban/urban/rural, and the top three issues other than beating Trump. I believe I also read that he came in second for voters of color.

Is there any category not covered broadly there?

While Buttigieg’s campaign celebrated, and Buttigieg himself congratulated Sanders on his performance during the CNN Town Hall, the other campaigns retreated to lick their wounds (except Sanders, who continued to insist he was the winner based on the popular vote [which, notably, Buttigieg said he would do the Sunday before the caucus, despite that not being how the scoring worked.])

Joe Biden sent the best email of them all, taking a loss with dignity and determination. This was the email he needed to send on Tuesday.

I get to travel a lot these days. Less on the train than I would like. But everywhere I go, I meet people who tell me that they’ve given 5 or 10 bucks to our campaign, or that they’ve volunteered for us. These people are the heart of our operation, and if you’re getting this email, you’re the heart of it, too.

I want to thank you personally for everything you’ve done for me and my family over the past nine months. And I wanted to share with you some thoughts about where we are as a campaign, and where we’re going to go now.

Monday night didn’t go the way we wanted. I said this yesterday: it was a punch to the gut.

But it wasn’t a knockout.

Growing up, my Dad had no patience for self-pity. He’d never judge a man or woman by how far they fell down, but instead by how quickly they got up. He always had a simple mantra: “Get up.”

Well, we’ve got to get up.

There are a lot of folks who want to write off this campaign already. Hell, they’ve been trying to do it from the moment I announced. Well — I’ve got news for all of them. We’re not going anywhere.

We’re going to fight for this nomination. We’re going to fight for it in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. We’re going to fight for it on Super Tuesday and beyond.

I have said from the moment I announced that we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation. I believe that even more today.

When I say that, sometimes people misunderstand. I’m not being nostalgic. I’m not trying to take America back to some period that never existed. We all know the animating promise of this nation — that all men and women are created equal — has never been fulfilled.

The soul of this nation wasn’t forged by Wall Street. It was forged by hard working people, looking for a chance. It was forged by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It was forged by people like you — the people standing with me to power this campaign.

When there are people who have been diagnosed with cancer, staring at the ceiling, wondering how they’re going to pay for it, that promise hasn’t been fulfilled.

When a 50 year old who just lost their job feels like they have no options, that promise hasn’t been fulfilled.

When a recent college graduate looks at their first loan bill and wonders how they’re possibly going to make ends meet, that promise hasn’t been fulfilled.

And when a little kid wakes up in the morning, afraid to go to school because of their religion, or because of their immigration status, or because of the color of their skin, or because of a disability, that promise hasn’t been fulfilled.

A couple of days ago, I was walking down the rope line at one of my town halls, and there was a little boy there. He had a familiar anxiety on his face. It was the anxiety of a kid with a stutter, something I struggled to overcome when I was a kid too. I saw the fear in that kid’s eyes. I saw how people had put him down. Counted him out. Stigmatized him. Set an arbitrary cap on what he could contribute to this world.

I saw how he felt. I knew how he felt.

I’m going to be a President for everyone who’s been written off. For every underdog, every fighter, every striver. I’m going to be a President for everyone staring at that proverbial ceiling, hoping against hope that they’ll get their chance, too.

But first, we need to show the world what we’re made of. We’ve got to get up. We’ve got to fight. And with you beside me, I know we will.

Keep the faith, and I’ll see you out there,


PS: These campaigns are expensive affairs. And grassroots donations are a real measure of strength and success. So if you could chip in $5 today, I’d really appreciate that.

Joe Biden

The man who wrote that email? I could see him as President.

However, that was not how Biden responded to a loss. He responded by saying it wasn’t a loss. Saying he was surging and had a strong finish. His surrogates were on the news implying that maybe the results couldn’t be trusted. And all of that out-of-touch-with-reality posturing means that this email is undercut at its very root. He took a loss, and he took four days to get over it enough to be honest with us.

In contrast to the Iowa chatter, Tom Steyer laid out some education policy, and Tulsi Gabbard

Well, Gabbard nearly doubled the amount of emails she sent me on her policy positions with an email to my donor and my non-donor account laying out how she was going to fix our broken democracy. Except… her way to fix it was to get her petition signed and sent to the DNC to make them make the changes.

DNC: Make Every Vote Count Graphic
Her petition.

Running through her list:

  • Open primaries: This is up to the individual state governments.
  • Same-day registration: This is up to the individual state governments (primaries) or state parties (caucuses).
  • Paper Ballots: This is up to the individual state governments (primaries) or state parties (caucuses).
  • Ranked-choice voting: This is up to the individual state governments.
  • Automatic Voter Registration: This is up to the individual state governments. Maybe federal.
  • Make Election Day a Federal Holiday: This is up to the federal government.

NONE of Gabbard’s demands to make elections fairer (and yes, they are mostly good demands to make elections fairer) are at all in the hands of the DNC. None of them. Most of them aren’t even up to the state parties (except in caucus states). However, Gabbard is able to send this position to the DNC, have the DNC completely ignore or reject it, and then throw another tantrum about how corrupt the DNC is in not listening to people. Like Andrew Yang’s attack on the DNC for not commissioning polls, this is not actually a functional way to generate change and is instead a carefully orchestrated stunt to drum up outrage (and therefore donations) from their base.

That makes it very ironic, then, that she opened this email with a statement of how she’s a fixer.

When I see that something is broken, I don’t just want to point it out, I want to fix it. It’s why I’m running for President, it’s why I am working for bold reform — to our failed foreign policy, to the establishment status quo — regardless of what party or person is in power. 

The debacle that was Iowa demonstrated some of the ways our Democratic primary process is broken, and we urgently need to fix it.

It’s not good enough to analyze “what went wrong” post election; we need to make it right, now. We must restore trust with the American people, and we must reform our electoral system so EVERY American can be confident their voice is heard, their vote is counted, and that one person = one vote. 

This is why I’m asking you to join me today in calling on the DNC to institute reforms that make Every Vote Count:

Tulsi Gabbard

It scares me, sometimes, how many of these political emails imply that the reader doesn’t actually have a grasp of how governments work.

We need to fix our education system. Fast.

One email separates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren.

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