At 11:26 PM on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator from Colorado, officially suspended his campaign for President. I honestly thought he’d at least make it until the 12th.
In the past 266 days, Michael sent me 512 non-donor emails and 439 donor emails for a total of 951 emails. That averaged out to just under 2 emails a day.
Michael’s emails tracked along with most emails, slow on Sundays and Mondays and picking up toward the end of the week.
Michael’s emails came quite steadily over the past year, rarely fewer than twice a day. By the end, he had really pushed his limits, though most of his emails were apologizing for emailing so late or just repeating an earlier email he had sent.
Michael’s calm carried over to his tone. He rarely got overly excited or overly negative, keeping his emails on a fairly even tone.
Until James Carville, the Ragin’ Cajun endorsed him.
Carville’s emails were full of shouting, DEMOCRATS, WHY AREN’T YOU STEPPING UP!? TRUMP’S DONORS ARE DONATING, YOU NEED TO TOO! They were such a drastic tone shift from Michael’s calm demeanor that they actually had me cowering away from my screen at times, grumbling not to yell at me. Just because I wasn’t donating to Michael didn’t mean I wasn’t stepping up for Democrats.
Michael’s emails mainly circled around raising money. His campaign was perpetually in need of hitting an ambitious goal… but I don’t think his ambitious goals ever reached a full million dollars. He struggled to gain traction, making the first couple debates and then no more. Michael’s sell of “I’ll be a boring President who gets my work done and you don’t have to think about” was attractive but, well, boring.
Michael did try to shake things up with his email asks, offering me clips of interviews to watch or petitions to sign to back his policies. He pushed his “The Real Deal” agenda, a comprehensive policy package to end child poverty and fix healthcare and the climate, but again, he failed to sell it with much pizzazz. He talked about being a former superintendent of a school district with a bigger budget than the entire city of South Bend, trying desperately to connect with the crowd that found Mayor Pete inspiring, but failing to understand that big budgets weren’t what drew voters.
The best moments Michael had were when he referenced his viral speech on the Senate floor, in which he lambasted fellow Senator Ted Cruz for his “crocodile tears.” This was the first time I’d ever heard of Michael myself, and I was moved by the passion with which he spoke and defended the people he had been elected to represent.
Unfortunately, Michael squandered that good will when he failed to qualify for debate after debate and began accusing the DNC of unfairly rigging it against him. He was missing out on the donor threshold.
Rather than take stock of his campaign and figure out where he was going wrong in connecting with people, Michael doubled down on his criticism of the DNC. The more he insulted the party, the less I cared to hear from him. He was the second-most critical of the Republican party, after Joe Biden, but his criticisms of his fellow Senators were drowned out by his upset at his own party.
Ultimately, there wasn’t too much to say about Michael. He didn’t push much merch, he didn’t get overly creative in his emails, and he didn’t stand out of the crowd very much. I have the highest respect for him deciding to jump into the Presidential race after kicking cancer in the butt, but this was not his year, and it was good that he recognized it and bowed out when he did.
Thank you for your run, Michael, and for elevating the issues of child poverty and early child education.