While the dust is settling after last night’s debate, it’s interesting to look back at what the candidates sent prior to the debate. Only Pete Buttigieg really gave an indication of how spicy the debate was going to be, with emails targeting Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg directly. Amy Klobuchar maintained her money-only email persona, while Joe Biden tried to reassure me that everything was still fine.
For all new readers: Welcome! I am currently on the mailing lists of 2 candidates for the Democratic Presidential Nomination! 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!
I signed up to all mailing lists either on May 21 or the day the candidate announced, whichever was later. Using a different email address, I have donated at least $1 to all candidates who have been on a debate stage (I have given additional donations to my preferred candidates through my personal email, but the campaigns have linked the two accounts together and may ask for more as a result).
When showing breakdowns by campaigns, there will usually be 2 numbers. Emails to my non-donor account will be indicated by a darker color/top bar in horizontal bar charts. Emails to my donor account will be indicated by a lighter color/bottom bar.
Unless otherwise specified, all other charts combine the donor and non-donor numbers, as they are roughly 1-for-1, so the percentages and relative differences don’t change much. You can divide the numbers in half to get the rough estimate for what someone not signed up twice would be receiving. The rules I try to follow for the various categories are laid out in The Framework.
If you want specific data on any particular day, feel free to drop a comment!
Well, it’s official. Mike Bloomberg made it to the debate stage, so I had to figure out how to donate to him.
I ended up buying some campaign buttons. Most of them will become cat toys.
Pete Buttigieg dominated the inbox with 9 emails in a single day, squeezing in the last emails of the night at 11:33 PM (I turned off my computer at 11:32 PM, figuring that was all I was going to get). Joe Biden came in second with 6 emails, and Elizabeth Warren was one behind, sending only 5 emails.
Six of the eight surviving candidates were on the debate stage Wednesday, night, and the other two wanted to make sure I knew they weren’t on the debate stage (though that backfired, because the most frequently asked question I got was “Is Tom Steyer on the debate stage?” (No.)) As a result, emails about the debates dominated the day.
I did get a welcome email from Mike Bloomberg after purchasing some buttons, so that was a rare topic being brought up. There was a lot of talk about what other candidates or polls were doing as well: Bernie Sanders really likes to remind me how many Super PACs are out there supporting everyone who isn’t him. (Daily reminder: Sanders is supported by NINE dark money groups.)
Pete Buttigieg brought up a memo that Bloomberg’s campaign released, one that effectively told three candidates who have acquired DNC delegates already (including the front runner) that they needed to drop out of the race so they didn’t take votes from Bloomberg. While he, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar were not amused, he was the only one who commented on it via email.
Bloomberg wasn’t the only thing he commented on. His deputy campaign manager sent this email about how supporters of Bernie Sanders drove a Buttigieg supporter off the internet.
Hi, there. It’s not Lis. It’s Hari. (I’ll explain below).
I’m writing because I’m exhausted by the toxic political tactics coming not just from Trump and his allies, but also from some in our own party. It has to stop.
Threatening those who don’t agree with you, trading in conspiracy theories, even taking a coffin to an event of a man who lost his son — these tactics don’t represent the values of the Democratic party. Yet this week, we’ve seen progressive activists employ them all. And as we’ve seen when the far right uses these tactics — they’re dangerous.
This election will decide — and may be our last chance to decide — if our country is defined by the same divisive and zero-sum politics practiced on Twitter or something that is more reflective of the common decency of the American people.
If you’re on the side of decency, hope, and a belief that we can be better than this, please consider making a donation to Pete right now. He is the candidate who leads by example, and whose supporters follow a set of guiding principles including respect, belonging, and truth.
Look, I respect Bernie Sanders. His passion and conviction have inspired so many. But our next president needs to understand that our country is at a crossroads. We can either retreat to our tribes or bring people together. Pete is demonstrating he can do that, while Bernie and his supporters are offering more of the same “my way or the highway” politics.
Just this past weekend, some of Bernie’s supporters convinced the internet that my friend and colleague, Lis, Pete’s senior communications advisor, was running a “sock puppet account” (I had to google this), posing as a Nigerian man. All because someone tweeted “Hey, it’s Lis” from their account. It, of course, wasn’t Lis. (Any “sock puppet account” of hers would surely be about cats.) For the record, the account was run by a gentleman named Chinedu who is genuinely a Pete supporter, just trying to do his small part to help lift up Pete’s positive vision.
But Bernie’s supporters jumped on this conspiracy theory, and turned the internet into a cesspool for the day. Meanwhile, Pete was in Nevada holding town halls, speaking at a Planned Parenthood event, and discussing the infrastructure of American cities. He was bringing people together over our shared values.
Uniting the country isn’t just something we need to do to feel good. The next president must unite the country to solve our problems. People are hurting, crises are on our doorstep, and we face massive tests. To meet our challenges, our leaders can either push people away or bring them together. That’s the choice in this election.
Rather than calling for revolution or accepting the status quo, I see the solution in the powerful new majority we’re gathering together. We need leadership that will galvanize that majority, not tear it apart.
This campaign is about rejecting the failed policies AND the toxic politics of the last four years. If you believe that too, we need your help.
I’m so proud of you, Team Pete. You are the best team in politics, and the way you are campaigning is hopeful, joyous, and disciplined. Thank you for representing us well every day. I am sorry that it’s like this. We can do better. We must do better.
Thank you,Hari Sevugan, Deputy Campaign Manager, Pete for America
It’s worth noting that the “Hey, it’s Lis” tweet was directly quoting an email from the Buttigieg campaign. It wasn’t some guy randomly pretending to be Lis Smith, it was a giggle over the informal opening of a message.
It’s also worth noting that despite my own obsession with cats on my Twitter, I am not Lis Smith (OR AM I?).
The Buttigieg campaign followed this email up with the one about Bloomberg’s memo, with the subject reading “Hey, it’s actually Lis.”
While Bloomberg’s welcome email asked me to tell him why I support him, all of the other candidates were still largely focused on fundraising. Tom Steyer gave a side-swipe at the DNC, saying that THEY might ignore voters voices, but he’s not, and he gave me a survey to fill out.
Elizabeth Warren has a new enamel pin for donors giving $25 or more.
I actually really like this pin. If it said Elizabeth, I might have even gotten it for my niece.
Tulsi Gabbard continued to whine about how the media was picking the winners and losers and was scared of her campaign, though she shook up her ask by asking for money only from me as a donor. Me as a non-donor, she just asked for the smaller step of signing a petition.
I did neither.
Joe Biden was reassuring me that people were rallying around him… they just weren’t giving him enough money, so he needed me to give him money. He pointed out that Trump is definitely scared of running against him, and he asked me to have faith in him and his campaign.
I’m not really sure if I do.
Finally, Amy Klobuchar just kept asking me to donate. Pre-debate goal, hey, she’s on the debate stage and making us proud goal, and post-debate goal were all mentioned in her emails.
I did have to laugh at all the post-debate emails, though. None of them referenced the absolute bloodbath the debate was. It had never been more obvious that they were all pre-written messages.