Day 277: 2/21/20

As of the time of this writing, the Nevada caucus has not even happened. Check back tomorrow for results… if we have them. Or follow my Twitter for more timely results.

Friday was a day of asking for volunteers, but also of asking for money. It was also a day of surprisingly good emails, as both Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg wrote emails that nearly triggered me to donate.


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.

It’s the day before a caucus, and all through the inbox…

Pete Buttigieg slammed my inbox with another 9-email day, head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Combined, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren would just manage to edge him out, sending 5 emails each. Joe Biden’s email energy has lagged, dropping down to only 4 emails.

That’s a lot of blue

With the caucus came an impressive surge in volunteer asks. Surprisingly, they all came from only 3 candidates.

After typing that line, I realized that three candidates is nearly half the Democratic field at this point. It seems like only yesterday we had twenty.

Anyway, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Mike Bloomberg were all asking for volunteers.

Bloomberg’s ask was simply for me to participate in his weekend of action. It would be nice if I showed up, he said.

Elizabeth Warren asked me to get out the vote in Michigan, and she asked me to commit to calling Nevada for her.

Pete Buttigieg also asked for Nevada calls, but he was sending me some Grassroots Fundraising Team emails asking me to share information with my network of friends and family or ask them to donate. He’d give me sample texts, information about upcoming events, and he even issued a contest for members of the GFT only–get 50 new donors to donate to Buttigieg using my link, and I could be entered in a contest to meet him in Chicago.

So, you know, just saying… if you haven’t donated to Buttigieg… drop him a dollar through my link? As an added bonus, I tied my link to his still ongoing Pizza with Pete contest, so you could win a chance to meet Buttigieg yourself.

Only 2 contest emails

Buttigieg was still the only candidate holding contests. The debate chatter has mostly died away, though Amy Klobuchar is still talking about her post-debate fund. Candidates are more interested in talking about Nevada, what they need to succeed in Nevada (money), what ads they can air in Nevada (or Super Tuesday), and what I can do to help them win in Nevada. Despite it being the evening before Nevada, Joe Biden let me know that just $80,000 more could really help him improve his ground game for a last-minute surge in Nevada.

Biden also let me know that my average donation to his campaign has been $5, so I should donate another $5. Trouble is, I know my average donation to his campaign is actually $3–I donated the $1 for the blog account, and then I accidentally clicked an auto-donate button and gave him another $5 that I didn’t bother to get refunded.

Biden’s been trying to get another $5 out of me for a long time.

Bernie Sanders is also trying to get $5 out of me. His usual ask of $2.70 has increased in his donor emails to an even $5. I wonder if that has any indication of his current fundraising numbers, or if it’s just a normal thing to happen with Super Tuesday around the corner. Regardless, he started off the day complaining about how the airwaves are just FULL of other people’s ads (how dare other campaigns and interest groups be advertising, sometimes even against Sanders, in a state about to vote!). However, his final email of the night was one I actually quite liked. In fact, if I actually liked Sanders, it probably would have gotten me to donate.


I know it doesn’t seem like the kind of money that can win an election — especially when running against multiple billionaires and six super PACs spending money to beat us.

But there is a lot of power in that $5.

Because moments ago, someone you don’t know and may never meet gave $5 because they believe in Bernie Sanders and they believe that someone else — someone like you — will do the same right after them.

That’s how we fund this campaign. That’s how we win. And because today is the last day for us to pay for the full final week of advertising in Super Tuesday states, it is critical that we ask:

Can you make one more $5 contribution to our campaign today? We need it if we are going to do well on Super Tuesday.

The $1 you have contributed so far has put us in a great position so far. But it is the $5 you donate today that could win the nomination for Bernie Sanders.

Thank you. For everything.

Faiz Shakir, Campaign Manager, Bernie 2020

This email wasn’t really attacking anyone. It was talking about the power of a group of people all making a small action and building it into something huge. That speaks to me as the promise of America and what it’s all about. Not attacking or hating or being hated, but letting everyone work together.

It’s notable that this first email of Sanders’ that I really liked is one that speaks of inclusion and not exclusion, like so many of his other emails. It speaks of hope, not hate.

It’s almost like there’s some truth to the saying that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Tulsi Gabbard could stand to learn that lesson, as she sent me an email with the subject “The UnDemocratic party?” and proceeded to tell me all the ways that the Democrats were corrupt and horrible and the election couldn’t be trusted.

Another email that would have moved me to donate was sent by Pete Buttigieg, though it was considerably longer than Sanders’.

Over the past few months, some of our opponents have been attacking us for accepting donations from millionaires and billionaires. Most recently, at the last debate, Senator Bernie Sanders condemned us for taking contributions from billionaires. 

That’s interesting. Because what that tells us is in the eyes of Bernie Sanders, the donations of 45 folks (that’s .0054% of our total donor base) are more important than the donations of nearly 1,000,000 grassroots supporters. That completely erases the work our grassroots donors have done for this campaign. 

We know your voice and your contributions matter. We’re in the fight of our lives up against Donald Trump and the GOP. We’re welcoming every voice that’s ready to come together and defeat Donald Trump — no matter how much you can afford to donate. 

But let me be clear: we are not taking billion-dollar donations from billionaires. The maximum individual contribution limit for a presidential primary campaign is $2,800. Our billionaire donors have contributed only .16% of our total money raised. 

And, as I’m sure you heard yesterday, we need to raise $13 million to fund our campaign through Super Tuesday. 

So yes, we’re taking donations. From everyone. Whether that’s $2.80, $28, $280, or $2,800 — it all makes a difference. This wouldn’t be an email from me if I didn’t ask: Can you step up right now and chip in any amount to help us hit our $13 million goal by March 3rd? 

I know that for most people, and most families — including Pete’s — $2,800 is a lot of money to invest in a candidate. But if you can afford to chip in $2,800, thank you. And to those who can afford to chip in $1, thank you. 

Because to beat not just Trump, but Trumpism, too, we need a nominee who won’t go into this fight of our lives with one hand tied behind their back. We need a nominee who is going to galvanize Americans, not polarize them. We need a nominee who will welcome Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to the cause.

Our movement has always been about inclusion — and the argument our competitors are throwing at us speaks more to what their movements are about than ours. Inclusion isn’t a tactic to deploy, it’s something that’s necessary in the fight against Donald Trump. He and his movement are an existential threat to our country and our democracy — and he’s raised over $500 million this cycle. We can’t keep playing games. 

We are the best shot at defeating Donald Trump. But the reality is, if we can’t raise $13 million before Super Tuesday, we might never get that shot.

We can’t afford to fall behind — not in a race this tight, and not when our opponents are self-funding billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Washington political machines like Bernie Sanders with Super PACs and dark money groups behind him. 

If you believe we shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out, please help us raise $13 million before Super Tuesday so we can stay competitive in this race.

Hari Sevugan, Deputy Campaign Manager, Pete for America

But wait a minute, I was just talking about how I liked Sanders’ message of hope and inclusion, and here’s Buttigieg sending an email that’s specifically calling out Sanders (and yes, was counted as negative toward other Democrats).

The difference is that Buttigieg has consistently preached inclusion in his emails, and this email is expressing frustration over Sanders being exclusive and insulting toward the inclusion. It is also one of the first times Buttigieg responded directly to what other candidates were up to in an email. His emails usually have a focus on how he can improve my life/America instead of what someone else is up to.

I’ve been through the FEC filings a lot recently, and Buttigieg’s math checks out (unlike Biden’s earlier). The billionaire donors that Sanders keeps focusing on are barely a drop in Buttigieg’s overwhelming fundraising. They aren’t giving billions, as has frequently been implied, but the same $2,800 that you or I can donate.

And really, I keep marveling at the consistency of Buttigieg’s message and his ability to get so many billionaires on his side. Imagine two warring countries. Would you rather have a leader that says “I will bomb you until you give up your nukes” or one that diplomatically convinces the other country that disarming would be better for the world as a whole?

I know which one I’d view as a better leader.

Will Nevada trigger some drops?

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