Debate 11

In twenty minutes from this post going live, the eleventh Democratic Presidential debates will begin on CBS. I’ll try to be live-tweeting and let you know if anyone is emailing during the debates.

We have only 2 candidates left, so I’ll be comparing their word usage in their March emails.

Last debate, I talked about the negativity in campaign emails and where it was directed at. Rather than rehashing that post (as it’s the most obvious difference between the remaining debaters), I decided to check out their most commonly used words in their March emails.

I removed his own name.

Joe Biden talks about the presidency the most: that makes sense, this is a presidential campaign. He also talks about the campaign a lot: again, it’s a campaign.

There’s actually not a lot surprising in Biden’s top twenty words: he talks about Trump a lot, about Super Tuesday and other Tuesdays when voting occurs, chipping in, gaining the nomination, and having momentum.

One of these words is used more than the rest.

Interestingly, while Bernie Sanders has a lot of similar words: campaign, contribute, super, etc., he uses campaign a lot more frequently than Biden. Trump made it into his top twenty words, but only barely, instead of being near the top like Biden has him. And Sanders has actually mentioned Biden enough to make him appear in the top twenty as well.

Sanders is number 72 in Joe Biden’s word list.

I then polled Twitter to find out which words I should compare and added some of my own to the list.

Number of uses in March divided by number of emails sent in March

Bernie Sanders sent 43 emails in March so far, compared to Joe Biden’s 66, so the word count alone wouldn’t be enough to differentiate the two. By virtue of sending more emails, Biden should have used words more. I tried to get a rough frequency by dividing the count of times they used a word by the number of emails sent, so 65% of Sanders’ emails mentioned Trump, while Biden’s emails mentioned Trump more than once per email.

Now, this calculation is very rough: Biden sent some emails without mentioning Trump at all, and some emails mentioning Trump more than twice. It’s meant more to show relative usage per candidate than anything concrete.

As you can see, Sanders uses coronavirus more than Biden, whereas Biden uses Covid-19 more than Sanders. Biden uses Trump’s name much more than Sanders does, but Sanders uses Biden much more than Biden uses Sanders. They’re roughly equal on words like together and unity, though Sanders prefers to use “establishment” while Biden uses “Democratic.”

In short, Biden’s emails focused more on the end game, fighting Trump, while Sanders focused on the present, fighting Biden. Biden tended toward the actual words for things (Democratic, Covid), while Sanders focused on more generic terms or negative terms (establishment, coronavirus).

Let’s just say that I’m not surprised that Biden used the word Momentum 40 times, while Sanders only used it 4.

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