Today is a tale of two emails. Both of them moved me to emotions, one positive, one negative.
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.
Once again, Joe Biden sent 3 emails to Bernie Sanders’ single email.
Bernie Sanders asked me to donate to some more charities, while Joe Biden had a variety of asks. He asked for money, as usual, he asked me to fill out his survey on policy priorities, and he invited me to attend some of his virtual events or watch a video on how the US needs to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
One of Joe Biden’s emails was repeating an old “I know Joe” email about a funeral he had attended. A woman who had only managed to donate $18 to Biden’s very first campaign had continued to give him $18 for every campaign he ran in. When she passed away, Biden turned up to the shiva minyan (a worship service following the death of a Jewish person) even though it was only 10 people and held in the communal laundry room of her senior housing’s rent-controlled high-rise. He stood quietly in the back, just there to show his respect.
The email had been very touching the first time I read it, and it was touching again as I reread it. I understand why he repeated it: there are thousands of people new to his campaign who may not have read it. If you haven’t, but you are considering supporting Biden, I encourage you to read the email, which I have copied below the final chart here.
Other than that, both Biden and Sanders talked about the coronavirus. Sanders managed to send an absolutely self-inflated message of how HE was solely responsible for all the good things in the latest stimulus package and the Republicans were against it… and in four pages of summary of what the bill included, he didn’t mention the word “Democrat” even once.
Direct support to working families. Republicans did not want to provide direct payments to low-income workers. I pushed back and now $250 billion will go out in one-time checks of $1,200 for adults and $500 per child for low-income and middle-income families. Let me be very honest: I wanted much more and was fighting for every American to receive $2,000 per month for the duration of this crisis. This bill does not go far enough, but it was the agreement we were able to reach with Republicans.Bernie Sanders
Remember the Republican White House calling for stimulus checks? Or Mitt Romney calling for $1,000 checks? Or how about Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, and Sherrod Brown fighting for bigger checks? In fact, in that last article linked, Sanders wasn’t mentioned as fighting for these checks at all (though he did co-sponsor the “Bennet-Booker-Brown” bill).
And yet, if you only got your news from Sanders’ email, this push was not a bipartisan effort that was only squabbling over how much to give, but Sanders standing alone against the evil Republicans who didn’t want to help Americans at all.
Sanders is totally that kid in the group project who didn’t do any of the work, came in at the last minute to tell you how you did everything wrong, and then told the teacher it was all his ideas and he should get the full credit.
Let me begin by stating that this bill is obviously not the bill that I, or the progressive community, would have written. There is much in it that I dislike very much and, equally important, there is much that is NOT in it that should be.Bernie Sanders
No, seriously, we all know that kid. Explain to me how Sanders isn’t that jerk. Like, look at this point:
Invest in community health centers. As part of this bill, Congress will invest $1.3 billion for health centers in underserved communities during this critical moment. I fought to make community health care centers a key part of the Affordable Care Act, and am glad that more funding will be included in this latest coronavirus bill.Bernie Sanders
The ACA was ten years ago. Biden recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its passing (Sanders didn’t comment on it at all). Sanders is taking credit for something he may have done ten years ago (or maybe not, with how much he’s taking credit for today), and trying to pass it off as something he did just recently to fight the coronavirus crisis. “I fought for it ten years ago. I’m glad other people are fighting for it today.”
A true leader gives credit to the team when there is success, and shoulders responsibility when there is failure. Sanders, like Trump, is doing exactly the opposite.
Email from Joe Biden’s campaign
This is an email from the “I Know Joe Biden” email series.
Please, take the time to read below and get to know Joe Biden. And once you’re done reading, can you chip in to send him back to the White House to represent us? Chip in to elect Joe Biden here »
The story I’m about to share with you about Joe Biden is special — in fact, I’m fairly certain I’m the only living person left who actually witnessed it firsthand.
It was about 16 years ago, and I was a young rabbi, brand-new to Delaware, on my way to lead a shiva minyan — a worship service following a death of a Jewish person. I was from California. Back then, I didn’t know Claymont, Delaware from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
A quick bit of background: When someone passes away in the Jewish faith, we observe seven days of mourning, called shiva. We gather a group of ten Jewish adults together — a minyan — to say the Mourners’ Kaddish. It usually happens in a person’s home — somewhere intimate.
In this case, the deceased individual — her name was Mrs. Greenhouse, of blessed memory — had not been a person of means. She had lived in rent-controlled senior housing in a tall high-rise building off of Namaans Road. Her apartment had been too small to fit everyone into, so we conducted our worship service in the building’s communal laundry room, in the basement of the high-rise.
We assembled the ten elders together, and it was in this most humble of places that I began to lead the kaddish. Toward the end of the service, a door at the back of the laundry room opened, and who walks in but Senator Joe Biden, his head lowered, all by himself.
I nearly dropped my prayer book in shock.
Senator Biden stood quietly in the back of the room for the duration of the service.
At the close of the kaddish, I walked over to him and asked the same question that must have been on everyone else’s mind: “Senator Biden — what are you doing here?”
And he said to me: “Listen, back in 1972, when I first ran for Senate, Mrs. Greenhouse gave $18 to my first campaign. Because that’s what she could afford. And every six years, when I’d run for reelection, she’d give another $18. She did it her whole life. I’m here to show my respect and gratitude.”
Now, the number 18 is significant in the Jewish faith — its numbers spell out the Hebrew word chai, as in “to life, to life, l’chayim!” But it’s also a humble amount. Joe Biden knew that. And he respected that.
There were no news outlets at our service that day — no Jewish reporters or important dignitaries. Just a few elderly mourners in a basement laundry room.
Joe Biden didn’t come to that service for political gain. He came to that service because he has character. He came to that service because he’s a mensch.
And if we need anything right now when it comes to the leadership of our country — we need a mensch.
I know this is such a simple, small story. But I tell it to as many people as will listen to me.
Because I think that, in their heart of hearts, when people are trying to think about the decision they’ll make this year — this is the kind of story that matters.
Joe Biden is a mensch. We need a mensch.
Thanks for reading.Rabbi Michael Beals of Delaware
Email from Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the coronavirus stimulus package that passed the Senate late last night, and share a few words about what we should be learning from this crisis.
Before I do that, very quickly I wanted to let you know we added five new charities that are working on the front lines of this pandemic. If you’re able to, please make a $10 contribution to these five new coronavirus charities now.
Let me begin by stating that this bill is obviously not the bill that I, or the progressive community, would have written. There is much in it that I dislike very much and, equally important, there is much that is NOT in it that should be.
Now is the time to think big and prioritize working families — not corporations. Excluding low-income families from the bailout isn’t going to cut it. We must make working people whole.
Below are a few of the positive provisions included in the bill:
$2 trillion in emergency funding. I was the first person to call for at least $2 trillion in spending, recognizing the crisis we face is on the scale of a major war, and we must act accordingly.
Boost unemployment benefits. This moment requires a massive investment in unemployment insurance that includes ALL workers. The bill provides the largest expansion of unemployment benefits in U.S. history – an increase of over $250 billion – and provides benefits to gig workers and independent contractors historically excluded from unemployment insurance.
Direct support to working families. Republicans did not want to provide direct payments to low-income workers. I pushed back and now $250 billion will go out in one-time checks of $1,200 for adults and $500 per child for low-income and middle-income families. Let me be very honest: I wanted much more and was fighting for every American to receive $2,000 per month for the duration of this crisis. This bill does not go far enough, but it was the agreement we were able to reach with Republicans.
Support for workers at small businesses. When we fail small businesses, we fail the country. We must support small businesses, not just giant corporations, to protect their workers. Now, the bill will forgive billions in small businesses’ loans if they don’t lay off workers.
Invest in community health centers. As part of this bill, Congress will invest $1.3 billion for health centers in underserved communities during this critical moment. I fought to make community health care centers a key part of the Affordable Care Act, and am glad that more funding will be included in this latest coronavirus bill.
Supporting cities on the frontlines. $150 billion will be provided to states and cities that are in desperate need of a cash infusion to respond to the crisis. I have spent many hours consulting with local doctors and elected officials, and made clear to Congress that local governments across the country have been spending down their savings to meet the crisis head on, and must be supported by Washington before they get under water.
Protecting the jobs and wages of airline workers. After working alongside leaders like Sara Nelson, the President of the Association of Flight Attendants, I made sure Congress didn’t pass a blank check to airlines, but instead protected the wages of airline workers.
Telling Trump to act now: I led the charge in calling for Trump to act immediately and use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of personal protective equipment. The final agreement has over $1 billion for Trump to direct to manufacture critical equipment including masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators.
There are other things not included in the final bill that should have been. While coronavirus testing will be free, Republicans unfortunately would not agree to make treatment free as well. Therefore the bill does nothing to protect patients from receiving massive bills for getting the treatment they need.
Doctors and nurses are on the front lines putting themselves at risk while working to do everything possible to keep the American people healthy. But they are not the only people in danger. People who are working in grocery stores and drug stores, other hospital workers, police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers are also putting their lives on the line to protect us.
For weeks, we have been fighting against the original Republican proposal that put corporations before people. This Senate bill is a step forward, but there is still much work to be done to help those struggling in this economic and health care crisis.
So far supporters of our campaign have contributed more than $3.5 million directly to charities on the front lines of the pandemic.
Today we are announcing several new charities that need your help.
The new charities include The Workers Fund providing direct aid to gig and low-earning contract workers, the National Bail Fund Network’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund providing direct aid to organizations working among the crisis to free individuals in jails and immigration detention centers, Rent Zero Tenant Organizing Fund supporting tenants across the country to organize and win demands for eviction moratorium and no rents during the crisis and recovery, Amazonians United Mutual Aid Fund organizing a mutual aid fund for Amazon warehouse workers, and CERF+ COVID-19 Response Fund providing a safety net and disaster aid for artists and artisans during the crisis.
We understand if you cannot afford to contribute right now. But if you can afford it, I would like to ask:
In this frightening and dangerous moment in American history, as we do everything possible to address this crisis, it is also appropriate to ask ourselves how we got here and what this says about the financial and economic structure of the country.
I suspect that right now, all across this country, people are asking themselves how is it that, in the richest country in the history of the world, doctors and nurses are facing a shortage of the masks and gloves they need to protect themselves?
How does it happen that we don’t have the necessary ventilators that we need in this crisis, or the ICU units, or even the emergency beds?
People are understanding that there is something wrong when we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all as a human right.
As we think about the moment we are in, how does it happen that so many people are living in economic desperation and are frightened about what the next few weeks or months will bring?
How does it happen that so many of our people are working jobs that do not allow them to save any money in the bank?
There are tens of millions of Americans who are hurting and who are frightened. People who need our help right now.
We are facing an unprecedented crisis which means it is more important than ever that we are in this together.
We can get through this. We can have the courage to take on this crisis. We can provide relief to millions of Americans and minimize the pain caused by the pandemic.
Let us go forward together.
In solidarity,Bernie Sanders