Day 343: 4/27/20

There was another major endorsement on Monday for Joe Biden!


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.

Major endorsement = Email spike

With an endorsement from Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden sent out a total of 4 emails on Monday.

I was really torn

I usually call endorsement emails “Campaign Events,” but Pelosi’s email was so overtly fundraising-focused that I just couldn’t. She barely touched on her endorsement at all, dedicating the bulk of her message to how Biden needed 100,000 donations by the end of the month, and she was proud to support him so she hoped I would support him by donating too.

Neat split

In fact, the bulk of Biden’s emails were focused on that new 100,000 donors by the end of the month goal. He outraised Trump by $30 million in the month of March, but still has a long way to go to catch up to his $70 million head start (my mental math says that at their current rates, Biden will close the gap in just three months).

Except… this is the problem with political emails. It’s the reason I did a political email purge from my inbox years ago, and I suspect it’s the reason many of you hate them.

Biden’s emails were all about getting more money than Trump, with the implication that he who has the most money wins.

Yes, money is necessary to run an election. But, as Joe Biden’s own campaign is an example of, most money does NOT mean winner. Biden was outspent and outraised by every one of his major competitors at various points in the primary. He managed to win some states without ever setting foot inside them.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself through this process: I donated to Pete Buttigieg pretty much non-stop. I had to make a special line in my budget for money I could throw at Pete whenever he did something that impressed me, in addition to the monthly donation I had set up.

I didn’t donate when Pete asked for money because he needed money. I donated when Pete talked about how he’d make life better, either for me or for someone else who desperately needed the government to step in and take a hand in proactively making their lives better. I donated when he talked about the future he was envisioning and how we would go about building it. I donated when his staff impressed me with something fantastic they had made, or a creative way to draw attention to the campaign. I donated to buy an award for my state’s volunteer organizer, who had been going above and beyond for the campaign, and I wanted to honor him with one of the rules of the road.

As long as the money wasn’t the end goal, I wanted to help. This wasn’t just true for Pete. I donated to Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker and Tim Ryan and Jay Inslee and Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren… when they did something that made me want to help advance their goals.

I want to save the post office. I don’t want to make sure Biden has more money than Trump.

I want to bolster historically disenfranchised communities. I don’t want to make sure Biden has flashier commercials than Trump.

I want immigrants to be treated humanely. I don’t want to help Biden make Trump be shocked by our fundraising numbers.

I think there’s an overwhelming agreement that money in politics is a bad thing. At the moment, it’s a necessary evil, because you can’t self-handicap when the other side is exploiting every loophole they can. But the focus can’t be the money.

The focus needs to be on us.

Two more emails before we’ve hit a thousand donor emails.

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