Day 410: 7/3/20

Third day of the month, and I’m back to being upset over Joe Biden’s emails. What else is new?


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.

And we’re back to normal.

Joe Biden sent 3 emails to each of my accounts on Friday.

Not quite the olive.

2 of those emails were asking for money, while the third was reminding me that you know what? Biden still hasn’t seen my Summer Survey results. My input is important, you know, so if I could take a few minutes to fill that out, it would be greatly helpful.

There’s my good friend Fundraising.

Other than that survey email, the other two messages were back to typical fundraising.

Barbra Streisand emailed to talk to me about her history as a civil rights activist, her disgust over Trump, and how we need a leader like Joe Biden in the White House. However, her email did not include a photo of herself, nor did it have the P.S. that Barbra really truly genuinely wrote that email like all of Carole King’s emails have. How do I know if Barbra really wrote it without a P.S. reassuring me!?

The other email was written by our good old friend, Elana Firsht, who runs Biden’s email campaign and is the genius behind the crap that ends up in our inbox. Just as Biden’s newsletters mash together all of the current events that actually matter to Americans into one bi-weekly email so none of the others have to focus on any of that mushy feel-good stuff like how we’re coming together and wearing masks or celebrating SCOTUS victories, this email mashed together so many political email tropes.

We start with the subject, which forsakes proper capitalization to look hip with the kids as opposed to presidential. The subject apologizes for emailing me at 4:28 PM on a Friday afternoon and tells me that this is a must-read email.

Elana tells me who it is in the first line, because this makes it more personable. She then implores me to believe her with the snake oil salesman cry of “trust me, I know…” which has become absolutely poison in the era of Donald Trump. We’ve gone from joking about how untrustworthy politicians are to understanding that the moment a politician (such as Trump) says “trust me,” or “believe me,” we know the very next words are a complete load of bullshit.

She continues on to ask me to give her a chance to explain why she’s going to ask me for money. Ah, that good old “before I ask you for money, let me ask you to let me explain that I’m going to ask you for money” chestnut. There is no political campaign these days that can’t find a use for this rhetoric in one way or another.

My advice: drop it. We know you’re going to ask for money. Just ask. Don’t do this word salad to try to butter me up. It’s an email, not an school paper. You don’t have to hit a specific word count.

Regardless, this email is going to be packing a hefty explanation, Elana says. Trust her, it will definitely be one I want to read.

…the explanation is that Trump is spending a lot of money on ads in key battleground states this fall, and we need to do the same thing.

This is news? This is surprising? This is a must-read explanation of why you’re asking for money? If I would have hazarded a guess before you explained, it probably would have been “ads are expensive, we need money.” That’s always the go-to answer with this campaign team. Ads. And Trump. I should have guessed the Trump bit too.

Oh, and now here’s the ask. Chip in $5 so they can finalize their fall ads budget. Nice to see that they’re using blue buttons instead of Biden’s usual red. It makes his emails visually different from Trump’s, at least, and puts it more on track with Democratic branding.

Now here we’re being buttered up a little bit. It’s not just Biden’s campaign, it’s ours. Donating now will help secure votes.

(Note that it’s important for my money to work to securing votes, but it is not important for Elana, who is being paid by the campaign, to write emails that are working to secure votes.)

Oh, and look at this at the end! “I already told the team you’d donate, so… let’s go.” Little drop of guilt-tripping to sweeten the temptation if you’ve read that far and didn’t click those big blue buttons.

I severely dislike you, Elana Firsht, Online Fundraising Director, Biden for President. And you’ve never included your headshot with your signature.

And of course, we can’t forget this entire friggin email that Biden includes in the disclaimer section of his emails now. He’s moved his “pandemic pause” down below the line. And look at that paragraph below the red donate button: isn’t that basically exactly the email they just sent, without mentioning ads or Trump?

Unfortunately, whatever I say or do doesn’t matter. Emails like this get results, because emails like this are exactly what people who get political emails expect to read. They don’t hold out hope for anything better. These emails just trigger a reminder that “Oh, yeah, gotta vote out Trump. Here you go, Biden, here’s a donation.”

Maybe I should fill out that Summer Survey.

Maybe there’s actually a chance to express my concerns there.

If you submit a question to Biden’s newsletter, you can include a message to be passed along to Biden. Maybe if enough of us ask him about his emails, he’ll think about them.

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