EDIT: This post was written when Trump’s emails were hiding in Spam. Here is the correct breakdown of this week’s emails.
There was a rough start to the emails, but things are starting to take off now.
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.
Over the past week, Joe Biden sent 22 emails while Donald Trump only managed 2/3rds of that, with 14.
Saturday was the busiest day, with 8 emails between the two candidates. Biden stayed fairly stable all week long, peaking on Wednesday and Thursday (halfway through the month, for the mid-month deadline of doom), but Trump has been a bit more erratic. He switched out his campaign manager and told me about it on Saturday, though, which also corresponded with nearly double the emails he had sent before.
Joe Biden also switched out his campaign manager mid-campaign, back in March (when it became apparent that Biden was almost certainly going to be the nominee). He went from Greg Schultz to Jen O’Malley Dillon, but he didn’t make an email announcement. Jen introduced herself in an email as the new campaign manager with no mention of Greg, and the campaign moved on.
Greg never compared the Biden campaign to the Death Star the way Brad Parscale did the Trump campaign…
The asks were across the board this week, because Biden sent a newsletter. However, it’s worth noting that when Biden asks for money, he asks for money. When Trump asks for money, he coaches it in terms of “MATCHED DONATION!” and “I WANT YOU AT MY SIDE (so enter a contest)” or “FREE MERCH WITH MINIMUM DONATION (of $75).”
There’s nothing wrong with gameifying donations (and it’s actually a very good way to get engagement up), but Trump isn’t really gameifying. He’s just guilt-ifying.
Biden got angry over Trump’s handling of the USPS.
Trump, on the other hand, started sounding pretty deranged in his hostility toward the other side.
Usually, though, Trump either guilt-trips his supporters (don’t let me down!) or empowers them (I’ve chosen YOU to represent your zip code! This is only for YOU!). That’s textbook abuse: falsely build people up and then belittle them for not doing enough.
Biden, on the other hand, is usually grateful that you’re reading his emails and hopeful of a better future and that Democrats will band together against Trump. I give him a lot of flak for his bad emails, but he has pointed out that a massive block of his new donors/mailing list members have come over from the Republican side. Biden’s emails seem weak to us, but imagine what they are like for someone accustomed to Trump’s messaging. “This guy… thanked me just for reading? He said he’d like me to donate but if I couldn’t, that’s okay? It’s enough just that I support him?”
Imagine the culture shock they must be feeling, to finally have someone who is treating them with respect and dignity.
Biden’s emails can be better, yes, but that’s because we’re already accustomed to being treated with dignity and respect. For the former Trump supporters signing on, they must read like a dream.
One thing former Republicans will be familiar with, however, is the frequent mention of Trump. In the 22 emails Biden sent this week, 15 of them mentioned or criticized Trump in some capacity. By comparison, Trump sent 14 emails, and only the most recent 2 (with new campaign manager) talked about Biden and praised Trump.
Biden is far more likely to compliment other Democrats and call them out for good actions, while Trump’s world is solely about him and bad Democrats. He has almost never talked about Biden directly in all the time I’ve been tracking him, though that may be starting to change.
Trump likes to sign off on his emails personally. They are always talking about how Trump is personally looking for MY name or wanting MY presence at his side. I get to win exclusive 500% donation match offers that are JUST FOR ME (and for everyone else who receives the email). There’s much more of an impression that Trump himself is invested in me personally from the Trump emails.
But… that’s actually a bad thing. Trump is supposed to be the president of the entire country. He’s supposed to be operating at such a high level of management that he shouldn’t have time to be invested in one single American. He should have the ability to delegate. And that’s something Biden’s emails demonstrate. Biden himself will frequently sign off on emails, but only about a quarter of them. He’ll write messages of hope and encouragement that are not specific to me, but are meant to uplift the entire country. He is taking care of the entire country on a macro level, as the leader of a country should. Biden doesn’t talk to me specifically because that is not his job. He is meant to be a role model I can look up to, not a personal cheerleader stroking my ego.
Both Biden and Trump have kept their major focus on fundraising, though Biden does talk about other things a little more than Trump does: Contest and Merch are both subsets of fundraising. Biden has talked about the upcoming National Convention, the struggles of Climate Change, events his campaign was holding, and new policy he was rolling out. Trump talked about fundraising, jailing the leader of MS-13 (a criminal gang out of California), and his very first virtual fundraiser. Both campaigns focus on the money, but at least Biden looks around a little more.
I guess I should count my blessings that at least Biden isn’t as bad as Trump when it comes to emails, but at the same time… I want my candidate to be “good,” not just “not as bad.”