In a few minutes, the first Presidential Debate will begin, and Joe Biden and Donald Trump will face each other on stage for the first time. I thought it would be interesting to go back over the emails I’ve collected from both candidates since July 7, 2020.
While both candidates mainly use their emails to raise money, Trump’s are much more heavily weighted toward things that directly bring in money (merch, contests, and direct donations) or praise (surveys are usually “HOW IS TRUMP DOING? GREAT, GOOD, OKAY, or OTHER?”). There is very little focus on sharing Trump’s message, helping Trump’s campaign in a non-financial way, or using his platform for good.
However, Trump does want me to sign up for his texts (an Other ask) a LOT.
Trump heavily emphasizes that I am the most special top supporter of Trump that ever did live, and the only person worthy of all his special offers and priority access. However, being the most special supporter is a huge responsibility, and if I’m not donating enough, he is quick to make me feel guilty. “We could have used your support.” “We noticed your name was missing.” “You don’t want to disappoint him.”
When he’s not making me feel special, he’s making sure I know that anyone who DOESN’T support Trump is a demonic monster frothing at the mouth with eagerness to destroy this country. There is no restraint in the black and white strokes he paints the country with: either you’re for Trump 110% (and where is your donation to get the card that says how special you are to your favorite president?) or you’re evil incarnate.
The Republicans assure me that they are the party of love and unity.
Biden, on the other hand, is earnestly looking toward the future. He is competitive with Trump and frequently scolds him for mishandling things, but he has never once said that Trump will destroy the country. Change the fabric of our nation is the phrasing Biden prefers. He is very worried, yes, but he remains polite.
Both email lists are largely for money-raising purposes and little else, as evidenced by the huge numbers of purely-fundraising emails. Trump also sends ridiculous numbers of emails touting merch or offering a contest where I can “meet” Trump and get a photo with him (but journalists have failed to uncover even a single winner of any of these contests). Both Biden and Trump talk about how the other person is campaigning and how their conventions went, but Trump is far more invested in the Supreme Court than Biden is, while Biden is much more interested in getting me to volunteer for him than Trump is.
Interestingly, while Biden’s focus is largely on Trump, either mentioning or criticizing his opponent in most of his emails, Trump’s focus is much more heavily pointed toward the Democratic party in general, with 63 more emails criticizing Democrats generally than mentioning Biden specifically. Biden is much more open to praising his fellow party members, however, while Trump barely ever even remembers other Republicans exist. He is also more keen on sending emails praising himself, especially ones coming from the MyPillow guy who cannot stop fawning over how phenomenal Trump is and how much everyone loves him, even if they don’t realize it.
Perhaps it is helpful to see who, exactly, is signing these emails. Both Trump and Biden have most of their emails signed by their campaign, with themselves signing the second-highest amount, but while Biden leans heavily on his connections of both private friends and public figures, Trump much prefers to have his family send messages (I am counting both Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle as family for this chart). For someone who likes to scream about the nepotism of Biden, Trump does not shy away from using his family. In fact, his family has sent more messages to the email list than the second person listed on the ticket: Vice President Mike Pence tells me he only sends emails when they’re VERY important, like to let me know about a 700% match that is only available for me for an hour.
Not a single Trump email has landed in my inbox without the use of ALL CAPS for random EMPHASIS, while Biden uses these far more sparingly. Biden has apologized for sending too many emails more than Trump and uses the “before I ask for a donation, let me explain why I’m asking” explanation trope, something Trump shies far away from…
…but Trump more than makes up for it with EXCLUSIVE offers just for his top supporters, like me, and the use of nicknames and attacks on the media as Fake News. Trump also makes sure I know that the Left hates ME specifically, and it’s us against them, while Biden very rarely sets up that conflict.
There simply is no comparison between the two campaigns, and these charts all show it. One of them is all about money and hate, while the other actually wants to do some good.