Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Burst of Emails before FEC Deadline Produces New Record...

....for the number of Email solicitations for political contributions that I have received.

So, I got 152 in the 24-hour period ending at midnight June 30 (EDT).  The peaks were sort of zigzagging:  the hours of 11 a.m. with 16 (when the Supreme Court announced its Hobby Lobby ruling--the timing was known, and a couple of groups saw it coming and were laying for it), 5 p.m. with 14, and 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. with 13.  It seems as though, thankfully, the volume slackened off at a certain point in the evening.

The leading emailers in quantity were the DNC ('') with ten, featuring "Meet the President" in Austin (I preferred the invite to meet him in Chicago, which came from OFA,, DCCC (nine, mostly under its own name), and The House Majority PAC and Charlie Crist with six each (three more from 'grassroots fladems').

The best pitches came from Alan Grayson (not suprisingly) and one from "Bold Progressives" (Progressive Change Campaign Committee) in the morning which let me know that "You don't need to donate."

Unfortunately, I agree with them.  A lot of other people donated, and, as I've stated before, I don't really care about their artificial filing deadlines; those are mostly to convince each other how serious their candidates are.

Several were from candidates who are either not running, or in near-walkover races. They are offering to back other candidates, and some named specific candidates they were offering to help, ones who don't have the same level of name recognition (Bruce Braley, in a tough Senate race in Iowa, was one mentioned frequently; another was Gary Peters, in a must-win race in Michigan).  I don't really mind this tactic--it amounts to the equivalent of an endorsement, with a vague promise to share the wealth--but I'd rather give directly to the candidates, if I know I support them.

The aforementioned Supreme Court decision from Hobby Lobby was well-timed to help gin up something different, some passion, in these emails--it is clear that there is a big challenge to make them different, and that a lot of people are complaining about the volume.  Let's face it, though, they are tremendously cost-effective:  sending an email costs nothing (the time it takes a staffer to write it), as the lists are all automatically produced and sent out.  If the name costs something (probably not the case most of the time), then there is incentive to maximize its use.

I got a lot of pitches from people I've never really heard of (except possibly in prior emails to me).  There were definitely some new ones this time around--their attitude must be: send it out, who knows?  I do detect some sophistication, though:  I got none from Mark Begich (though Amy Klobuchar gave him a testimonial) or Mark Pryor in Alaska and in Arkansas, two I've pledged not to support because of their vote to filibuster background checks.   Nor the DSCC, who I've also sworn off because I can't trust whom they will decide to support.

The only one I gave any money in late June, as the frenzy was ramping up, is Brad Schneider, who is in a close House race very close to my home in Illinois.  I've given to Charlie Crist since June 30 (defeating Rick Scott is a priority).  I give pretty often to the DCCC, as I can't force myself to decide which House races, in general, are most strategic to support:  I have to trust them. Here are a few candidates that I am considering giving to, though:  Bruce Braley. Cheri Bustos (running in a 50-50 House race in Illinois). Mary Landrieu (I've largely forgiven her, and hers may end up being The Decider, in a runoff).  Kay Hagan.   Wendy Davis and John Walsh, if they can establish a little better credibility.   Just not around deadline time!

Finally, there is a cause that I recommend--right now, they are only asking for a pledge (they will come back and ask for money if they reach their goal, a very ambitious one of $5 million by July 4).  It is called Mayday.US, and they describe themselves as (I hope I get this right) "the PAC to end all PAC's".  Their goal is to make change to the political campaign financing mess (my word), by raising enough money to make change a powerful political force.  I wish them luck (and I gave them my pledge!)  In particular, I liked the non-partisan appeal made by its founder Lawrence Lessig--it's got to be something other than a Democratic campaign tactic, or it will produce automatic Republican opposition.

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