Hillary isn’t the only one with emails to talk about (Part 1 of 2)

Hillary isn’t the only one with emails to talk about (Part 1 of 2)

Campaigns notoriously send too many emails. I’ve seen three and four come through on a single day from a single campaign. Not to mention forwards from SuperPACs regurgitating the same talking points, and then emailing again to make sure you saw the previous email. They are sneaky too and will send messages from different addresses to combat the emails being filtered as spam. And it works too. I decided tonight to look back at the last 3 emails I’ve received from each Democratic nominee and examine their messaging. The results were not what I expected. I’ll start with the Sanders Campaign.

Birdie Sanders Email

The first Bernie email I read was called “Bye Bye Birdie”, an obvious ode to the little bird that landed on his podium in Portland last week. The email opens with:

Everyone loves Birdie Sanders, but these stickers are about to fly away!

The email offers a free Birdie sticker to anyone who contributes any amount, and claims it is the LAST CHANCE  to get the sticker, because they are running out so quickly. But with an average contribution of $27, I’m confident each donation will afford another sticker to be printed. Overall, the email was positive throughout, but I’m not a fan of the “limited time” tactic to earn buy-in. The sticker is cool. Saying you’re going to run out of them is probably misleading – or maybe they have an extremely strict sticker budget. I think you’ll get a sticker if you ask for one when you contribute. What can’t be denied is the excellence of the sticker itself:


On the Attack?

His next email was entitled “So much on the line in Wisconsin”. It starts like this:

Hillary Clinton left the campaign trail for yet another high-dollar fundraising event on Monday, but she shared some news about the state of the race that we agree with: she said the trail to the Democratic nomination “goes through Wisconsin.”

The email goes on to tie her to Wall Street again. Some would argue that this is “going negative”, and may contribute to the Clinton Campaign’s issues with Bernie’s “tone”.

However, context would disagree. He is stating facts that pertain to a specific issue that is central to his campaign: campaign finance reform. If he’s not allowed to talk about how current politicians are currently getting their money, then he is not allowed to talk effectively about campaign finance reform at all. I think his current strategy is effective, and will have no problem finding ammo for sustaining the narrative.

It’s About the Money

The third Bernie email is called “$27 vs $27,000”. It again ties Hillary to billionaire donors. It opens:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Tonight Hillary Clinton is in New York City at a fundraiser with the former Chief Financial Officer of the huge investment bank Morgan Stanley. Some attendees are bundling as much as $27,000.

Ouch. While this is a serious roast, it is both factual and effective. Take out the word “huge”, and the second sentence reads like something straight off the wire.

The email ends with:

No billionaires, no bundling bankers, no super PACs. Just you, Ryan, and our political revolution.

I wanted to note they used my name correctly. In the three Hillary emails, she did not use my name at all. This may be due to the massive amount of trolling she received from the #I’mnotkiddingmaddi incident. Either way, I’m not a big fan of it. A real person using my name is cool. A computer sending me a mass email with a personal touch feels science-fictiony and scary.


Overall, his emails are positive in nature but take ample shots at Hillary’s ties to Wall Street and so-called “financial elites”. As stated above, I think that strategy is totally acceptable, because it is a central issue of the campaign itself. Even Hillary has talked about the need for campaign finance reform, so it is definitely an open and fair issue.

Her reactions to these “attacks” have defined her campaign.

(Advice to Hillary)

If I were in her inner circle, I would want to start a conversation about accepting Bernie’s narrative. Accept that you do receive your money from the establishment – AND from the people, because it was the fastest and most efficient path towards victory, and that it was necessary to fight off republicans when she was alone in this race, before Bernie had even decided to run. She could tell them she did it because she understands the devastation that a Republican President would be. She could accept that she did get super rich while giving speeches to Wall Street. She could say it was because she was and still is an excellent negotiator, a successful business person, and it’s about time women started clawing up from the 79 cents they make on the dollar to men.

The Clinton Campaign’s denial isn’t helping. At best it’s putting pressure on the wound, at worst, it’s feeding the dishonesty narrative that is hurting the campaign. Claiming the Sanders campaign is on the attack only cranks the Bernie Dank Memes Generator to 11.


P.S. Read Part 2 On Hillary’s emails Here.

Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

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