Saturday, April 01, 2017

Campaign E-Mails... Again


And the prize for worst e-mail campaign in the history of the known universe goes to...

I've been getting bombarded with angry e-mails from Blue America members who say they are being "assaulted" and "abused" by Jon Ossoff's campaign in the GA-06 special election. Blue America endorsed Ossoff for several reasons-- including his policy positions-- and we stand by that endorsement. I feel like had I known he was hiring DCCC e-mail consultants New Blue Interactive, I would have warned our members what would be coming if they-- like me-- contributed. New Blue Interact is the very worst digital media firm in the country-- the absolute bottom of the barrel in every way, starting with personnel. The DCCC pushes them on "their" candidates and New Blue Interactive is largely responsible for everything that's gone wrong with on-line fundraising since 2006 when Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer, at the time heads of the DCCC and DSCC, set about to destroy the ability of activists to raise money from netroots donors.

The powers inside the Democratic congressional committees were freaking out because suddenly money was available for alternative candidates to the corrupt garbage they always pick. Emanuel flipped the hell out when the entrust raised money for-- for example-- Carol Shea-Porter and Jerry McNerney and helped them beat his establishment shills. The concept of "burning the lists" came out of Emanuel's ire.

Imbeciles at the DCCC today and at firms like New Blue Interactive are unaware why they send out so many empty annoying, the-sky-is-failing e-mails, sometimes half a dozen in a single day. They actually think this is how it's supposed to be done and that it's some kind of "best practice." It isn't. It makes recipients furious. Here's a typical letter-- I've had at least 2 dozen in the last month-- from an Ossoff contributor:
After contributing, they send an email with an alt-survey which takes you to a donation page. It lacks a "No Thanks" option. It's really fucked up. They have to stop this bullshit now. I want my money back. Please get this message to them in the strongest terms. I tried calling but get Google voice mail.
Another said, in part, "I know you have bigger fish to fry but in my opinion, they're abusing the Act Blue system and degrading its integrity. No reply necessary. I love your blog and the work you do."

Most of the complaints are about how the Ossoff campaign sends too many e-mails, like on a Patrick Murphy and Debbie Wasserman Schultz level of abuse, and how they use tactics that are misleading-- like subject lines saying "personal" and things like that. (Of course Murphy and Wasserman Schultz are New Blue Interactive clients as well and the firm uses the same horrible techniques that have endeared Wasserman Schultz to... no one at all and helped make her one of the most widely despised figures in the Democratic Party.) But the message-free e-mails are also annoying to plenty of people who don't like being treated like idiots by the people they just gave money to.

A long-time Blue America donor, who's been steadfastly contributing to progressive candidates for a decade, Melody Siegler, was one of the many people complaining about the flood of terrible Ossoff e-mails. (She lives in the Atlanta area and is a big Ossoff booster and the e-mails haven't changed her mind about him either.) I asked her to write a post sharing her concerns.

My "Secret" Email Life With Howie Klein, Now Disclosed
-by Melody Siegler

I have had several email exchanges with Howie, of late.

I was comparing and contrasting various fundraising emails I’ve received recently.

One issue I had was the amount of the "ask."  I said that a definite “ask” of, say, $40, was too high, and the wording was all wrong. That it was a turn-off to me, because it sounded like a demand. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to language. On the other hand, another email I received ended with something like this “please give whatever you can… $5, $10, etc.  I told Howie that this was the kind of email that I was much more likely to respond to, even if I could only give $5.

I’m not rich, and I have a huge (to me) mortgage payment to make every month. My choice, of course. But, on the other hand, sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I stick the change in my coat pocket, or pants pocket, instead of my wallet. And then, I get distracted when I come home and unpack the groceries. Later, by chance, I will discover a $5 bill, or several $1 bills in one of these pockets. This makes it clear to me that this is money I haven’t missed. Maybe others are not so absent-minded.

But my point here is that there is a way to ask me for campaign donations, and there is a way NOT to ask me for campaign donations.

Howie knows how to do this-- it’s always been, over the past ten years plus, "please give what you can, and if you can’t give anything, that’s okay too." I am paraphrasing, of course, so forgive me, Howie.

I just received an email from Howie, on behalf of Blue America. This is exactly the right way to do fundraising. Of course, a candidate’s fundraising email necessarily has to be shorter. But all the elements of a good fundraising email are there.

    Here is the Blue America email:
Dear Melody,

Last year Blue America introduced you to Pramila Jayapal. We were the first group outside of her home state to endorse her in 2016. And this year-- based solely on what she's done since being elected-- she's the first freshman we're endorsed for 2018. We should all be very proud that we helped Pramila get her message out to the voters in Seattle, who elected her overwhelmingly-- 56% to 38%. She has delivered everything we hoped she would. If you look at ProgressivePunch, you'll see she's the only member of Congress with a lifetime score of 100%. Let that sink in for a moment.

And we didn't go to bat for Pramila just because we know she would vote right. What we saw in her-- and she even more now-- is a LEADER. Since getting to DC, she's been a vocal advocate and a fighter for working families in Washington and across the country. She's held rallies and forums on the topics of healthcare, immigration and women’s rights; she's been in the forefront of the battle for affordable college and has swiftly and fiercely opposed any anti-immigrant legislation that has been introduced by the Trump Regime.

Pramila Jayapal is leading the fight for affordable, accessible education and will not stop until that goal is reached. Insurmountable debt and unattainable opportunities should not play a role in the education system. Pramila believes that when one of us moves ahead, our whole community benefits and those benefits begin with quality education for all, regardless of economic status. In April, Pramila and Bernie Sanders will co-introduce a Free Tuition bill!.

She's been at the center of the resistance against Trump: marching for fairer treatment of women in the Women’s March on Washington, holding the second largest rally in the country to save health care, and taking on the Trump administration over the detentions of immigrants at the Seattle airport during the fallout of the initial executive order that halted U.S. travel for members of certain Muslim-majority nations.

In addition to her constituent engagement and advocacy, Pramila has already co-sponsored approximately 50 pieces of legislation in her first three months in office-- on subjects ranging from presidential transparency to immigration rights and deportation relief. She has also introduced three bills aimed at ensuring justice and accessibility for all. The first was introduced in conjunction with Senator Kamala Harris to secure access to legal counsel for immigrants who have been detained. The second, moves to end a program in which state and local law enforcement were made to enforce federal immigration law. The third proposed measure seeks to lower the astronomical costs of prescription medications, protecting access to lifesaving drugs for those who need it most.

As these bills and legislative measures move forward, Pramila continues to dedicate her time to fighting assaults on our moral values and defending our nation’s most vulnerable.

As a freshman member of Congress, Pramila has made it her mission to mount the strongest possible resistance against Trump and his administration. She serves as the vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the senior whip of the House Democratic Caucus, the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform. What she's not busy doing is fundraising.

But her aggressive efforts on behalf of working families and immigrants had put a target on her back in the eyes of corporate heavy-weights. Republicans don't win in Seattle, but the same forces that back Republicans are trying to recruit a corporate-friendly, conservaDem to run against her. Blue America wants to show her-- and her opponents-- that we love what she's been doing and that we still have her back.

In addition to her congressional leadership roles, she is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Much of Pramila’s policy work is centered on immigration, environment, equality, education and health care access. She was a forerunning opponent of Trumpcare and is actively involved in seeking clarity regarding the Trump Administration’s relationship with Russia. Let's help make sure she can keep devoting all her time to what's important for the country and for her constituents.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team
  [End of Blue America email above. My words continue]

Here are, to me, two really important points, which I paraphrase, with inferences: 1) Unlike many other members of the House, who spend a lot of time fundraising Pramila has spent her time working hard for all of us who want a just world and a just country. 2) She has raised the ire of corporatists/corporations with huge amounts of money to spend bribing Congress members. She won’t be bribed. So, she has a target on her back.


Just after I submitted my post to Howie, he forwarded a fundraising email from Ruben Gallego, AZ-07. Yes, by my lights, this is an exemplar of an effective fundraising email. Why?

The first sentence connects directly with the recipient. He puts himself in their position. Sympathy, not guilt-tripping. He goes on to explain the problem that he and others are facing. Then, he praises the work and impact of so many activists- phone calls, emails, and so forth. Then the "ask"-- invest more in campaigns like mine. And, explains the positive outcome-- why more dollars will help and how he will use them. Then the "closer"-- "Will you chip in any amount by tomorrow?"


OK, Howie here again; I want to chime in one more time. I don't want anyone to get the idea that anything has changed in terms of Ossoff's race. He's a good candidate and helping him win is very worthwhile because it will replace a bad member of Congress with a good one and because he is energetic and has excellent ideas-- and because an Ossoff victory in GA-06 will mean Trump's legislative agenda will be dealt a very major, perhaps fatal, blow. And that's a good thing-- even if it means you're going to be getting barraged with idiotic e-mails from jerks at New Blue Interactive. In any case, please bite the bullet and seriously consider contributing to Jon Ossoff's campaign here-- but just be aware that there will be follow-up communications from his consultants, who you should feel free to subject to all kinds of abuse.

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At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... how will the potential election of Ossof deal a fatal blow to ... well, anything at all? I mean... I can count. You need a lot more than him.

Perhaps I'm being naïve, but I still believe that Jayapal is genuine and really wants to affect the changes reflected in what she says and does.

I cannot say the same about the others you mentioned in the same context. Bernie says the right things but does not often DO. Kamala Harris is in congress because she took millions from bankers she should have been prosecuting (Mnuchin...), so forgive me if I will be eternally cynical about that one. Same goes for the rest.

So I truly believe the advocacy codified by Jayapal that the others are piggy-backing upon are simple posturing by them (not Jayapal) so their voters can be fooled. If ever the democraps win back either chamber, I expect them all to be like evan bayh and harriet reid... and betray at every opportunity. I'm truly hoping that if that time comes, Jayapal does not betray. We'll see. The DCCC will probably try like hell to primary her in 2018.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sabotage and harassment of registered Democrats by the Democorrupt Party leadership (and I use that term loosely) is why I advocate that Bernie forget about reforming the Party in favor of leaving the criminals behind and starting afresh. There is no "reforming" such committed losers.

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:56, this is what has been so goddamn frustrating about Bernie. His whole career has been one of SAYING what needs to be said but of DOING nothing particularly useful. AND he's spent the past 30 years apologizing and rationalizing for the betrayals of the democraps with whom he has caucused.

Bernie knows that the democraps are worthless corrupt $hills, but they still have the money and the numbers in the senate. IF he repudiated them and they went on to reacquire a majority, he'd be left with no operative committee positions.

He must have vowed to them to stay true to the swamp when he ran for prez. I can only assume he was keeping his promise when he endorsed the monster $hillbillary instead of taking his voters over to the Greens.


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