A few days ago, I spotted a worrisome subject line while checking my email. It read, “FINAL NOTICE.” All my bills are paid up, so it was difficult to imagine what it was. When I opened it, I discovered that someone was, indeed, impatient with me because I had not sent any money. Well, not so much someone as someTHING — the Democratic Party.
It was the latest in an escalating series of messages I’ve received all year long that alternate between begging and demanding. It seems like the messages arrive hourly. They don’t, not quite, but often enough.
At home one Sunday I received 17 begging messages from DP entities and three from the U.S. Senate campaign of Bruce Braley in Iowa. At my work address I receive all of these plus mailings from the U.S. House campaign of Cheri Bustos of Illinois. Apparently the Democratic Party does not keep its mailing lists to itself.
When I opened the latest desperate message, the one labeled “FINAL NOTICE,” it read, “This is the FINAL NOTICE of your member status before tonight’s fundraising deadline. Answered President Obama’s call-to-action?”
It then answered its own question: “NO DONATION/ Deadline: Midnight/ Suggested Gift: $5.00/ To close the gap with Boehner and the Koch Brothers we need to hit 100,000 grassroots donations to President Obama’s call-to-action. And we need to do it by midnight.”
Of course, there was no necessity to act before midnight. Believe me, the party will take money any time. Nor was it the FINAL NOTICE. That message arrived at 11:35 a.m. and the next one arrived exactly 57 minutes later, at 12:32. Then 1:44 p.m., 2:08, 2:14, 4:37, 4:57, and 7:29.
Did they stop at midnight? Hardly — 5:52 a.m., 6:02, 7:45, 8:33. The one that arrived at 8:33, by the way, was labeled “FINAL NOTICE.” To say nothing of the fact that this was the fourth final notice I have received. They arrived on June 30, July 27, Aug. 30 and Aug. 31. This is final?
These mailings have arrived over the names of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ali Lapp, Tara Bardella, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Matt Thornton, Bob Fertik, Jess Aune, Jim Messina, James Carville, Roberta Lange, and others, many of whose names I can’t identify.
After Messina sent a message, Ali Lapp sent me a second copy of it with the heading, “Did you see this note from Jim Messina, Dennis?” One message arrived signed “Brandon English/ DCCC Digital Director” as though it was supposed to mean something to me. One arrived signed, simply, “Steve.” Good ol’ Steve.
In a period of about a day, I received the following subject lines on messages: “disappointed Dennis,” “I’m pleading, Dennis,” “I’m begging,” “We’ve got nothing left Dennis,” “we BEGGED you DENNIS,” “sadly,” “everything just failed,” “we will fail,” “heart-wrenching defeat (update),” “we’ve NEVER failed like this.”
The DP has managed to seem pitiful AND pitiable AND pitiless. Particularly pitiless.
A friend in California forwarded one of his Democratic messages to me and wrote, “I think this does not work for me. Nor the daily pitches from liberal candidates around the country. Ahhhh.” Screams don’t work well by email, but I got his meaning.
“There have been more twists and turns and highs and lows in DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] communications than in a bad romance,” wrote Oregon reporter Elizabeth Hovde. A Washington Times headline: “‘All hope is lost’: Worried Democrats cry desperation in fundraising tactic.” Politico reports, “House Democrats have their email fundraising down to a science: Cast Speaker John Boehner as the leading villain, use President Barack Obama’s signature (but sparingly) and don’t hesitate to go ALL CAPS with a subject line like this: ‘BREAKING: IMPEACHMENT’.” (The Democrats have single-handedly created an impeachment threat to their own president.)
Trust me — they’re not one bit sparing with the president’s signature. I’ve received at least ten Obama pleas.
I have no idea why the DCCC would think I would contribute after the tenth message of the day if I didn’t after the first, much less the hundredth of the month.
In one sense, it’s heartening to know that the party is reaching out to ordinary citizens instead of relying on its corporate cronies like Democratic contributors Walmart and Wells Fargo.
The problem is, they’re NOT doing that. They’re begging everyday citizens while also begging malefactors of great wealth. And when the payoff comes, it won’t go to the citizens. The system doesn’t work that way.
Dennis Myers is an award-winning journalist who has reported on Nevada’s capital, government and politics for several decades. He has also served as Nevada’s chief deputy secretary of state.