I’ve written before about how I got on Joe Biden’s email list, by signing up ten or more years ago for a personalised Christmas greeting from President Obama. Biden started his campaign a year and a half ago on Saturday, 23 April 2019, and the floodgates opened. By Election Day, Tuesday 3 November 2020, 556 days later, I had received 1641 emails from his people.
Despite the fact that I’ve never donated a single cent to the cause (which as a non-US resident would of course be contrary to election funding rules) the campaign has throughout treated me as though I am a fervent supporter. So I have been told many times how grateful Joe was for me “showing up right now” and “having his back”. Indeed, I was the “true heartbeat” of his campaign, and various writers at various times were “in awe” of me.
However, despite my exalted position, the computer fundraising program found it difficult to place me geographically. I had given my zip code as “00”, and so at first I would get emails saying that I was one of the best supporters in the 00 district. Later this became a generic “your state” so as each fundraising deadline approached I would be told that a certain amount was still needed. This would vary from email to email, which led to some inconsistency. For instance, at 22.58 on 30 October Kamala Harris was looking for $25 to meet the shortfall in my state of $67,391:
Three hours and six minutes later, at 02.04 on 31 October, Joe himself wanted my first donation to raise another $168,478 in my state before the midnight deadline.
Over the months, I’ve got used to unlikely names popping up in my inbox. Here’s one from Carole King:
Yes, the same person who had written Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? – at the age of 18! – wanted me to support Joe. How could I refuse?
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Joe. In the first few weeks of the primary season, he looked old and tired and was a long way off the pace. He got a boost when a leading black Congressman, Jim Clyburn, supported him in South Carolina, and then somehow he swept most of the states on offer on Super Tuesday on 3 March. As the pandemic took hold everyone else dropped out and, with one bound, Joe was out of the telephone box and into the lead.
A thousand or so emails later, he’s made it. I confess that I spent two or three days madly refreshing the live count pages in both Georgia and Pennsylvania, Whatsapping friends and relations as Biden went into the lead in both states. And I stayed up to watch his declaration speech in Wilmington, which was a lot better than I expected it to be.
At the moment it looks as though Trump is determined to tough out the transition period. But he will have to face reality when the Electoral College makes its declaration, which is scheduled for “the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December”, i.e. 14 December. And the four year nightmare won’t be over until 12 noon on inauguration day, 20 January 2021. When it comes to Donald Trump, I don’t think the world will be singing Carole King’s first ever hit:
What shall I write
What can I say
How can I tell you how much I miss you?
[It Might As Well Rain Until September, 1962]
As a footnote, it’s worth pointing out that in all these thousands of emails the Biden and the wider Democratic campaign generally used language that was at least respectful. (“When they go low, we stay high”, as Michelle Obama is supposed to have said.) This can hardly be said of the opposition.
When Trump himself contracted “the Covid”, the official Democratic campaign announced that they would pause negative ads, at least for the duration. Barack Obama tweeted that he and Michelle Obama extended their best wishes, and were “hopeful that they and others who have been affected by COVID-19 around the country are getting the care that they need, that they are going to be on the path to a speedy recovery.”
At almost the same time, this email was sent to Republican supporters by the Trump/Pence campaign:
Thank God they’re on their way out.