My best pal Joe and his email campaign

Sometime shortly before Christmas in either 2009 or 2010, I noticed a post on Iain Dale’s blog about a nifty seasonal message on the Obama White House website. If you handed over your name and email address, you then saw a video message with your name apparently being written at the top of a Christmas card. The camera then turned to a smiling President Obama who wished you a happy Christmas.

I must have clicked a box somewhere allowing the White House to send me further emails, and this they did. Not very often, as I recall, but then the pace hotted up in the run up to the 2012 election. As a political nerd I was quite happy to get these communications. Fast forward to the run up to the 2016 election, and my details had obviously been forwarded to the Democrat National Committee because I got a lot of stuff during the campaign, culminating in a heartbreaking message from defeated candidate Hillary Clinton on the morning after the vote.

No such thing as GDPR in the USA of course, so this spring my details were on the move again. They were sent on to Joe Biden’s American Possibilities PAC. How this happened is explained in the following piece from Mediapost.

Whatever his other assets and debits, former Vice President Joe Biden has one clear advantage going into the 2020 Presidential primaries: Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign email list.
That list, which reportedly drove more than $500 million in donations in 2012, is now apparently at Biden’s disposal. He was a member of that ticket, giving him a leg up on other  contenders.
The fact came to light when Biden supporters received an email from Biden’s American Possibilities PAC asking them to sign up for updates.
Some had not registered for PAC emails, but had put their email addresses on the Obama list. A Biden spokesperson confirmed that the PAC has access to the Obama file, according to the Daily Beast.
It is not known how accurate the list is after eight years. Certainly, there has been churn, and some donors may even have gone over to Donald Trump in 2016.
Still, the Beast calls the list “one of the most valuable pieces of infrastructure in all of politics.” It was made available for the use of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, and presumably was updated.

Here is the original piece from the Daily Beast which broke the story.

As those of us of a certain age know, Joe Biden has effectively been running for the Presidency since 1987. It was in that year’s campaign that he channelled the words of Neil Kinnock when making a speech. (‘I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?… Is it because I’m the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?’)

You might think that Biden would be happy to have eventually reached the summit of his ambitions with his position on the victorious Obama ticket in 2008. There was a very funny article on Politico about how the Obama-Biden relationship has spawned an unlikely type of fan fiction. See these great covers below:

But, unfortunately, it seems that he still wants to go one step further. In my view, the last thing the Democrats need in order to take on a 73-year-old Republican sociopath is a 76-year-old has-been. Especially a 76-year-old with a son who has dodgy business interests.

In the 180 days since 25 April, I’ve had 321 emails. And the tone gets more and more desperate:

“Charles, I’m coming to you LIVE from outside the debate venue in Westerville, Ohio. I’m so excited to be here with Joe before he takes the stage tonight!
The enthusiasm for Joe here is electric, and I want to give folks on #TeamJoe a chance to get in on the Debate Day excitement with one of my favorite things — a fundraising challenge!”

Really. Much more likely this was written by a junior copywriter back in Doomsville, PA. S/he sounds super excited, but must be wondering whether the campaign will run on through to next spring.

For what it’s worth, my money is on Elizabeth Warren to win the nomination. She is also older than me (!) but I think she has the nous and the ability to get under Trump’s skin. And beat him.

[I know I could press the ‘Unsubscribe’ button at any time, but in a rather exasperated way I quite like getting Joe’s emails. And I’m looking forward to seeing whether my email address makes a further trip after the Democratic convention next year.]