91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Political campaigns get personal with your email addresses

 Welcome to this fundraising edition of It’s Just Politics.

No, we’re not talking about Michigan Radio’s Fall Fundrive that’s underway (although the number is 888-258-98… ah, stop us!).

Instead, we are talking about Election 2014 campaign fundraising.

Endless pleas

If you’re on a campaign or party list you are well aware of the seemingly endless pleas for campaign cash.

“The entire team is still here. There is nothing we’d rather be doing than going home and taking a break. But we know how important this midnight deadline we’re facing is. If we don’t meet it, that means we could lose.”

Or this one from Senate Republicans, “Friend, I’m really disappointed and worried. I’ve been counting on your support to end Harry Reid’s disastrous control of the US Senate on November 4th….”

That last one doesn’t say who it’s from but there is, of course, an easy button at the bottom of the email to choose how much to donate. Just a click away from helping to end the awful reign of whoever’s awful reign it is.

And, then there’s the one with the reply address - all caps - DEMOCRATIC CATASTROPHE, “We thought we accounted for every possible contingency. We thought we accounted for everything the GOP could do. But we didn’t plan for Karl Rove.”

Because who thought Karl Rove might get involved in an election?

This is personal

There are also the emails that make us feel special, “Zoe, we cannot do this without you,” or, “Rick, this is your moment to make an impact.”

Another new type of email this election cycle makes it look like you’re getting the message from either a personal email account or has something like “sent from my iPhone” in the subject line.

It’s nothing new

There are three big reasons why people who are on these lists are getting flooded with pleas for money. The first is that campaigns have become increasingly expensive. The second, there are so many independent committees that now buy ads, do online campaigning, and set up their own voter contact and get-out-the-vote operations.

The final reason we’re seeing so many of these emails? They work.

In the last two presidential elections, the Obama campaign fine-tuned the art of barraging prospects with electronic pleas to win smaller campaign donations. Now everyone is doing it.

So, the fact that this is happening isn’t new. It’s just happening at an unprecedented level.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
Related Content