Country song springs from the late night poetry of fundraising emails

If you’ve ever given money to a political candidate, then you know that we just ended the quarter – and started a new fiscal year – for campaigns ranging from town council and mayor right up to president of the United States.

The deadlines are arbitrary to most of the real world. There’s nothing magic about June 30 except that it’s the end of a reporting period for candidates, who want to show strong fundraising numbers as a way to demonstrate that their campaigns are successful.

For example, just hours after the end of the period South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for president made his numbers public for the 2nd quarter of the year.

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg poses with an advocacy group after the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News on Thursday in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

According to his campaign, he raised $24.8 million, which is likely to put him in the top tier of candidates for the period and cement his place among the top contenders. Other campaigns, especially those with big numbers will follow suit and make their numbers public.

In addition to the total amount of money raised, the candidates who have done well also release the number of donors they have. Everyone counts. From the well-heeled supporter who writes a check for the maximum amount to the person who pitches in a $1, the total number of people sending in money is one way candidates are judged.

And that’s why, if your email inbox is like mine, you’ve been bombarded with desperate, repetitive requests for contributions. Emails are cheap and easy. But they are also effective ways to raise low-dollar contributions – the fuel the modern campaign tries to run on.

The campaigns take a simple approach. You can’t get what you want if you don’t ask. So they ask and ask and ask and ask again.

As one of my friends put it, it’s enough to want to throw your phone – and everyone else’s – right into the lake.

But as I read the subject lines of email after email, in my head I started to hear the lonesome wail of throwback country song. The ding of my inbox setting the beat.

They’ve got all the great elements you need. They’re riding trains and pick-up trucks. They’re up late, broke and desperate. They’re begging you to come back. They’re drinking beers. They’re loving their dogs. It’s all there.

So I dedicate this soon-to-be runaway chart-topping hit to all the finance directors and digital campaign staffers out there who actually wrote it, one subject line at a time. (It also works as an ’80s power ballad. Think White Snake.)

They don’t want you to read this.

They’re scared of what we can do.

Will you help?

I’m calling you.

 

Chorus:

It’s almost midnight.

Time is running out.

Before you go to bed.

I’m begging.

Can you spare a dime?

 

Tonight’s the night.

I’m checking in.

I need you on board.

Give me a second to explain.

I’ll be honest with you.

 

Chorus:

It’s almost midnight.

Time is running out.

Before you go to bed.

I’m begging.

Can you spare a dime?

 

It’s critical.

Hours left.

Let’s make them count.

Clear eyes, full hearts.

Chip in any amount.

 

Chorus:

It’s almost midnight.

Time is running out.

Before you go to bed.

I’m begging.

Can you spare a dime?

 

Last chance.

Just a little time left.

It’s not too late.

I’m calling on you.

This is it.

Tonight.

 

Chorus:

It’s almost midnight.

Time is running out.

Before you go to bed.

I’m begging.

Can you spare a dime?

 

Checking in.

Just about last call.

Give me a chance.

Please don’t delete.

I need you tonight.

I hope you’re awake.

I won’t be able to do this without you.

 

Chorus:

It’s almost midnight.

Time is running out.

Before you go to bed.

I’m begging.

Can you spare a dime? 

Happy Fourth of July to you and your family and to all the hardworking candidates and campaign staff, first responders and others who will be out doing their jobs, shaking hands, marching in parades, kissing babies, driving the ferries and keeping us safe.

David Farmer

About David Farmer

David Farmer is a political and media consultant in Portland, where he lives with his wife and two children. He was senior adviser to Democrat Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor and a longtime journalist. You can reach him at dfarmer14@hotmail.com.