For a candidate who raised nearly $750 million in 2008, you would think Obama's campaign wouldn't need to stoop so low, so early in his fundraising emails. You would think wrong. Obama's campaign has been guilt tripping, harassing and overall insulting his donor list through passive aggressive fundraising emails that make his campaign look desperate and petty.
What began with emails from Campaign Manager Jim Messina insulting people who donated last cycle but have not this time, has continued with another email from Vice President Joe Biden asking potential donors "What's stopping you?" Biden goes on to condescendingly imply recipients are going to fork over their hard earned money anyway, so they might as well hand it over sooner rather than later.
The first email from Messina elicited howls of anger and annoyance from Obama supporters, who did not appreciate the passive-aggressive tactics, to the point that a number of Obama supporters BCC'd Politico's Ben Smith on their angry responses to Messina.
As a prolific Washington, DC fundraiser once told us, there are three motivating emotions in political donations: fear, greed and guilt. This type of harassment from the Obama campaign is clearly targeting that third category, attempting to make people feel bad for not donating their money to a candidate who has failed to follow through on most of his campaign promises.
We know liberals' bleeding hearts are likely to be persuaded into raising other people's taxes, but it's an entirely different story when it comes to their limited personal cash. In this economy, non-tax deductible political donations are not at the top of most people's personal spending priorities.
A new, much-talked-about Gallup poll released yesterday hints at why the Obama campaign is acting so aggressively, and desperately, in their fundraising pitches. The poll found that Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting than they have been in a decade.
This is the Obama campaigns' greatest fear: What if Democrats just didn't care about re-electing Obama?
In thinking about the 2012 presidential election, 45% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, while nearly as many, 44%, are less enthusiastic. This is in sharp contrast to 2008 and, to a lesser extent, 2004, when the great majority of Democrats expressed heightened enthusiasm about voting.
Democrats' muted response to voting in 2012 also contrasts with Republicans' eagerness. Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans, 58%, describe themselves as more enthusiastic about voting. That is nearly identical to Republicans' average level of enthusiasm in 2004 (59%) and higher than it was at most points in 2008.
…Democrats' net enthusiasm (+1) now trails Republicans' net enthusiasm (+28) by 27 percentage points. By contrast, Democrats held the advantage on net enthusiasm throughout 2008 — on several occasions, by better than 40-point margins. Democrats occasionally trailed Republicans in net enthusiasm in 2004, but never by as much as is seen today. The current balance of enthusiasm among Republicans and Democrats is similar to what Gallup found in the first few months of 2000. [Peak emphasis]
We're not sure guilt trips and passive aggressiveness are the tools needed to ignite the Democratic base vote. Hope and change just doesn't sell as well when voters realize it was all a smokescreen.
The only thing these days that Democrats are pointing to as a way to motivate their side is a hated (and feared) Republican nominee. It may turn out that fear is the best motivator for Democrats. Guilt doesn't seem to be cutting it.