Donate to a Presidential Campaign, Get Harassed

If you have an email address, chances are a candidate for president has asked you for money. This election cycle, small-dollar donations are especially important for Democrats who need them to reach thresholds set by the DNC to make the debate stage.

Most of these emails get ignored. But what happens if you do what they ask?

We donated a small amount to every campaign for president, Republican and Democrat. Then, we set up a dummy email account to use to track what happened next. Over the course of a week, 138 emails showed up. (Montana Gov. Steve Bullock sent the most, at 13.)

The emails are conversational. They used the first name of the donor 141 times. There were ploys to get you to open them, too.

Sometimes, the emails didn’t come from the campaign at all — they came from other names, with subject lines that made them more enticing. Some used humor, some used fear. But they were all after the same thing. More money.

Check out what happens when you give money to a political campaign in 2019.

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Eric Holder Is On A Mission To Make You Care About Gerrymandering (HBO)

Former Attorney General Eric Holder was in South Carolina and Iowa this past week but he insists he is not running for president. He made a joke of it at an event at a Baptist church in Columbia, SC.

“I think I’m the only national Democrat who’s not running for president at this point. So you know I’m unique,” Holder said.

Instead, he’s visiting early primary states to try to inject a very dry topic of gerrymandering, which is the manipulation of political boundaries to aid one party, into the election.

For Holder, this mission has its roots in the 2010 election. That’s the one where the Democrats lost the House, lost seats in the Senate and had almost no influence in the state legislatures that went on to re-district in 2011. In 2017, former president Barack Obama and Holder launched the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to promote a “comprehensive redistricting strategy.”

The fundraising arm of the NDRC raised $2.5 million in 2018 and has donated a lot of that money to state-level candidates and state parties.

Holder said it’s paying off. Last election cycle, five states had ballot initiatives that were designed to make the redistricting process more fair.

Holder is attempting to make sure the two dozen democratic presidential hopefuls connect the dots between gerrymandered districts and their own presidential ambitions.

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What Joe Biden’s Flip-Flop On The Hyde Amendment Means For The Democratic Party (HBO)

Joe Biden no longer wants to be the only 2020 Democrat who supports a controversial rule to block federal funding for most abortions.

Biden said Thursday night that he doesn’t support the Hyde Amendment, a restriction added to the federal budget annually that prevents any money from going toward abortions — except in cases of rape, incest, or serious threats to the mother’s health. The U-turn comes just a day after his campaign told the New York Times Wednesday that he was still in favor of the rule.

Biden’s initial support made him the only 2020 candidate to come out in favor of Hyde, while a slew of his 2020 opponents — including the top three female candidates — almost immediately reiterated that they wanted to do away with the rule entirely.

On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren flat-out called Biden’s original stance wrong and pointed out that Hyde most directly affected low-income women through Medicaid.

“Understand this: Women of means will still have access to abortions,” Warren said during an MSNBC town hall Wednesday night. “Who won’t will be poor women.”

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker all doubled down this week as well and said they support repealing Hyde. Abortion groups, too, quickly came after Biden’s support for the law.

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Why The Breakfast Club Is A Required Stop For Presidential Candidates (HBO)

If you’re a Democrat running for president, chances are you want stop by The Breakfast Club, the syndicated morning radio show produced by New York City hip hop station Power 105.1 FM.

The three Breakfast Club hosts — Angela Yee, DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God — have hosted long, free-wheeling interviews with 2020 candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg and more. On Thursday, their guest was Elizabeth Warren.

Warren’s interview has already gone viral with a clip of Charlemagne accusing her of being “the original Rachel Dolezal.” Viral clips are the best-known result of a Breakfast Club interview, but they do the show a disservice — it’s really a loose, revealing interview that you won’t see on any Sunday morning TV politics show.

VICE News went behind the scenes with The Breakfast Club as they prepared for the Warren interview and grilled her.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell Is Doing Everything He Can to Stay in the 2020 Race

Eric Swalwell appears on television a lot- enough that people in Iowa tell him that as he’s getting coffee in cafes in Dubuque.

The California congressman has been one of the most vocal members of the House Intelligence Committee about holding the president and his administration accountable in the Russia investigations.

Now, Swalwell’s trying to use that notoriety in a bid for president. But in a field of 21 Democrats, he’s learning that being a cable news darling isn’t enough. He’s currently polling at just 1% but he says he’s getting comfortable sticking out his hand to say he’s running for president.

“It’s very, I would say intimidating to say you’re running for president,” he said in a car ride between events in eastern Iowa at the beginning of the month.

“Every chance I get, I’m gonna introduce myself like I’m not starting, you know, as Vice President Biden here,” he added of his chances of making it all the way.

VICE News spent 48 hours with Swalwell in Iowa, where he’s trying to prove he can appeal to a broad demographic of Americans. He’s the son of a sheriff, but Swalwell is making gun control and reform his signature issue, even hosting one of his campaign launch events in Parkland, Florida.

At a Bellevue house party on Friday, Swalwell told a gathering of the Jackson County Democrats about his experience in Congress trying to work on the divisive issue.

“I came to Congress right after Sandy Hook happened,” he said. “I had hoped that I could be a part of a Congress that would actually do something about what had happened. Nothing.”

But as he campaigns, Swalwell is also trying to assure voters that his coastal progressive views don’t blind him to the needs of Trump voters. Swalwell says that his life experiences- born in Iowa, educated in the south, and representing a diverse district in California -gives him credibility with all voters.

“My parents they’re both Republicans. I was reaching across the dinner table before I ever had to reach across the aisle to work with the Republicans,” he told a group of about 20 people at the Uptown Cafe in Jefferson, Iowa. He joked that he goes on Fox News so that his parents will see him on TV.

When asked by Vice News why he’s running in such a crowded field, Swalwell more or less described a fading American dream as his motivation.

“I see a lot of people who work really hard just like my parents did but they don’t see it adding up to what it added up for my parents which was their son was the first in the family to go to college. Instead, they’re just running in place. They’re living paycheck to paycheck. They see a Washington and gridlock and not doing anything about it.”

Jose Ibarra, a city councilman in Storm Lake, Iowa, hosted Swalwell for a “fight night” party at his parents’ house on Saturday evening. Swalwell arrived with a case of beer and tucked into tacos and chips before making his case to a small- but more diverse group than is typical- about why they should support him for president.

Ibarra said he thinks any Democrat has a chance right now of beating Trump- and included Swalwell in that category.

“I mean we look at the Democrats right and they’re actually very educated. They know how to communicate with people. They know what’s wrong with the country,” Ibarra told VICE News in the backyard. “They know that we’re divided. Donald Trump has really done nothing for them, for the small guys. So I believe that if any Democrat can connect with the 99 percent. And make it into a point that he’s going to bring the country back together I think that anybody can beat Donald Trump.”

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Sen. Mark Warner won’t confirm Trump Jr. subpoena

The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, would not comment on whether the panel had issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr. but said the committee is going to “follow the truth wherever it leads.” (May 9)

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Pelosi on Trump impeachment and Barr’s ‘lie’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says impeachment of President Donald Trump is “never off the table”, but the California Democrat says she does not believe efforts to hold the president accountable should start with impeachment. (May 3)

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Ohio redistricting map splits house in half

Mindy Nagel’s bedroom is in Ohio’s 2nd congressional district while her garage is in the 1st. Either way, this Democrat is represented by a Republican. (April 26)

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Top Democrat says Barr is trying to spin report

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler says Attorney General William Barr is “taking unprecedented steps to spin” special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. (April 18)

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