Yang releases his Q2 numbers (and I’ll actually tell you about them this time), Gillibrand explains white privilege in her own words, Sanders visits BET’s Black Coffee, Gravel launches a live donor-count website, and some exciting podcast news you’ll want to stick around for.


Show Transcript

Note: This is the speaking script for the show, so the audio as delivered will differ very slightly from the below. This script also does not include audio clips from third-party sources, or advertisements, which may appear at various points in the show.

Yang releases his Q2 numbers

First up today, Andrew Yang released his Q2 numbers yesterday. I actually meant to include this in the show yesterday, but, oops, I kinda missed that when doing the edit, so here we are. All right, Yang raised $2.8 million dollars in the quarter. That puts him exactly even with Senator Michael Bennet and way ahead of Montana Governor Steve Bullock. And, if the leaks are to be believed, it also puts him way, way ahead of former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Yang’s campaign said that 99.6 percent of its donors gave less than $200 dollars, though we did not get numbers for cash on hand, or the number of donors, or an average donation. We will see those next week after the FEC deadline.

Now, there’s a little more to the Yang numbers that I want to mention today. Here’s the thing: Andrew Yang has been in this race for 613 days. He announced his candidacy on November 6th, 2017. The only major candidate who’s been in this thing longer is John Delaney, who announced way back in July. Of 2017.

My point here is that we can use this new figure from Yang to get a sense of his fundraising momentum. Not only does he have Q1 receipts, he also has five previous quarters’ worth of receipts, going back to Q4 2017. So let’s dig into that just a bit.

In all of 2017 and 2018, Yang brought in a total of $659,000 dollars. He also spent nearly that much, closing out the period with only about $30,000 dollars in cash on hand. Then in Q1 of this year, he raised just under $1.8 million dollars. So to bring in $2.8 million dollars in Q2 is a healthy increase, and shows clear momentum. I’m very curious to see what the relative Q1 to Q2 fundraising numbers look like for other candidates who are in the single-digit-millions club, which is most of them.

And a quick note on these Q2 numbers—the deadline for official FEC filing is midnight on July 15th, which is this coming Monday. While it’s always confusing to talk about which day a given “midnight” falls on, in this case, it’s the end of day Monday, in the Eastern time zone, so presumably we will have official FEC releases on Tuesday, or perhaps Wednesday at the latest. In other words, the middle of next week will have lots of money talk, and I apologize in advance.

Gillibrand explains white privilege in her own words

At a campaign event in Youngstown, Ohio yesterday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made some remarks that ended up going viral on Twitter. She answered a question from a woman holding an infant, and the question had to do with the issue of white privilege.

Let me read the entire question, because in many cases in media coverage, the beginning of the question has been chopped off. Okay, so the woman asks:

“I hear you saying there is a lot of divisive language coming from Republicans, coming from Trump, and that we are looking for ways to blame each other. But the Democratic Party loves to throw around terms like ‘white privilege.’ This is an area that, across all demographics, has been depressed because of the loss of its industry and an opioid crisis. What do you have to say to people in this area about so-called white privilege?”

So that was the full question, and you’ll hear a portion of that in the clip that Gillibrand posted on Twitter. Now, one quick note, the audio on this was super rough, so I did clean it up to get rid of a bunch of the hum and try to make it easier to hear. You can still hear stuff like phones ringing and camera shutters clicking and people’s forks and stuff. But, I think you can make out the content just fine. All right, listen in:

Question: This is an area that, across all demographics, has been depressed because of the loss of its industry and an opioid crisis. What do you have to say to people in this area about so-called white privilege?
Gillibrand: So, I understand that families in this community are suffering deeply. I am fully hear from you and folks that I’ve talked to just in a few minutes that I’ve been here, that is devastating when you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your ability to provide for your kids, that when you put 20, 30 years into a company that all of the sudden doesn’t care about you or won’t call you back and gives you a day to move. That is not acceptable and not okay. So no one in that circumstance is privileged on any level, but that’s not what that conversation is about.
Question: What is it about?
Gillibrand: I’m going to explain.
What the conversation is about is when a community has been left behind for generations because of the color of their skin. When you’ve been denied job, after job, after job because you’re black or because you’re brown. Or when you go to the emergency room to have your baby. The fact that we have the highest maternal mortality rate and if you are a black woman you are four times more likely to die in childbirth because that healthcare provider doesn’t believe you when you say I don’t feel right. Because he doesn’t value you. Or because she doesn’t value you.
So institutional racism is real. It doesn’t take away your pain or suffering. It’s just a different issue. Your suffering is just as important as a black or brown persons suffering but to fix the problems that are happening in a black community you need far more transformational efforts that targeted for real racism that exists every day.
So if your son is 15 years old and smokes pot, he smokes pot just as much as black boy in his neighborhood and the Latino boy in his neighborhood. But that black and brown boy is four times more likely to get arrested. When he’s arrested that criminal justice system might require him to pay bail. 500 bucks. That kid does not have 500 bucks he might not be able to make bail. As an adult with a child at home and he’s a single parent, if he is thrown in jail no one is with his child. It doesn’t matter what he says, I have to go home, I have a child at home, he’s only 12. What am I going to do. It doesn’t matter. Imagine as a parent how you would feel so helpless. That’s institutional racism. Your son will likely not have to deal with that because he is white. So when someone says white privilege, that is all they are talking about. That his whiteness will mean that a police officer might give him a second chance. It might mean that he doesn’t get incarcerated because he had just smoked a joint with his girlfriend. It might mean that he won’t have to post bail. It means he might be able to show up to work the next day and lose his job and not be in the cycle of poverty that never ends. That’s all it is.] [END CLIP]

So that’s where the clip posted by Gillibrand ends, but that actually leaves out an important part at the end. I want to read that for you here from a separate transcript, because it actually completes the thought and brings it fully back to the context of the woman who asked the question. This is what Gillibrand said directly after the clip above.

“But it doesn’t mean that [you] don’t deserve my voice, lifting up your challenge. It also doesn’t mean that black and brown people are left to fight these challenges on their own. A white woman like me who is a Senator and running for president of the United States has to lift up their voice just as much as I would lift up yours. That’s all it means. It doesn’t take away from you at all. It just means we have to recognize suffering in all its forms and solve it in each place intentionally—and with knowledge about what we are up against.”

Now, I include this in the show for two reasons. First, we frankly haven’t much on this show from Gillibrand, and this moment is absolutely the biggest thing I’ve seen from her in quite a while. Second, this exchange, combined with Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan we discussed yesterday, shows the importance of white candidates addressing issues of race, in conversations with voters regardless of the voters’ race. In this case, it’s a white woman talking to another white woman. But this was a room that included people of color, and it’s a country that includes a diverse set of voters. Any candidate, regardless of their race, needs to actually understand these issues and be able to articulate what the challenge really is. And Gillibrand did a solid job here.

Sanders visits BET’s Black Coffee

Okay, last month Senator Cory Booker went on BET’s show Black Coffee. And yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders stopped by the show, which this week was hosted by Marc Lamont Hill and Gia Peppers. It was a 35-minute sit-down, with the typical Black Coffee mix of fun and issues. They started by playing a game where Sanders had to pick his favorite songs from a list of options, and so on. There’s a link in the show notes to the whole thing, and it’s fun to watch.

Now, look, here’s why I like seeing politicians on shows like Black Coffee. This is Sanders on a COUCH. You know? Like he’s in a room with a very small number of people, and it gives you the vibe of what it would be like to actually, you know, sit in a room with Sanders in a couch. Now, yeah, he’s in campaign mode, he’s talking about issues, but there’s a kind of body language you just don’t get in other kinds of settings. In some cases, this allows almost an intimate look at what the candidates are all about.

Here’s a clip from the show that jumped out at me. Peppers speaks first. Listen in:


Okay, so I do want to face-check one issue in that discussion which is around the actual number of people who are current imprisoned in the US because they can’t make bail. As far as I can tell, the Sanders number is basically correct. According to a December 2017 article by Udi Ofer of the ACLU:

“Close to half a million people are in jail today awaiting trial, many of them incarcerated because they are too poor to afford cash bail.”

That lines up pretty well with the Sanders figure of about 400,000 people being locked up because they can’t make bail.

For more, check out the show notes—there’s a link to the whole Black Coffee episode, as well as a partial transcript of some highlights from BET.

Gravel launches a live donor-count website

Last up today, Mike Gravel’s campaign has been mentioned quite a bit on this show in recent days. That’s because he’s right on the bubble of hitting the 65,000-donor threshold to qualify under one of the two sets of rules for the July DNC primary debates. The campaign has put together a live donor-counting website somehow, which shows a countdown to the 65,000 donor threshold. As I write this, Gravel needs just over 2,500 more donors by the end of day on July 16th.

Now, here’s the thing. Even if Gravel makes the donor number, the DNC’s tie-breaking rules for how it will allocate the 20 spots on the debate stage might make it hard for him to get there. To qualify AT ALL to be in the pool of potential debaters, a given candidate needs to reach 1 percent in three different qualifying polls, OR get that 65,000 donor number, OR both. Having both makes you safe, at least right now.

The problem comes in when we look at tie-breakers. The DNC prefers people who have polling numbers when it comes to tie-breakers. Right now, or at least in the latest report I could find, Gravel only has one poll that gives him 1 percent.

That might be why the Gravel campaign is launching an attack ad against Joe Biden, set to air tonight on MSNBC. That strikes me as a last-ditch effort to get Gravel’s name ID up, so that he just barely might meet the polling criteria in time. If he met both the polling and fundraising criteria, he’d be in very good shape. But right now, like as I record this, he has met neither threshold.

The other path for Gravel to get into those debates, assuming he does get the donors, would be for some more candidates to drop out. If, for some reason, more candidates like Swalwell—who did have that 1 percent polling already—were to drop out right away, that could open a window for Gravel to swoop in, in the event that there are no tiebreakers because not enough candidates qualified under either method.

So this is still a long-shot for Gravel. We shall see next week whether he can thread this particular needle.

Announcing the Election Ride Home

Last up this week, I have a little podcast news I think you’ll like.

We are renaming the show the Election Ride Home. We will have a new logo and that new name starting on Monday. The show otherwise stays the same. I’m still your host, and you will automatically stay subscribed just like you are right now. You will see that new logo soon, though, so be prepared for that.

So—why the change?

Pretty simple, there are two factors.

First, this was going to happen eventually anyway. Starting in the very first days of this podcast, listeners asked me, “Hey, what happens when the primaries end? Do you just stop?” And the answer was no, we change the name of show and keep covering the general election. But that question keeps coming up, so we figured we’d get a jump on that NOW by changing the name on Monday, rather than a year from now.

Second, we’re starting to see a bunch of interesting elections popping up outside of the presidential primary, but related to it. Like the Senate race in Kentucky, and the Senate race in Texas, and…well, most of the Senate races. We’ve already seen one presidential primary candidate drop out to pursue a House race. That’s gonna happen a lot more, and some of these races will be worth watching. I’m making room for that on the show, though, obviously, the primary is the key story now and it’s gonna be that way for a long time.

So, the deal here is, same show, same host, same format, same great primary coverage. Same great taste, new look. Just like on your favorite food, when they change the box. When you hear from me on Monday, you’ll be hearing the Election Ride Home.


Well, that is it for one more episode of the Primary Ride Home. I have been your host, Chris Higgins. You can always find me on Twitter @chrishiggins. It’s a beautiful day in Portland, and my yarden task for the weekend is to re-build some garden boxes, now that they actually receive some sun again, and we’ve removed the brambles and other garbage. So, I’m gonna do my best not to cut myself trying to get lumber into shape. If—and this is BIG if—I manage to complete the project this weekend, I’ll post some before and after photos on Twitter—in any case, I’ll let you know when it happens, and we can swap garden photos. As always, thanks for listening and I will talk to y’all on MONDAY.