Money in Politics

Reporting on Money in Politics

April 17, 2020 CallTime.AI Season 1 Episode 7
Money in Politics
Reporting on Money in Politics
Chapters
Money in Politics
Reporting on Money in Politics
Apr 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
CallTime.AI

Money can play a big role in how the media covers campaigns. How much money have you raised? How much have you spent? Who's donating? Emily Glazer is one of the reporters covering the 2020 election for the Wall Street Journal and writes about the convergence of money, politics, and tech. She joins the Money in Politics podcast to share how she thinks about her coverage, and insights from her coverage of the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns, as well as those up and down the ballot that are retooling in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Show Notes Transcript

Money can play a big role in how the media covers campaigns. How much money have you raised? How much have you spent? Who's donating? Emily Glazer is one of the reporters covering the 2020 election for the Wall Street Journal and writes about the convergence of money, politics, and tech. She joins the Money in Politics podcast to share how she thinks about her coverage, and insights from her coverage of the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns, as well as those up and down the ballot that are retooling in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Andrew Blumenfeld:   0:05
I'm Andrew Blumenfeld. This is the money and politics podcast. A critical component to most campaigns is the media, and money can often play a big role in how campaigns are covered. How much money have you raised? How much have you spent? How have you raised it? Who's donating? Why're they donating? While many campaigns may struggle to get much attention from the press at all, what attention they do receive can often focus on money questions like these. My guest today knows all about that. I'm speaking with Emily Glazer, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal who covers the intersection of money and politics and tech. And she's been writing some of the most interesting articles this cycle about how campaigns are raising and spending, from the presidential race, on down the ballot. I'll ask her about how she approaches her coverage and get her insight on all things money and politics in the 2020 cycle. Our podcasts ,our discussion, it's brought to you by CallTime.AI.  

Sponsor:   1:06
You're listening to money in politics brought to you by CallTime.AI. Campaigning is hard. Why not make fundraising easy? Using automation and artificial intelligence CallTime.AI lets you fundraise five times faster with easy to use tools like instant donor research, automated voice mail drop and donor scoring. So you're always calling the right person at the right time with the right ask. Go online to CallTime.AI to schedule a demo and start your free trial today. 

Andrew Blumenfeld:   1:34
So I'm excited to be here today with Emily Glazer of the Wall Street Journal. Thank you so much for being here, Emily.

Emily Glazer:   1:40
Thank you for having me.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   1:42
Well, let's just dive in. But before we do get too far down into all the wonderful work you do, would you mind just starting with a brief introduction of who you are, what you do, maybe a little bit about how you got to doing what you do?

Emily Glazer:   1:53
Absolutely. So I am sitting in my living room in Los Angeles. Um, and I cover the intersection of tech, money, and politics for the Wall Street Journal. I'm one of two reporters that is on our D. C. Politics team covering in the 2020 election that are actually not in D. C. And so I spend a lot of time looking at the tech side of things, and especially how money plays a part as well, all towards this 2020 election that is ever-changing. And I got to this role kind of in a slightly bizarre way. I covered business and finance at the Wall Street Journal over the last decade-plus, and had just wrapped up five years covering big banks, a lot of that on Wells Fargo's implosion and really wanted to do something different. And I was very lucky that various Wall Street Journal editors were open to me coming into the politics world without a lot of experience, but bringing the experience I did have covering business and finance to that new role that we crafted. And so a lot of it has been looking at how money, plays role in politics and also how a lot of the big tech platforms whether Facebook, Google, Twitter, play a role and kind of jumping in in different parts, whether it's related to Democrats, Trump and Republicans or elsewhere.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   3:11
So as someone who's an L. A native, I have a lot of appreciation for any coverage that originates with the perspective of someone in a LA so I love that

Emily Glazer:   0:00
You're an OG Angeleno

Andrew Blumenfeld:   3:24
Exactly. There's not a ton of us. We really we love when, when some reporting comes out of this side of the country and and also yeah, the intersection of money and politics, it's and technology just sort of sits squarely at the center of all the work that we do and what we discuss on this podcast. So it's really great to have you. I'm curious about how you know, starting right with your coverage of money in politics, it's not always the most obvious piece of the campaign to cover. Obviously, it sort of is part of your beat, so to speak. So it's something that the lens through which you're looking at things. But I wonder, how do you decide when to incorporate money into the races that you're covering? How do you decide that something about the money aspect has has reached some bar of newsworthiness?

Emily Glazer:   4:07
That's a great question. I was going to say that's the $1,000,000 question, but that is way too cheesy. Obviously, there are so many different ways that that money could fit into our coverage and force. I'm not the only one covering this. We've got amazing folks on our team like Julie Bykowicz, who covers money in politics, Chad Day and others that are looking at this from different angles. And, you know, we're often writing about Democrats. But also a huge part of this is how President Trump fits into everything with his re-election campaign. So for me, especially, it really is from both the Democrat and the Republican side. I would say when it comes to my coverage, a lot of stories we are writing are either trying to have scoops or doing a lot of like enterprise news features that are longer-term and so money can come into play because it's who's behind a candidate or campaign, and that's a huge interest area for us. As we looked throughout 2019 and into 2020 so far, there was so much interest in which donors were backing who. Was there new money coming in? What about Silicon Valley? You know it's not. And what about the Wall Street donors and who was backing whom, where and when were they changing sides and what did that all mean? So there was a lot of interest in that, especially in 2019 when there were a lot more candidates and it was trying to figure out who's raising money and who could be viable and have enough to stay in the race. And then for me, especially, I think just being at the Wall Street Journal, I've always wanted to follow the money. That's something that we talked about a lot, because money can often lead to big decisions happening, money can lead to power, and money can lead to who's in the race and who isn't. So that's also just a really big part of the coverage,

Andrew Blumenfeld:   5:46
And to make it even more practical and specific. You covered a lot of the Buttigieg campaign, and that campaign comes to mind in large part because they did receive a lot of scrutiny. I think you're right to say in 2019 a lot of the campaigns, a lot of the focus for all of them, was where they're getting their money, how are they spending their money? But this sort of infamous wine caves of the Buttigieg campaign is probably one of the lasting kind of memories of the 2019 part of the primary, so It's certainly stuck and must have struck a chord. So I'm just curious about specifically with regards to that campaign. How did you think about telling their story through the lens of money? What were the kinds of considerations? And also, what was the story from your perspective? Now that that campaign is over? Kind of what was the big money story about the Buttigieg campaign and how it sat in the 2019 primary?

Emily Glazer:   6:37
Well, first, let's just talk about the wine caves for a moment.    

Andrew Blumenfeld:   0:00
Please  

Emily Glazer:   6:40
I remember being at one of the Democratic debates in Los Angeles, and I was walking the floor of the spin room when people do a lot of their interviews after the debate actually happens. And it was actually my first time attending a debate and out in helping to cover it with other members of the Wall Street Journal team, and I had no idea what to expect. And the Spin room was all new. I mean, I was used to covering bank earnings and regulatory settlements and like meeting with sources surreptitiously on like second floors of random cafes like in weird parts of Manhattan. So this is all very new to me. And I just remember that some folks on the Sanders team, because they have they're holding their different signs on the floor of the spin room after the debate, were wearing like shirts that said something along the lines of like, we don't have wine caves or no fundraising in wine caves for us. Like when you said that I was just smiling, thinking back to that moment where I was just generally confused about everything going on and just love seeing that. But okay, I digress, I definitely want to answer your question. So my colleague Julie Bykowicz and John McCormick and others on our team and I did a lot of coverage of the Buttigieg campaign, and there were some money stories that I helped out with specifically, and I think there we were really interested in understanding how the now-former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, could actually get this massive fundraising momentum and how it was all coming together. And, you know, a big part of that is who was working on the campaign. The head of fundraising was very well known in Silicon Valley and had a huge just swath of connections in the tech space. And even though we had seen, you know, kind of the usual names that spend money in Democratic fundraising, whether Reid Hoffman, Lincoln co founder Ron Conway venture capitalists, were kind of like a few names that people would keep spitting off. But the Buttigieg campaign really managed to go so far deeper than that. And got a lot of newer, younger donors, more diverse donors, and people who had money you were not necessarily interested or giving money to politics before whether Democrats or Republicans. And so we had written a couple of different stories about you know, how they were able to leverage the kind of sense that he was part of the next generation of politics and that he was gay and what that meant for people in the LGBTQ community and that, you know, just kind of going to people in different major cities where there tends to be a lot of money. Whether San Francisco, Los Angeles, you know, the Hollywood community, and New York in terms of the finance community, and getting a lot of folks that both had been establishment donors, you know, like the Orin Kramers of the world who is a huge Obama backer, all the way down to people whose names folks may have never heard of unless they were in a particular sector. And then just getting a lot of those folks at scale and really able to raise, you know, tens of millions of dollars in each quarter just kind of come out with these huge numbers. And it was really interesting, especially if someone who had not been a longtime political reporter to see and hear about some of the newer things that they were doing and how they were kind of treating their donors and engaging them and trying to do it in a way that felt fresh and new and different.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   9:56
It's interesting to hear you explain that as juxtapose to the rhetoric that was laid at his feet. As you also point out from that story of the spin room right, it was on the one hand, the story you're telling about his fundraising suggests that one of the hallmarks of it was its capacity to expand the universe of donors beyond sort of the likely suspects, although it yeah, while also getting the likely suspects. But going beyond the likely suspects, which is certainly, you know, when you talk about it from a voter perspective, that is sort of uniformly sort of nodded at as a positive thing. Oh, great. You're expanding the electorate. You're bringing more people into the fray. I think there are people, I've certainly spoken to, several of them who feel that that's often not given enough credit in the fundraising space. If you see a candidate who maybe isn't raising the same dollars as their other opponent? Often we're talking about local first-time candidates, but that they haven't raised the same amount of money as their opponents, but that they feel they're being underappreciated for the way in which they've expanded the universe of donors here on a grand scale, it sounds like he's simultaneously expanding the universe of donors, but being sort of called out as a creature of only the super-elite, I mean, from your perspective, is that right? And b are those two things truly in conflict with one another? Or or was it just true that, yes, he will, simultaneously expanding the universe of donors, and he was also nevertheless, by virtue of his fundraising, he was you know, palling around with with very wealthy people just just knew very wealthy people.

Emily Glazer:   11:28
Totally. Well, I think what we saw with the sometimes record-setting number of Democrats that were running for president and all of the new ways that that fundraising was changing, both with a massive expansion of online grassroots donors, and then from the start, some of the people running president, their campaigns saying that they would not accept PAC money. Everything was kind of changing a lot. And there was a sense that, you know, raising big money was almost seen as, like bad, especially if you were coming from the Sanders or the Warren campaigns that were all about smaller dollar fundraising and not hosting fundraisers. So with that being the context that was set, there were so much judgment and different kind of negative responses when any of the candidates would have some of these like swanky high dollar fundraisers. And, you know, hosting one in a wine cave is definitely not going to get you a pass. But I think that the Buttigieg campaign it seemed like they were able to do both, and that was part of why others were scared and feared the amount of money that they were raising both through online grassroots and the traditional, more establishment high dollar fundraisers. And so maybe that's the model that needs to happen now. We see that, you know, with Trump's campaign, which is just raising unbelievable amounts of money through a mixture of high dollar fundraisers, back when we could host those in person, different days, and a mixture of grassroots online through their massive, sophisticated digital operation. So it seems like that's the direction where fundraising is moving in when you're talking about a presidential race and when it comes to a local, at least from some of the reporting that I've done on that more recently, it seems to be the same, and I don't want to get ahead of us and start talking about Coronavirus and how that's impacted everything, we'll get there. But nowadays it's like you, you do need both of those because otherwise you're kind of screwed.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   13:24
Yeah, well, let's let's get there now, because I think it is a topic that is on every campaign and candidate and finance director consultant, you name it. I talked to them and if not the first thing we talk about then one of the main sources of consternation is, What do I do now? How do I adjust now? And everything from how they thought about what kind of spending they would do and what kind of investments they would make through to the other side of things, how they're actually gonna raise the revenue that they need? Raise the money that they need to fund their campaigns? It's all just requiring, to put it modestly recalibration. So I'm just curious from your reporting and especially the more recent reporting of the campaigns that are trying to innovate, trying to figure out what to do. What are you seeing? Are you seeing any trends in that? Has anything emerged yet as sort of a quote-unquote best practice, or at least a perceived best practice? Or is it still just people trying out new things? And we're still trying to see what sticks?

Emily Glazer:   14:17
I would say it's a mix of all of the above, so let's take a little trip down memory lane. I just realized now that we're at Thursday, so personally, I've been self quarantining for four weeks now. And as soon as I started working from home and just like everyone else, watching the news and since I cover a lot of my job is tech and politics, I was really wondering, like, how are people connecting? How are they gonna campaign like, What does this all mean and especially, like, What does it mean for the fundraising part of it? Like can either campaigns from different parties, whether down-ballot or presidential like can they raise enough money to stay in this? And it's happening at a time when there's a global pandemic. Like there's so much crisis, the market is kind of unstable and you know, cratering some days and jumping back with the next. And people are getting furloughed or laid off, or, you know, just all these things are happening, right? And so because of that, there's so much more uncertainty. And I would say, even in these four weeks that I've been looking at it, there have been massive changes, so I might just kind of answer your question chronologically if that works. I would say, you know, when we first started writing about this literally a month ago and it was like virtual town halls and like virtual fundraising. What does that mean? And we saw that the Trump campaign was like, far out ahead of the crowd because they already had this really sophisticated digital operation that could scale, same thing with Bernie Sanders's campaign R I P. To that. But they really did have a really kind of well-oiled machine and were able to experiment and use platforms in ways that were far different than the Biden campaign. And then, of course, just they had way more resources, both Trump and Sanders campaigns, to scale and already had different platforms, in some cases customized what they were already using. So we kind of saw that from the get-go, the difference in what was possible when, even though the Bernie Sanders campaign was doing more of live rallies, they were able to kind of bring in these like musicians as guests and, you know, have, like fundraising bars at the top to even ask for money and just stuff that seemed like a super-advanced compared to other campaigns that we're looking at, like how do I use Zoom? What is Facebook live? Do we have people for this like, how can we make sure we stay connected without technological snafus? And you know, it's no secret the Biden campaign did struggle with that and had a much smaller kind of bare-bones vigil operation that it has been building up. So that's what we kind of saw about a month ago or so. And then as things evolved, I think people realized, Look, the stay at home orders were coming in. It was very clear, like we were not going to be gathering in person anytime soon. I think the Trump campaign was one of the last ones, you know. They had kind of held a couple of in-person fundraisers and then finally had canceled all those or at least postpone them. So then it became this thing of, Okay, there cannot be in person fundraisers anymore. How are you going to connect with people to raise money both high dollar donors and grassroots? So we saw a lot of folks moving to doing call time and boosting that amount of time, something that you and I have talked about, you know, how do they say organized with that? And then also figuring out like Should the call time be facetime like What do you know? What level are you going to give the donors, are you gonna video call with them? And then I would say, as we got into, like the true to three week period, we started seeing more and more especially like using Zoom videoconferencing fundraiser so that people could still feel like they had that in-person connection and could ask questions. And it was a little bit more interactive. And even though that doesn't replicate in-person fundraisers, it is a lot more than just having a phone call or getting an email or a message. And so we've seen campaigns, but with at the presidential level all the way down, I was just talking to a bunch of folks running for local and state races that are figuring out how to do that. There's a lot more to this, but I'll just say one of the things that we've also seen candidates do is like what can they offer, like what is something special, that they can kind of make people feel like they are V. I P. and getting access to something that might be different while we're in this pandemic. And so we've seen people from former vice president Biden to I was talking to a congressional candidate in Ohio where they're bringing in public health experts and almost doing like interviews. And that's the way that they're doing fundraisers. So you're getting different pieces of information that while those might not be like, exclusive and unheard of, it's still access to a conversation with officials that you typically would not have access to in a way more exclusive setting where you're able to ask questions instead of say, you know, watching those people on TV from your living room.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   19:05
I actually recently heard from someone on the finance team of the Buttigieg campaign, speaking of that campaign, where, and I'm looking to learn a lot more about this because I think it's fascinating and timely for folks, but basically this individual was sharing with me all of the many ways in which they had been running basically digital zoom based or some digital conference based event fundraisers from early early on in the campaign, you know where they had sort of come to the conclusion early on that their best asset was how impressed people were by this guy when they got to hear from him, and that he was so thoughtful and was great answering their questions, and this was just something they wanted to go. But that weren't necessarily enough high dollar donors in some parts of the country to justify putting together a whole event in traveling to it. And so especially early on, they were sharing all the innovations there. So I'm eager to talk to him about that and share with folks because I think it's an interesting example, speaking of the Buttigieg campaign of where, and I think you mentioned it with regards to Trump and Sanders, there definitely were some campaigns that were just a little bit more equipped to roll with the punches, so to speak, you know, just because of their built-in capacity already.

Emily Glazer:   20:15
Yeah, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the Warren campaign, which was also really advanced with technology. I remember when I was kind of looking into this in the beginning, mobilized America. Their platform had kind of glad that the Warren campaign had done some I think it was like Webinars where they would have folks on the policy team share stuff about policy proposals and how that was one way where they were interacting digitally. It wasn't done in person, but kind of sharing and giving something. Like You gotta give a little, get a little and that makes it right? Like, how can you convince people to spend their time listening to you and then potentially donating? And what kind of information are you going to share? And if you can't share the candidate because the candidate's time is limited, where else is almost like digital surrogates, right And like, how, how can you employ those people to be even more advantageous or benefit your campaign? And what kinds of so-called like insider info that isn't really insider but like is just enough to kind of tip over the edge and make people feel special? And I think that's something that a lot of campaigns I haven't seen it quite as much yet, and now that we're obviously just down to former vice president Biden competing against President Trump. I think there's a lot of things that may change, you know, in terms of just a one on one competition which you know, I think a lot of folks have kind of been waiting for. We finally have that, but we have that amid a pandemic. And so what kind of information is worth sharing without sharing Too much of, you know, the special secrets that come into play when you're trying to win a campaign or win an election amid a pandemic.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   21:52
So let's actually talk a little bit more about that, because we are, as we sit here today, just within the early hours of having what I suppose now can uniformly be called the presumptive nominee as Senator Sanders has dropped out. And I was just checking at the numbers that have posted through the end of February, which was the last period reported on to the FEC as to fundraising stats for the federal candidates, including the presidentials, that the cash on hand number for former Vice President Joe Biden is $12 million or so and that President Trump has about $94 million dollars cash on hand. So it's 94 million to 12 million as of the end of February in terms of cash on hand to spend. So, yes, we're in a very different moment, even today than we were a few days ago when there was technically still an ongoing primary. But what else has to happen aside from now the true an official and final consolidation of the nomination around Joe Biden? What else do you believe has to happen? What else have you started to see already begun to take place in order to close that gap just on, We'll start with the fundraising side. Then we can talk about the spending side, but just on that gap to start with 12 million - 94. I mean, that's that's not close.

Emily Glazer:   23:03
That is not close for anyone doing basic math at home. But you ask a really important question. And you know something that we've been definitely reporting on lately and what we expect to happen, what traditionally happens. And, you know, my colleague Ken Thomas, who covers the Biden campaign, is definitely an expert on this. But what we're expecting, and what we're hearing is that the Biden campaign will connect with the Democratic National Committee, and they will soon be able to do fundraising that is on a completely different scale. So to break this down a little bit more. You mentioned the FEC earlier. Individuals can only contribute up to 2800 for the primary or for the general. And even though that's a lot of money for some people, it is pennies for what we're talking about and what needs to be raised. And so from talking to sources, what I have been hearing is how there have been kind of strategic conversations within the Biden campaign. And then, of course, within the DNC soon those will, those are probably more formalized now, since he is the presumptive nominee, and they will eventually roll out something where they kind of team up on will allow people to donate on the scale of six figures or even seven figures so that they can start raising some massive, massive money for Biden, who's the presumptive nominee. A lot of that happens, and it's tied to the convention coming up in August, and obviously there's just like a whole lot of questions about how that will take place. We now know it's pushed back to August for the Democrats. Republicans are also already in August, but basically a lot of it is going back to people who have been high dollar donors in the past, especially those that have given above 100,000 and even those who have given millions and going back to them now or in the coming days and weeks and kind of pressing for Okay, how much can you give us? And is it's gonna be for the state party. Is it going to the DNC? Because the rules around the FEC numbers have shifted a little bit because now the DNC can more directly partner with the Biden campaign and raise this like really big money that will have a massive difference and ultimately try to compete against all the money that the Trump campaign has already raised.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   25:07
And so that brings us a little bit to the spending side of it. Because, as you mentioned earlier in this conversation, one of the big assets of the Trump campaign is that it has this all of the above approach to fundraising, which has manifested itself quite nicely, and their fundraising numbers, that is, they have intertwined themselves right from day one, with their national party, and all the institutional powers kind of are able to coalesce around him from the day of the inauguration. But also there's just this massive digital operation so that it's not just these high dollar donations that are coming in and massive sums through all these different avenues. It's also this smart digital program, which requires quite a heavy upfront investment. There's a lot of startup costs, and some of it doesn't yield returns until you've been kind of toiling away at it for a while. So is it even really reasonable for the for the Biden campaign for the Democratic side of this to imagine that they'll be able to so quickly catch up on that or they further along than I'm giving them credit?

Emily Glazer:   26:05
Great question, I would just say, like everyday, recently, I've been seeing these emails that I get, you know from the Trump campaign, where it has their online broadcast schedule for each week and like, for instance, this week, it's like black voices for Trump Online, Team Trump Online, American hero series, Women for Trump and Power hour, team Trump Online, War room weekly, these are Every day they've got stuff scheduled, so and they were able to kind of mobilize that program really quickly. Like what You were just talking about. The Biden campaign, we wrote a story about this recently, is in the midst of building up its digital operation. It is nowhere near where the Trump operation is right now, and it has a really long ways to go. And like you were saying, so much of that has to do with money. You have to hire people, we know the Biden campaign has talked to folks from the Bloomberg campaign that were doing stuff that was really experimental and different in terms of how they were engaging and interacting with people online and mobile social media, influencers, memes, stuff like that. So we know the Biden campaign has been talking to them sources have said. We also, so you have to have the money to hire people. And then you also have the money to have the tech infrastructure because the Biden campaign was so far behind and in part because they had not raised as much money as other campaigns because all this is intertwined. They did not have the same kind of customized platforms that the Sanders campaign, the Warren campaign, the Buttigieg campaign and others had built over many, many months and with many, many dollars, and a lot of resources is so. Our understanding is that the Biden campaign in recent weeks has been connecting with a lot of different political tech startups and talking with them about their different platforms to figure out what kind of ad hoc solutions they can employ now because they don't have the time to build stuff from scratch. So they have to pretty much use these different vendors and figure out what's possible with various vendors and how they can try to get closer to what the Trump campaign is doing. Can they catch up to the Trump campaign? I don't know. I mean, it's a long shot. It's kind of like this is a weird comparison. But like if the Olympics were to happen, you know, it's like there's the gold medalist who previously won in the Olympics, who's building off of why they got the gold medal. And then there are the people that are in almost like a completely different race, trying to catch up to the gold medalist, but without as many resources is and so it's like you're almost comparing two different, completely different things. So I would say we'll see, and also the whole environment that we're in has now changed. So maybe that does benefit one campaign versus the other

Andrew Blumenfeld:   28:44
Well, and I mean one of the things, and it's hard to know which way it goes, right, because we're in this pandemic, its forced people to think more about their digital operation. On the one hand, you would think that benefits the campaigns, as we've talked about throughout this conversation, that we're already ready, you know, that were already thinking digital first digital forward. On the other hand, it probably forces those that weren't as digitally competent to catch up with that gold medalist, right? I mean, if it wasn't enough incentive to just win the thing, which obviously you hope it would be at the very least, now it's not a matter of opinion of some people saying, Well, I think we can do this a different way, or I think the old fashioned ways tried and true. There is sort of not an option at this point. You are either going to be digitally competent on both the raising and the spending side, or you are I guess, just hoping that this pandemic clears up fast enough for you to go back to your completely normal ways, and that seems awfully naive.

Emily Glazer:   29:38
Exactly. And it was interesting to see candidates, if we go down ballot for a moment, there were some candidates in different states that were literally like We're just pausing our campaign operation. We're pausing as we're causing reaching out to you because I think they thought in a more short term way, Let's just let this whole pandemic thing blow over. Well, it's now mid-April. We all don't know when we're gonna kind of see normalcy again, and that can kind of come together in different ways. It's just There's so much uncertain about the coming months. There's a lot uncertain about the November election. There have been postponements of more than a dozen primaries. The Democratic convention was postponed. We're seeing local and state conventions scrambling to figure out what to do. Like everything is up in the air. So for some of those local, really local or state races, been really interesting to hear what some of those campaigns are up to. Like you said, there's kind of vast diversity in their resources, their tech-savviness, even just what they're capable of doing or feel comfortable doing. All that's been thrown out the window.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   30:42
Yeah, and I the uncertainty element of it is on the one hand, I think, one of the most crushing elements right, I've mentioned before that not even knowing what day you're election is happening is kind of the epitome of uncertainty, right?

Emily Glazer:   30:56
Right? Like since when is that a thing, right?

Andrew Blumenfeld:   30:58
That is never exactly. I mean, that has always been the given right. Everything else is the variable. But the constant is that election day will happen on June 2nd or whatever. And now, now, not so much. I also think, though on the other hand, you have definitely seen, I have mentioned before, especially to the many campaigns we talk to and help support, that it's a time for leadership, right? This is a front-row seat that voters have to, I mean, how you run your campaign is probably not foolishly used as a proxy for how you would serve in office by a lot of voters. Do you run a competent campaign? Are you adaptable? Are you demonstrating some sort of kind of moral and thoughtful leadership during this time? So just on that front, have you seen from those campaigns that maybe thought we're just gonna put a pause on now, Have you seen more recently any changes in their behavior or campaigns that are operating under a sort of new normal, as opposed to a this is a stopgap measure.

Emily Glazer:   31:53
Oh, totally, everything is on the table. So I want to take a moment and talk about Ohio. I just think it is one of the most fascinating. I can't wait for, like, the case studies that come out about this, and it's just wild. So we have the story this other day that published about what was happening, where the state's primaries had been delayed and how various candidates running for different elections in those states were managing the money. Like, you know, in one day they think that literally their race is the next day, and they're spending down almost to zero and the next day it's like, Oh, no, no, no. You've got several more weeks, in some cases, two months to stay afloat and keep going. And so I think that's like one way that I would answer Your question is were like All of a sudden everything is on the table. All this kind of mention a couple of specifics that I personally really enjoyed hearing about. I spoke with Republican Melissa Ackerson, who was running for state Senate in Ohio, and she was telling me how you know she was running against someone who's extremely well funded. And she was kind of seen as you know, not as much of a viable candidate, though she did have a lot of support from people who are Trump supporters. And so she purposefully planned, to do what she called like dropping bombs close to Election Day, where they were able to get a ton of big-dollar fundraisers to support them. And so they were able to all of a sudden have a ton of money raised. And that was part of their strategy was like to kind of seem like they weren't raising as much in the beginning and then as it got closer, become like very, very competitive. And so they ended up spending down as close to zero as you could get. That's what she told me where the bank account was, and had pretty much spent almost all their money. And then the night before, when everything was being spent, they were like, Wait, is this race even happening? And so they've now had to essentially, in her words, start from scratch, fundraise all over again, and have been investing really heavily in digital ads, especially on streaming service is like Hulu to take advantage of people that are watching a lot more streaming TV from home. So it was really interesting to hear her talk about that. On the flip side, and this is a different race, I spoke with Kate Schroder, who's a Democrat running for Congress, also in Ohio, and she was talking about how she literally wasn't sure if they could make payroll. I mean, this is, like insane, right? Like they thought the election was the next day and she had to call some, some of the high dollar donors talk about like intense call time basically being like, Can you help us fund operations and fund payroll? And you know, since then she's a public health expert and has been kind of leveraging, and this speaks your part about leadership and kind of where you come in, and kind of leveraging that to talk to people not only kind of hosting fundraisers with other public health officials and interviewing them, trying to answer people's questions when she can about coronavirus. And she serves on the Cincinnati Board of Health. These are just two, of a variety of examples. I just felt like because Ohio was delayed so suddenly and there wasn't as much time to prepare it really just  Threw everything out.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   35:12
Yeah, no, it was, I remember talking to some candidates from Ohio like the night before the election when they still didn't know if people were going to the polls the next day. Talk about uncertainty will last kind of topic here for you before I let you go. And it's on the topic, really, of being a journalist in this moment and let me define in this moment for a minute just to set the table. You are a journalist who covers the intersection, As we said, of technology, money, politics, and here we are in this, a little cliche to say, but the most consequential election of our of our time of a generation, right, but a very consequential election. You're no doubt right, presidential and then all the way down. And because it's happening in the midst of a pandemic, for all the rush to technology that was kind of already underway prior to this moment that is now just sort of exploded in some ways again in a very innovative way. Lots of new stuff. In some ways, it's become a put a whole new strain on campaigns. They've had to think differently about how they operate and leverage technology and the same thing with money. Right? We're sitting here, you mentioned the markets are very, you know, very unstable is probably most charitable way to put it right. Sometimes they're incredibly upset, is incredibly down, but certainly, a lot of turmoil, to say the very least. So I joked at the beginning that you sort of sit at the crossroads a lot of things that I live in care about, but you sort of sit at the crossroads right now of what this whole country is facing, you know, at least kind of went through the lens of politics. So just with that big setup, I'm just curious A. looking back on it so far, any sort of lessons in things you've had to think differently about how you approach your your journalism and B.  looking forward, how do you if you can venture to see into the next few months and maybe even all the way through to the fall, what are you on the lookout for? What are sort of the things that you think are gonna be the things we're talking about a few months from now?

Emily Glazer:   37:08
Those are heavy questions. You're giving me a lot of responsibility.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   37:11
I don't know. I don't take it lightly, though. I mean, I I worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 10 years. I love journalism to its core, and I do feel like right now, accurate, fair journalism is more important than ever, And so not to be super cheesy. But that makes me really proud of where I work where we try to really remain, you know, unbiased. And so that's a big part of how I'm trying to think about what we're writing about and do it in a fair way. And so I'm always kind of going through. My story is thinking, Do I have enough? Democratic examples are not have enough Republican examples. Am I being fair about how different parties air handling this? I would say the first, like a week or two of all this happening, you know, going back to like mid March. So much of it, like everyone else working in different places with, like, just kind of staying above water and kind of trying to do a good job and kind of not knowing what was happening and hoping to put out information that would be helpful, that made sense that was newsworthy and trying to figure out what that waas I mean, I have this, like Google Doc that it was like, literally, I think, labeled it Corona virus Impact knows. And then I soon realized there was not one document that would hold enough everything going high and how you know, I can't believe how naive I was to think only one Google doc would be appropriate for this. Obviously, things have changed since then. My own perspective. It continues to evolve as Asai talk to people. And I would say I just I wake up and I try to just get as many phone calls and meetings in as I can every day because I've been trying to go back to basics, which is the more you actually report and talk to people, then you will figure out what's going on. So I just joke like my calendar's just all these, like 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minute calls. And I just try to get them all in because that way I can try to figure out what's worth writing about what's new, what's changing instead of, you know, trying to pitch a story that I don't know much about. Or, you know, oftentimes, editors will say, What if you did this? And I want to be able to answer in a smart way? Well, that could be good, but I'm also hearing X, y and Z. So for me, a lot of this is like going back to the basics and just talking to people understanding what they're going through trying to peel back the different layers of the onion and like, does that mean we know what will go on in the future? I don't think so. I feel like a lot of the reporting that I'm doing, even though I wish I could say what was gonna happen in November, which a lot of my friends and family who keep asking me. I feel like we're trying to predict out a couple of weeks right now. That's kind of the most that that we can accurately and fairly do, based on what everyone knows or what we kind of notice to be standard in terms of what happens past that the only thing I could say is that I will still be reporting whether it's from my bed, my bed in my dining room table. You know that chair outside on the stoop of the living room, the couch like you name it. I'm trying to just talk to as many people as possible, and if people feel like they have stuff that's important to say and we have not connected, I will make this pitch get in touch with me. I have no qualms whether you know you're all the way high off or just kind of doing your thing a day in and day out for campaigns or politics were interested. We really want to know what's going on.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   0:00
 End on a light note

Emily Glazer:   0:00
I don't know. I don't take it lightly, though. I mean,  I worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 10 years and I love journalism to its core, and I do feel like right now, accurate, fair journalism is more important than ever, And so not to be super cheesy, but that makes me really proud of where I work where we try to really remain, you know, unbiased. And so that's a big part of how I'm trying to think about what we're writing about and do it in a fairway. And so I'm always kind of going through my stories thinking, do I have enough Democratic examples, do I have enough Republican examples? Am I being fair about how different parties are handling this? I would say the first, like a week or two of all this happening, you know, going back to like mid-March, so much of it, like everyone else working in different places with, like, just kind of staying above water and kind of trying to do a good job and kind of not knowing what was happening and hoping to put out information that would be helpful, that made sense that was newsworthy and trying to figure out what that was. I mean, I have this, like Google Doc that it was like, literally, I think, labeled it Coronavirus Impact notes. And then I soon realized there was not one document that would hold enough everything going on and how you know, I can't believe how naive I was to think only one Google doc would be appropriate for this. Obviously, things have changed since then. My own perspective, it continues to evolve as I talk to people. And I would say I just I wake up and I try to just get as many phone calls and meetings in as I can every day because I've been trying to go back to basics, which is the more you actually report and talk to people, then you will figure out what's going on. So I just joke like my calendar's just all these, like 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minute calls. And I just try to get them all in because that way I can try to figure out what's worth writing about what's new, what's changing instead of, you know, trying to pitch a story that I don't know much about. Or, you know, oftentimes, editors will say, What if you did this? And I want to be able to answer in a smart way? Well, that could be good, but I'm also hearing X, y and Z. So for me, a lot of this is like going back to the basics and just talking to people understanding what they're going through trying to peel back the different layers of the onion and like, does that mean we know what will go on in the future? I don't think so. I feel like a lot of the reporting that I'm doing, even though I wish I could say what was gonna happen in November, which a lot of my friends and family who keep asking me. I feel like we're trying to predict out a couple of weeks right now. That's kind of the most that that we can accurately and fairly do, based on what everyone knows or what we kind of notice to be standard in terms of what happens past that the only thing I could say is that I will still be reporting whether it's from my bed, my bed in my dining room table. You know that chair outside on the stoop of the living room, the couch like you name it. I'm trying to just talk to as many people as possible, and if people feel like they have stuff that's important to say and we have not connected, I will make this pitch get in touch with me. I have no qualms whether you know you're all the way high off or just kind of doing your thing a day in and day out for campaigns or politics were interested. We really want to know what's going on.

Andrew Blumenfeld:   40:30
Well, that's great. I'm gonna leave it there because I think that's a wonderful place. People should know that they should absolutely reach out. And I just want to take the last minute to just say thank you, not just for taking some time to chat with me today in the midst of a schedule that I know is full of calls but also just for continuing to do the coverage that you do. I mean it is, as you point out, it's an incredibly critical time to get the story, get the story right and to get it out to people. And for those of us that are kind of homebound, as many of us are, having a source of honest, transparent information about what's going on out there has always been important. It's never been more acutely important. So thanks so much for all you do and thanks for joining us today. You can stay in touch with every new conversation, every new episode by subscribing to the money and politics podcast, and we, of course, have even more content available on our blog. You can access that at www.calltime.ai