An Open Letter to Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Dear Julia Brownley, Team Julia, and Julia’s ipad,

We, the people of the internet, understand that in owning an email address we accept certain risks.  One of those risks is that, during an election year, our addresses can be sold to non-local campaigns hoping to attract out-of-state donors.  These campaigns generally herald from places that don’t have enough in-district donors/in-district people, and the DCCC itself, which has set a standard in terms of generating panicky emails and sending them to random lists of voters.

Enter you, Julia Brownley, the medium-irrelevant Congresswoman to a medium-irrelevant district in California that is under constant threat from Republican challengers because of the number of medium-suspect people that live there.  You too purchased an email list of unsuspecting out-of-district residents after thinking, “I’d better fundraise so I don’t lose this seat.”  It’s tough out in Oxnard for a...person.  We feel for you.  

Well, actually, we would feel for you.  We’d love to feel for you.  We’d give anything to be at a point where it made sense to feel for you.  Instead, we routinely encourage a Republican, any Republican, to take your seat.  Wondering why?  Well, Julia Brownley, THIS is why:

Lila's inbox circa 2014

Lila's inbox circa 2014

Brent's inbox circa right this moment

Brent's inbox circa right this moment

It’s important for us to note that the list of emails shown in the inbox above is so far from complete that it’s not even funny.  These are only the emails that remain because our fingers and brains have been unable to keep up with the deluge.  These are the emails that, even in our diligence, we could not manage to delete.  It’s been too hard to keep up for too long.

Based on the evidence, we can only assume that our only route off of your email list would be to have you lose your seat to Republican.  It is literally going to take you no longer existing as a candidate for us to be able to live in peace again.  (For doubters: Lila has routinely mentioned on the podcast the incident in which she clicked “unsubscribe” from Julia’s list only to be met with a message that said “thank you for unsubscribing from most of Julia Brownley’s emails.”)

It’s clear that the root cause of your email overreach is a common political misunderstanding, so we wanted to step in.  Here’s the deal, Julia: you are a Democrat who brings nothing unique to the Democratic congressional caucus.  In fact, while you represent no specific causes that would generate positive out-of-district interest in you, you sometimes bungle simple votes that generate negative attention instead.  You’re right to think that some candidates can pull off this whole outside fundraising thing, but you are not one of them.  You are no Sherrod Brown or Bernie Sanders or, hell, Ted Cruz.  In a GOP-controlled House, your moderate-ness is next-to-meaningless.  You are just some person in some seat in some place who fundamentally misunderstands your place in the political spectrum and, most egregiously, fundamentally misunderstands the etiquette of emailing strangers.

It is 2015.  It is an off year.  The presidential election is the only exciting thing going on in politics right now since zero people are currently running for Congress.  Somehow we still get emails from you daily.  Often times we get MULTIPLE emails from you daily. These are emails asking for our money, asking us to ask other people for their money, and asking us to panic about Republicans without reason.  We read the news, we don’t need your fundraising success to be a measure of how scary Republicans are.  We have brains.

What’s especially annoying is that you KNOW you’re over-emailing us.  If the first line of your email is “I know I just emailed you this morning”, then here’s what we want you to do:  STOP YOUR DAMN SELF.  During election years you literally lap the DCCC, the world’s most aggressive emailing organization, in your effort to take our money, money that will buy us nothing in terms of defining the Democratic congressional agenda for the better.  In 2014 you sent repeat emails multiple days in a row that repeatedly declared all hope was lost (how were you able to experience something as definitively conclusive as a “FINAL nail in the coffin” twice in three days?).

You enlisted Joe Biden to send us emails.

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You tried to guilt us.

Also, the emails you’ve been sending us have been misleading.  Here you are telling us about your “heartbreaking end” in the week before the 2014 elections.

Except you weren’t being outspent as you imply here.  According to your local Fox affiliate KEYT - KCOY - KKFX, you were outspending your opponent 2-1 AS YOU SENT THAT EMAIL!  

And who can forget the recount fundraising dramas of 2014, where you requested over and over the funds for a recount that never happened, and wouldn’t have been funded by your campaign anyway (recounts in California are paid for by the challenger and you were the one leading in total votes)?

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Not only are your emails beyond annoying, but they’re disingenuous too.

We, like many internet people, use email to communicate with colleagues, family, and friends and try to keep our inboxes free of clutter.  You, an individual Congresswoman from rando-California-land are the biggest current threat to our email sanity.  Not the DNC.  Not  Hell, not even  YOU.  

The DCCC stopped emailing when the election was over.  You did not.  Now is the time.

Over and out,

The Brain Trust


3:45 PM Addendum:

This speaks for itself.