Dear reader: A Democratic interest group needs you - yes, you! - to help thank Hillary Clinton for her service as secretary of State.
Over the last week, countless thousands of liberal-leaning voters have received emails from advocacy organizations enlisting them in a triumphant sendoff for the former first lady. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign have all contacted supporters with a simple request: sign a thank-you card for Clinton and show her how much you care.
"Hillary's really going to love this," the DCCC wrote in an email last Friday. "Since yesterday, over 170,000 of you have thanked Secretary Clinton for her almost thirty years of service to this country. That's incredible!"
Blasting out a compendium of "Hillary's best moments" at the State Department, EMILY's List told recipients: "We're so grateful for Hillary's service to our country and for being a beacon of hope to women around the world and we know you are too ... P.S. If you haven't added your name to our thank you card for Hillary's service to our country, give Hillary your message of thanks and sign right now."
A Tuesday email from Planned Parenthood began with the subject line: "Say THANKS to the one and only Hillary."
Of course, there's more than simple gratitude at play here. By urging recipients to sign their names to a list, groups can collect information about their backers and the issues that engage them. Using social media to push out thank-you messages - or petitions, "birthday cards" and other such signature-gathering items - campaigns and outside groups expand their universe of contacts for the future.
Ideally, recipients forward the messages to their friends and family, and more email addresses pile up.
It's a testament to Clinton's unique place in Democratic politics that so many groups would hold her up as a figure for their supporters to rally around: more than any other politician, except maybe President Barack Obama, she commands broad and energetic loyalty across the center-left.
The groups "thanking" her this week say there's nothing insincere about their applause for Clinton. If they happen to be building their email lists and databases at the same time, that takes nothing away from her status as a national political symbol and substantive accomplishments on areas such as LGBT issues and women's rights.
"There are people that, for reasons you cannot fully explain, become icons. And she is one of them," said Fred Sainz, vice president of the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign. "She is deserving of this moment where her decades of service are acknowledged."
Said Sainz: "The gays love Hillary. There's really no more simple way to say it."
Democratic strategist Tracy Sefl, a veteran of the 2008 Clinton campaign, joked that it's "only unfortunate [Clinton] couldn't get a commission for every single time her name has helped."
"She's been out of politics for four years. The real, human, living, breathing Hillary Clinton has been out for politics for four years. But she is unarguably the nucleus for Democratic politics looking ahead," Sefl said. "While she is catching up on her sleep, I hope that the same groups that are fundraising and list-building are also furthering her good work."
Clinton isn't the only figure who's served as an electronic crowd-pleaser over the last few years, amid the dawn of the digital campaign age. Republican groups have urged their voters to "Stand with Paul Ryan" - or Sarah Palin, or Allen West, over the course of the 2010 and 2012 campaigns.
Just as often, the list-gathering ploy involves focusing fired-up base voters' ire at the other side: Sign a petition against the Obamacare mandate! Tell Mitt Romney you are the 47 percent!
Chris Maiorana, the former marketing director at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said these list-building shticks work, however hokey they may seem.
"For social media, it's a great way to unlock a sizable universe of data. For most of my clients, their social media universes are bigger than their opt-in email list. So these techniques are perfect for data mining," said Maiorana, noting that the range of groups joining Clinton's cheering section "shows where their '16 thinking is."
As for the fact that multiple groups are all playing the same card simultaneously, Maiorana said, "It will diminish response for people with less of a connection. When I was at the NRSC I almost always avoided a topic the RNC digital [team] or [Bush-Cheney campaign] was pushing."
"As for hard-core Hillary fans, it's their digital catnip and they will probably sign multiple times for multiple groups," he said.
The avalanche of praise for Clinton comes as no surprise to the constellation of Democratic operatives in and around her orbit, who fully recognize her emotional resonance within the party.
While the 2016 campaign is a long way off - and Clinton has consistently disavowed interest in running for president again - her grip on the emotional loyalties of the Democratic base is unmistakable.
"Besides [Obama], Hillary is the only active, or perhaps more important, potentially active political icon in America today," said Democratic strategist Jonathan Prince, who worked for the Bill Clinton White House in the 1990s. "She represents more than just herself - her name conjures up lots of people's aspirations for the future, for progressive politics, for women, for America."
That's an exalted status other potential presidential candidates are far from attaining. Consider: how many signatures would a thank-you note for "Andrew,""Martin,""Kirsten" or even "Joe" collect?
"There are others who have or have had that kind of iconic status, like Bill Clinton, but nobody else who might still take the field," said Prince.
Ann Lewis - the former communications director for HillPAC and a familiar name for recipients of Democratic fundraising mail - said the Clinton-boosting emails reflected "the new political environment" in which outside groups are as much a part of Democratic infrastructure as the official party itself.
"Nothing about people's attachment to enthusiasm about Hillary can surprise me," she said. "I would see it more as an expression of enthusiasm ... and support rather than a clear, defined political strategy."
One Democratic operative involved in a Clinton-boosting group put it even more bluntly.
"Hillary Clinton is the single most popular force in American politics," the operative said. "You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to send that email."
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