In This Episode
- Pollsters and pundits warned there would be a “red wave” of Republican victories on Election Day, but the results tell a different story. We share some of the big wins for Democrats that have been called so far.
- Democrat Raphael Warnock is once again heading into a runoff election in the Georgia Senate race. Tia Mitchell, the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tells us what voters in that state can expect in the weeks ahead.
- And in headlines: Brittney Griner was transferred to a Russian penal colony to serve out her nine-year prison sentence, Moscow said it ordered a troop withdrawal from the city of Kherson, and Meta laid off more than 11,000 of its employees.
- AP News: 2022 midterms live updates – https://tinyurl.com/2p8u52z2
- Tia Mitchell (Twitter) – @tiareports
Crooked Coffee is officially here. Our first blend, What A Morning, is available in medium and dark roasts. Wake up with your own bag at crooked.com/coffee
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whataday/
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, November 10th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day where we’re currently seeking new hobbies to get in to as a way to redirect our residual midterm anxiety.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, we need a little something to do with our hands, something to focus on while we wait for results.
Juanita Tolliver: What we’re looking for is a fidget spinner.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So if anyone has one of those, please send it over. We could use it. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, Brittney Griner has been moved to a Russian prison camp. Plus, a major cryptocurrency exchange backed out of a deal to acquire one of its struggling rivals.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, more updates from Tuesday’s midterm elections. The polls and the pundits told us to brace ourselves for a red wave. But as the results came in on election night, it was clear that that wasn’t happening. And now we have even more good news to share.
Juanita Tolliver: To paraphrase President Biden, what wave, insert, hair, flip, you know. Let’s start with the top of the ticket here. We got some big news late Tuesday night with John Fetterman’s Senate win in Pennsylvania. What else do we know, Priyanka?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, that was super exciting. The result came in faster than we were even expecting. The people of Pennsylvania just couldn’t wait I guess to send Dr. Oz and his crudités back home to New Jersey, [laughter] don’t have any problems with that. However, in Wisconsin, Democrat Mandela Barnes lost to Republican Ron Johnson by less than 30,000 votes. That one was tough to watch.
Juanita Tolliver: Tight yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: Very tight. But there are still three big Senate races that we are currently waiting on. So in Georgia, neither Senator Warnock nor Herschel Walker got over 50% of the vote. So they are heading to a runoff election on December 6th, Juanita I know you are talking a little bit more about this later on in the show. We’re also keeping a really close eye on the Senate results out of Nevada and Arizona. So as of our record time at 9:30 p.m. eastern, democrat Mark Kelly is leading the race in Arizona. And in Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt is slightly ahead of the Democratic incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto. But both races are close and still have a good amount of votes outstanding.
Juanita Tolliver: And y’all, this is going to be a slow drip. You got some counties in Arizona that are only doing one update on ballot counts per date. So we all got to hang in there together. There were also some big issues on the ballot, ranging from abortion to election access. What do we know there Priyanka?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, so these are issues that pundits tried to say, you know, weren’t motivating voters. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.
Juanita Tolliver: Wrong.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. [laughter] Very, very wrong. We spoke a little bit about the abortion wins on yesterday’s show, but voters in four states Vermont, California, Michigan and Kentucky all voted to affirm abortion rights. Vermont, California and Michigan enshrine the right to an abortion in their respective state constitutions, while Kentucky voters rejected an amendment that would have denied constitutional protections to abortion.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, I’m really feeling the I told you so energy. I’ve seen staffers from the White House posting about, you know, when people were asking if the VP was focusing on abortion too much, they’re like, no, we know exactly what we’re doing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yup.
Juanita Tolliver: And also, I appreciate that in Kentucky, Republicans got in on that support for–
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh totally.
Juanita Tolliver: –Protecting abortion rights.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, you don’t get that result in Kentucky without people, you know, who voted one way on the top of the ticket, voting another on this amendment.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: There are also some really big voting rights wins in Michigan. Voters expanded vote by mail and early voting. Michigan Democrats actually had a huge night that we should take a second to talk about because it was really exciting. So their Democrats held on to the governor’s seat with Gretchen Whitmer, the attorney general’s office, the secretary of state. And they managed to flip the state House and the Senate. So on top of, you know, their Abortion Rights Act says, their Voting Rights Act says it’s a really great day to be in Michigan. We also saw wins for workers. Voters in both Nebraska and D.C. approved higher minimum wages, South Dakota expanded Medicaid access and Illinois voters amended the Constitution to guarantee workers rights to unionize and collectively bargain. And separately, marijuana legalization passed in Missouri and in Maryland. There was also this bizarre ban on slavery out of Tennessee that passed as well, which I mean, I guess it’s a win, but over 300,000 people voted against it. So that’s really not great and reassuring at all whatsoever.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, I love the trifecta. I love raising the minimum wage, legalization, Medicaid expansion, and people are clearly voting for what they want. But here’s the thing, Priyanka, as a girl who spent most of my childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, I’m not surprised that 300,000 people voted to keep slavery as an option. And my sister was just so fed up last night, she texted me like, Tennessee is just a ridiculous place to live at this point. I hate existing here. It’s exhausting.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh no.
Juanita Tolliver: And so I empathize with my family who’s still in the volunteer state. But let’s be real. I’m glad that the slavery ban panned out the way that it did. On a lighter note, you mentioned voting rights and democracy. Let’s talk about all of the election denier candidates on the ballot. How did they end up doing?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so it was a little bit of a mixed bag. According to The New York Times, over 370 Republican candidates nationwide have denied or questioned the results of the 2020 election. And of those candidates, at least 169 have won their races. So this is definitely not something that is going away with the results of this election. But in governors races across the country, most of the Republican candidates who wouldn’t say whether or not they would have certified Biden’s win in 2020 lost their elections. That includes Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania. Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Lee Zeldin in New York and more. We are, of course, still waiting on the Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs race in Arizona. As of now, they are still very close. So naturally, the Republican candidate, Kari Lake, is casting doubts on the results already.
Juanita Tolliver: Of course.
Priyanka Aribindi: Great. Got ahead of it. I will also just add like a fun little petty note for us uh, Donald Trump was reportedly fuming Wednesday morning after at least 14 of the candidates that he chose to back were projected to lose. He was pissed off at everyone around him, including his wife, I believe, because she liked Dr. Oz. Uh. So, yeah, things are going great for him down there.
Juanita Tolliver: I just love the image of orange faced guy, like throwing a temper tantrum, which is all his fault. Let’s be real.
Priyanka Aribindi: Completely.
Juanita Tolliver: He hand picked most of these candidates that–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: –Dragged down the entire Republican ticket in some states. And so I I think you’re right, though, we cannot expect these election deniers to go away because there will be some crazy behavior to come in Congress since they’ll be seated there. But I do think the one race I still got my eye on is Colorado three, where Boebert at the time of our recording is down 62 votes, y’all it’s tight. But I’m holding out hope. Priyanka. Let’s talk more about what’s going on in the house. What else do we know so far?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, on that Boebert race note like every single vote counts please go out and vote like–
Juanita Tolliver: Every vote counts y’all.
Priyanka Aribindi: We are down to the wire here. And that might be the difference between keeping this woman in Congress and sending her crazy ass home. Anyway, speaking of the House, there are still a number of House races that haven’t been called yet. 34, as of you know, when we went to record, have not been called. But Democrats have had some really exciting wins so far. And starting with progressive House candidates, there is talk of new members joining the squad of progressive lawmakers that started back in 2018 with AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Talib. This year’s class of progressives includes friend of the WAD, Maxwell Frost of Florida, Delia Ramirez of Illinois, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, and Greg Casar of Texas. They are some really exciting candidates who are now headed to D.C., which is great. So far, Republicans have gained 12 net seats, which is, you know, very different than the picture that was being painted earlier. But many observers are looking at New York as somewhere that might cost Democrats control of the House. You know, control of the House has not been decided yet, same as the Senate. They’re still up for grabs. But in New York, Republicans have picked up four new seats, including one that was previously held by DCCC chair Sean Maloney. But some context around those wins because you might be hearing a lot more about that in the coming days. They have a bit to do with New York’s congressional map, which was struck down by the courts and then redrawn. Meanwhile, though aggressive Republican gerrymanders in states like Florida and Ohio were pushed through, were not redrawn in the same ways. So just something to keep in mind as you hear analysis about these elections moving forward.
Juanita Tolliver: And when I think about those congressional maps, I’m starting to see signs point to one infamous New York figure, Andrew Cuomo, who appointed the judges, who struck down those redrawn maps. And I feel like New York Dems are coming for him at a whole new level now, but that it is what it is. And I agree with what President Biden said earlier today about every seat loss being painful. But let’s be real. This outcome is pretty amazing for Democrats. It exceeds expectations and–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: –It’s the best that a first term Dem president has performed in a midterms in decades. So look, this is key. I think it’s also a clear example of what happens when young voters turn out at crazy rates. So shout out to the young voters–
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally.
Juanita Tolliver: –Getting Democrats across the finish line.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely.
Juanita Tolliver: And Priyanka, you mentioned the Georgia Senate runoff earlier and right after that runoff was set, I got to check in with Tia Mitchell, the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And I got all of the tea about what’s happening on the ground in Georgia. Tia not only broke down the Senate race, but she also shared some insights about key factors in the rematch between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. I started by asking Tia what voters should expect as we gear up for the December sixth runoff between Senator Warnock and Herschel Walker.
Tia Mitchell: So for the next four weeks, voters in Georgia can expect to continue to be inundated with ads in their mailboxes, on their TVs, on the Internet. There have been a lot of jokes about Thanksgiving being full of campaigning and politics. And then for those grassroots workers and staffers, they’ve got to now work into the holiday season. That being said, I think that, you know, what we’re hearing now, particularly from those grassroots organizations that are aligned with Democrats and progressive groups, they say they’re ready, they’re hitting the ground running because Georgia’s runoff rules were changed. That’s one of the results of Republicans pushing through changes to the state’s election laws after the Democrats had so many wins in 2020, and the 2021 runoffs. And one of the changes was making the runoff period shorter. And that could make it harder for Democrats because the runoffs were something that Republicans historically have been better at than Democrats. In Georgia, it’s just been harder to get Democrats to come back out again, to vote again.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tia Mitchell: And so in 2021, Ossoff and Warnock really took advantage of their grassroots network and spent the nine weeks turning out their vote, while Donald Trump spent nine weeks telling Republicans why they shouldn’t vote.
Juanita Tolliver: Exactly. He was too busy discrediting electoral counts then, I appreciate you naming 2021 because this is familiar territory. And are you expecting Democrats and organizers to throw every bit of their arsenal at this, just like they did in 2021?
Tia Mitchell: Yes, we do, especially because, you know, for Warnock, there’s a historic nature to his election. And again, Democrats, Black voters are really invested in seeing him get another six year term. But the difference is they only have four weeks. It’s not a lot of time. Now, I think some of it is going to also depend on like, does either party need to win Georgia in order to get the majority?
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tia Mitchell: If that’s the case, then you would think Herschel Walker has the advantage again, because Republicans are considered to have a runoff advantage in general.
Juanita Tolliver: I think that that also reminds me of how hard Republican voters were riding for Herschel Walker after all of the abuse allegations, after all the abortion allegations, they were still down for him because they thought he could be the key to the majority in the Senate. But whatever happens in Nevada and Arizona could take that off the table entirely. That could be something for Democrats to leverage. And I want to also know about the other big race in Georgia. So you have a Georgia Republican in Brian Kemp who told the line when it came to Trump, when it came to election denying, when it came to voter suppression, he came out gravy. Right. AP called that race for him over Stacey Abrams and I want to know what was so appealing about Brian Kemp for Georgia voters, because compared to Herschel Walker, he outdid himself.
Tia Mitchell: Yeah. So, number one, he’s an incumbent. You know, it’s hard to unseat an incumbent.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tia Mitchell: Also, Brian Kemp was able to like walk this fine line where he stood up to Trump when Trump wanted to overturn an election. And that gave him, like the aura of, like, more moderate, more independent minded than he actually is. At the same time, he pushed through very conservative policies that helped to keep the base with him. So even though he wasn’t considered a Trump MAGA Republican, he’s still very far right. You know, he signed restrictive abortion laws. He expanded open carry so that people can carry guns in Georgia without having to apply for a permit.
Juanita Tolliver: And he signed those voter suppression bills very quickly.
Tia Mitchell: Yeah. So in a lot of ways, he was able to appeal to moderates in a way that made him really tough to beat.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. Talk about tough to beat. Stacey Abrams ran an extremely strong race that had immense support, but she still fell short this cycle. And I have a lot of respect for her and not only as a candidate, but as a Black woman who invested years in developing incredible infrastructure to mobilize voters in Georgia. But that infrastructure seems to work for every other Democratic candidate except for Stacey Abrams. It worked for Biden, it worked for Walker, it worked for Ossoff. And so. Break it down for us. Why didn’t this work out for Stacey Abrams?
Tia Mitchell: Number one, there are voters in Georgia who are not going to vote for Stacey Abrams no matter what.
Juanita Tolliver: I need to emphasize that point because I saw the exit poll numbers that said 74% of white men didn’t support her, 72% of white women didn’t support her. 44% of Latinos didn’t support her. That’s it right there.
Tia Mitchell: And I remember hearing this in 2018. There are people who think Stacey Abrams is the absolute worst. We know that there are some voters who have a problem with women in leadership, particularly assertive women in leadership. She’s a Black woman. She happens to be a Black woman who isn’t skinny and wears her hair natural and is not married. Never been married. Has no children.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tia Mitchell: And so her decision to not allow anyone to put her in a box and to dare be ambitious and to say what she wants and not be demure about that, really ticks people off. That’s even before you get to her politics. Georgia is a very split state, so it’s very partisan. Your margins are a small pocket of persuadable voters in the middle. I’ve also even heard Democrats say that the fact that Stacey Abrams, between the 2018 race and the 2022 race, those four years really built a national profile, which we know she did. And so some people felt that was a little bit harder for her to pivot back to be considered a statewide candidate.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like that’s just people being like, you’re thriving too much for us.
Tia Mitchell: You know, most voters of color didn’t feel that way about her.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Tia Mitchell: She was able to draw crowds and deliver a speech that fired people up. So Democrats were with her. She just wasn’t able to get enough people who either consider themselves moderates and definitely not conservatives where she could really go toe to toe with Brian Kemp.
Juanita Tolliver: And since, y’all know, I’m all about reflection and manifesting dreams, I asked Tia what could be next for Stacey Abrams. And as a Black woman, I wanted to make space to support Stacey Abrams and doing whatever her heart desires next, whether that’s writing more novels, anything, and Tia agreed that there are deals and partnerships to be made. In addition to Abrams continuing her longstanding voter engagement and organizing work so thrive on Ms.. Abrams. You deserve everything.
Priyanka Aribindi: She really does.
Juanita Tolliver: And we will continue to closely follow all of the midterm election news. But that’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break].
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: Brittney Griner’s lawyers said yesterday that the WNBA star was moved to a Russian penal colony to serve out her nine year prison sentence for drug smuggling. Griner was arrested back in February at a Moscow airport after authorities found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. According to reports, she was transferred on Friday. Griner’s lawyers say that they don’t know her exact whereabouts, but they expect to know more when she arrives at her final destination, which could take several days or even weeks. President Biden said yesterday that he’s hopeful that Russia will be more open to negotiating Griner’s release now that the midterm elections are over. We are just hoping that she gets home safely as soon as possible. It has been far too long that she’s been gone.
Juanita Tolliver: Speaking of Russia, Moscow said yesterday it has ordered a troop withdrawal from the captured Ukrainian city of Kherson. But Ukraine’s military says there are no signs of that actually happening. Ukrainian officials have said in recent days that Russia might pretend to withdraw from Kherson as a way to lure Ukrainian troops into battle. But if Russia did actually retreat, it will be a huge setback for Moscow, which captured Kherson in the early days of the war.
Priyanka Aribindi: Facebook’s parent company, Meta, laid off more than 11,000 employees yesterday. That is about 13% of the company’s entire workforce. Sources told The New York Times that several departments were impacted. But in what seems like a reflection of Mark Zuckerberg’s wish to depart from our physical world and disappear into virtual reality. Job cuts weren’t as deep on the team that is dedicated to building out the metaverse, whatever that is. Zuckerberg announced the layoffs in a letter to employees, explaining that he had overestimated how much Meta would grow following its boom during the pandemic and that these job cuts would make Meta a, quote, “leaner and more efficient company moving forward.”
Juanita Tolliver: And speaking of industries that are going through changes, this has been one of the more tumultuous weeks on record for the world of cryptocurrency. With the collapse of a leading crypto exchange prompting many to question the stability of fake computer money, pretty much. The exchange is called FTX, and it was considered one of the more trustworthy firms in crypto, with lots of institutional investors, a valuation of $32 billion dollars as of January and its name on an NBA stadium in Miami. But last Wednesday, a report from the website Coindesk pointed out shady accounting underlying FTX’s operations, which was significant enough to inspire investors to pull more than $6 billion dollars from the exchange over the next three days. That sent FTX scrambling to cover its debts. Its CEO soon announced he’d sell the firm to its largest competitor, Binance. But after doing due diligence, Binance said yesterday that it would walk away from the deal, citing, quote, “issues beyond our control or ability to help.”.
Priyanka Aribindi: Oof.
Juanita Tolliver: People with their money stuck in FTX can not withdraw it and will likely end up holding nothing more than the vague sense of superiority that comes with investing in crypto ta da! Bitcoin also took a huge hit yesterday, falling by as much as 15%. Old crumpled up dollar bills never looked so good.
Priyanka Aribindi: I feel great about being a little normie person who has never participated in any of this and doesn’t understand what half of these words mean.
Juanita Tolliver: Never got into it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Never got into it. And that feels like a good thing.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: Good enough for me. And European food protests have escalated with targets progressing from antique art to antique guys. Someone threw eggs at the UK’s King Charles yesterday while he was visiting the city of York with his wife Camilla. Before making his royal omelet, the protester reportedly shouted, quote, “This country was built on the blood of slaves.” He was arrested soon after. Some pundits noted that Charles reacted with surprising, calm, not even flinching during the volley of the eggs. Which to me just means that he knew on a deep subconscious level that he deserved to get hit. Or just hear me out on this one, that uh this is some uh great promo for the Crown. That is, I believe, out yesterday. So. Who knows?
Juanita Tolliver: I mean.
Priyanka Aribindi: Who knows?
Juanita Tolliver: Let’s be real. That’s the last thing the royal family wants people to watch. Based on [laughter] all of the PR–
Priyanka Aribindi: True.
Juanita Tolliver: –Hits they’ve been–
Priyanka Aribindi: True.
Juanita Tolliver: –Doing. Also no lies detected from this protester. And I think it’s always a wonderful day to call out colonizers and their direct descendants and beneficiaries. So carry on, throw more eggs.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: Throw more.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen. I love an omelet. No notes. And those are the headlines. [music break] That is all for today.
Juanita Tolliver: If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Become unfazed by flying eggs and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just posts on Reddit saying crypto will come back stronger than ever like me. What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe on Crooked.com/subscribe.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
[spoken together] And we’ll see you in the Metaverse.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely–
Juanita Tolliver: How about never.
Priyanka Aribindi: –no we will not. [laughter].
Juanita Tolliver: I promise the metaverse is going to be a non thing within the next quarter.
Priyanka Aribindi: The metaverse is already a non thing. [laughter] No. No no no. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.