In This Episode
- Republicans have essentially secured a House majority for the next two years. But the GOP is in disarray, as members vying for leadership positions point fingers at who’s to blame for their midterm losses.
- Young voters turned out in historic numbers this election cycle to support Democrats. Victor Shi, strategy director for the Gen Z-led nonprofit Voters of Tomorrow, explains how young people helped beat back the anticipated “red wave.”
- And in headlines: President Biden said it’s “unlikely” that a missile that hit Poland was fired from Russia, a judge overturned Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion ban, and the U.N. said the global population has reached 8 billion people.
- Chicago Tribune: “Victor Shi: Young voters showed up and helped prevent major losses for Democrats (Op-Ed)” – https://tinyurl.com/pyx8b6re
- Voters of Tomorrow – https://votersoftomorrow.org/
- AP News: 2022 midterms live updates – https://tinyurl.com/2p8u52z2
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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, November 16th.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day, where we’re not sharing any Pete Davidson dating rumors until they’re confirmed by the Associated Press.
Juanita Tolliver: Okay. Let’s be irresponsible just for a second, though, because–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah please.
Juanita Tolliver: –When I saw Dionne Warwick say she’s got dibs, she said I got next on Pete. Like that sent me.
Priyanka Aribindi: And you know, he’s going to get there like he’s making his way down the list. Nobody is safe, but in a good way, he seems like a nice man. [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, the Polish government said two people were killed in an explosion near the border with Ukraine.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, a little update on where control of the house stands after last week’s midterm elections. As of our record time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Republicans have essentially secured a House majority for the next two years. But one thing is very clear, their majority will be extremely narrow. What we’ve been seeing over the past few days, though, is a lot of infighting between these Republicans, Republicans in disarray over who is to blame for those results and how they’ll be moving forward.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like we need some alliteration, right? Like we what’s the–
Priyanka Aribindi: We do.
Juanita Tolliver: –Republican equivalent of Democrats in disarray because we got to appropriately describe the chaos that has enveloped the GOP, oh Republican rancor. Come through, Bill.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s our engineer, Bill Lancz coming in in the chat with that one.
Juanita Tolliver: The Freedom Caucus is just getting warmed up, I promise you. And the MAGA Republicans are tussling. Meanwhile, I’m over here like do carry on. Please carry on.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, the girls are fighting and we’re fine with it. [laughter]
Juanita Tolliver: After their midterms flop, a number of Republicans are ready to challenge Kevin McCarthy and his nascent leadership role. So Priyanka, what exactly is happening with him right now?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So earlier Tuesday, House Republicans voted 188 to 31 to nominate Kevin McCarthy as their choice for House speaker. Obviously, that’s a clear victory over his challenger from the far right, Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, who also used to be chairman of the Freedom Caucus. You know, if you aren’t familiar, the roster is basically a who’s who of congressional crazies. It’s everyone from Marjorie Taylor Greene to Lauren Boebert to Madison Cawthorn. May his career rest in peace, please.
Juanita Tolliver: Womp. Womp.
Priyanka Aribindi: But the number of conservative lawmakers who voted against McCarthy does complicate his path to becoming speaker, because in order to become speaker, he needs the support of the majority of House members. So 218 votes at a minimum. If the red wave actually happened and there were more Republicans in the House, you know, he might have enough people to support him outright. But because the majority here will be super slim, he can’t afford to lose very many votes. So in order to secure these votes from some of the most conservative members of his party, he might have to make some big concessions, including ones that make them more powerful and him less so.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. Just like you said Priyanka, 218 is the magic number and apparently MAGA extremists are making their demands, including requests for sham investigations. And like you said, those concessions could also include potential limits on McCarthy as speaker. So if the conference gets tired of him, they might have the option of voting him out of his position. So–
Priyanka Aribindi: Wild.
Juanita Tolliver: –if he folds on that, his life every day is going to be a living hell. Let’s just name it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Pandemonium. I’m cool with that, though.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. He earned it. So that’s what’s happening in the house. What’s going on in the Senate?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I feel a little bit like that Marie Kondo meme. Like, I love mess. Like the little girl in front of the burning house.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, my. God. So sinister.
Priyanka Aribindi: Reveling in the chaos here. But in the Senate, Rick Scott of Florida said he would challenge Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his leadership role. Lots of Republicans, including Donald Trump himself, are trying to set McConnell up as this fall guy for the Republicans inability to take back the Senate majority this year despite having favorable conditions heading into the election. Scott is not expected to be successful here. He’s a first term senator and the first challenger that McConnell has faced as the GOP Senate leader in 15 years. But, you know, still not great that he’s facing this very public opposition. I personally think based on how disastrously Scott handles messaging, what he’s all about, how he handles himself personally, that would be a great outcome for Democrats. Like would absolutely love Rick Scott with the most unpopular ideas of all time to become the head of that party. But I will not get my hopes up because that doesn’t really seem like that will happen.
Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: Senate Republicans are expected to hold leadership elections today. So we’ll see what happens, what comes of this very, very soon.
Juanita Tolliver: Honestly, this all feels like retribution because McConnell called out the low quality candidates that Trump and Rick Scott handpicked to run in these midterm Senate races. And that’s it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: So you also mentioned Trump in there, the ultimate drag on every Republican who ran in a statewide race. And at this point, he has cost Republicans three election cycles and he’s getting a lot of public blame from Republicans right now, in spite of all of that he made a big announcement last night. What did this man have to say, Priyanka?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. About Donald Trump. He has been unraveling in real time over the past week on Truth Social. As many Republicans have started to distance themselves from him. On Fox News yesterday, one of their hosts showed a graphic with 13 potential Republican presidential candidates for 2024. Trump was not a part of the graphic.
Juanita Tolliver: Fuming.
Priyanka Aribindi: [?] Yeah. I mean, the man just mainlines Fox news all day and all night. So that must have been painful for him to watch. Yesterday he had his little event at Mar-a-Lago, just like he said he would. He’s running for president. It’s not surprising because we all knew he was going to do this, and that is all we’re going to say about that. He’s doing exactly what we knew he was going to do.
Juanita Tolliver: And we’ve got to keep in mind why he’s doing it right? He’s doing it because it’s about self-preservation and avoiding any type of prosecution or accountability–
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally.
Juanita Tolliver: –For the multiple investigations he’s facing from the DOJ, from Fulton County, for stealing White House classified materials.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: You know all of that. But what can we expect now from Republicans if they ever manage to get their shit together in Congress?
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s a gigantic if and like you were saying, we all know that Donald Trump is going to hide behind the excuse that they are just doing this to me because I’m running and this is politically motivated and it’s a witch hunt. Like we all know what’s happening. It is clear as day. But anyways, before Election Day, Kevin McCarthy spent a lot of time talking about these so-called priorities for Republicans, about immigration, about cutting off financial aid to Ukraine, kickstarting oversight, quote unquote, “investigations into the Biden administration that includes potential impeachment” for God knows what. Hunter Biden the list goes on. With control of the Senate and the White House, obviously Democrats can prevent Republicans from making the worst of their MAGA fever dreams a reality. But with this infighting between different factions of the Republican Party, who knows what they will even be able to come together on? It remains unclear at this point.
Juanita Tolliver: Look, what’s wild is that they have such an extremist and destructive agenda and Republicans still wonder why they got their butts whooped in these midterms.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: Especially with Black voters, Latino voters, union voters and youth voters. Look, the 18 to 29 year old voters showed up and did what needed to be done, especially with 89% of Black youth voters and 67% of Latino youth voters supporting Democrats. Of course, that made a crucial difference across the board and in states like Michigan, where Democrats won a trifecta, and Arizona where 70% of young voters supported Katie Hobbs excuse me, that’s governor elect Katie Hobbs. Put some respect on her name. I had a chance to catch up with Victor Shi, a Gen Z organizer, co-host of iGen Politics podcast and strategy director for Voters of Tomorrow to talk about all of this historic youth voter turnout, why they overwhelmingly supported Democrats, and how they plan to mobilize youth voters for the December 6th Georgia Senate runoff. I started by asking him what it took to organize and mobilize youth voters at these historic levels.
Victor Shi: The turnout that we saw among young people and especially young people of color was just extraordinary and really just inspiring. A lot of the conversations heading into the midterm election was whether or not young people would show up. There was a piece in Politico saying that young voters are MIA because of–
Juanita Tolliver: Boo!
Victor Shi: –Just historical patterns. I know it’s just all of these media and these pundits were saying that young voters would stay home, but we very much did not. And a lot of it, I think, is because of kind of this Republican Party and what it’s done to attack our lives and really strip away rights. And so part of the organizing effort was to have those conversations with young people on a just a human level. So individual conversations, what we call relational organizing, where we’re basically just meeting young people where they are, whether it be on college campuses and high schools, online spaces like TikTok or streaming platforms like Twitch. And so I think at the end of the day, it’s about meeting young people where they are and just making the choice between this Democratic Party and this Republican Party as clear as possible for young people.
Juanita Tolliver: And Republicans did a lot of heavy lifting for you because when we had that conversation on 11th hour with Stephanie Ruhle, we talked about how Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer youth voters.
Victor Shi: Yeah.
Juanita Tolliver: I feel like that’s got to just continue in the future based on the destructive agenda they’ve laid out for this next Congress. So I guess my follow up, since we know what Republicans are likely going to do. How do you think youth voters are going to hold Republicans accountable in this next Congress?
Victor Shi: I remember back in 2020, so I was a delegate to the DNC convention, and I remember a week later I was watching the RNC convention and there was absolutely no policy platform whatsoever. And they’ve just really kind of continued that practice throughout those next two years into 2022. And so I suspect that will be the same thing. And young people aren’t oblivious to the fact that this is the state of the Republican Party.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Victor Shi: And the great thing about Gen-Z is that Gen Zers and millennials and young voters, we are only going to increase in political power. I think there was a study that showed by 2024, we’re going to outnumber any generation older than us. And so part of the next steps for Gen Z and how we kind of clap back against the Republican Party is to still go on those online spaces. And, you know, one of the things that we do best as a generation is we troll Republicans. We remember that one incident with Trump’s rally. It was young people who uh really stole all the tickets and the press, the turnout on that. So I think young people are going to do what we do best, and that’s really organizing online, but also kind of calling out Republicans where they are and saying that we will not tolerate what you are trying to do with our lives.
Juanita Tolliver: Right, now on the flipside, in your recent Chicago Tribune op ed, you noted that young voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats because of their investments in climate change, because of their efforts to protect our most basic rights, like access to abortion, cancelling student loan debt and more. And I’m a firm believer. If you show up, you deserve to be not only appreciated, but courted. That energy can’t stop and it can’t drop. And so what do young voters want to see next from Democrats over the next two years to keep them engaged and motivated?
Victor Shi: So I think a lot of the policy issues that we’re focusing on and you said that so well, which is basically that Democrats have done so much to deliver for young people and what we care about from climate change to uh gun reform safety bills. And I think going forward, what we’re going to be watching closely from the Democratic Party is that they don’t stop just here. So we know, for example, with the gun reform legislation bill, that was just the first step. There is so much more that we should be doing when it comes to gun safety and what we should pass with that. There’s also climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act was a great first step, but we hope that now, hopefully with the Senate, that they’ll pass more laws that’ll make climate change better and that we’ll have a better planet for our future generations. And then also this generation cares deeply about representation in government and who is representing us. There is a new push by some youth organizations to go and establish a youth advisory council in the White House to make sure that young people, now that we voted for them, have a seat at the table and are included in those conversations.
Juanita Tolliver: I love that. I also want to know how you’re going to engage with Maxwell Frost, the first Gen Z representative elected to Congress, and I’m sure you are very proud of him, but how are you planning to engage with him in this new Congress?
Victor Shi: He is just kind of the best of our generation. He’s going to go into this new Congress, even though it might be a little [?].
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Victor Shi: But in terms of just looking at a member of Congress and being able to relate to them, there are all of these cultural points where young people can relate to Maxwell Frost. You know, he is someone who uh supports Taylor Swift and is a big Taylor Swift guy. And so but the great thing about last Tuesday was that it wasn’t just Maxwell Frost. There were so many people across the country who are Gen Zers who won their election on the state and local level. Um I can even think of people from my home state, uh Nabeela Syed who just amazing recent graduate and who’s going to be in the Illinois state house and all of these kind of races down ballot I think are going to be great for Gen Z, we’re going to look around government and see people who actually look like us and we’re going to actually pay attention.
Juanita Tolliver: And I also appreciate the fact that Gen Z voters are just getting started in terms of throwing your weight around in these elections. And of course, the most immediate next election is the Georgia Senate runoff. So how are youth voters and voters of tomorrow going to be engaging and mobilizing voters on the ground in Georgia over the next three weeks?
Victor Shi: So that’s a key state. And we remember back in 2020 that race also went to a special election. And part of the reason why Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock were able to get elected that election is because of young people turning out to vote in historic ways. And you saw that directly from the campaigns too. One of their key strategies was going to TikTok and creating these kind of new digestible uh forms of content for young voters. And so I think in this election, Georgia is a very unique state. There are lots of minorities, lots of young people, lots of women. And so all of these demographics are going to be key for Democrats in turning up our vote. And uh one of the things I think is most important to know about Georgia is that if you didn’t register to vote before November 8th, you actually can’t vote in this special election because of all of the absurd Georgia election laws.
Juanita Tolliver: Yup.
Victor Shi: So this election is very much going to be about turnout. And so all of us are going to have to do our part to make sure that we turn out the vote in Georgia. And I know that includes having conversations with young voters, going to college campuses and really kind of using young students and the power of our voice to turn up that vote. That’s what going to be doing in the next three weeks before uh December 6th.
Juanita Tolliver: That was my conversation with Victor Shi and if you want to learn more or get engaged with voters of tomorrow, we will add their website to the show notes. That’s the latest for now. [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines.
Juanita Tolliver: The Polish government said on Tuesday that a Russian made missile landed near its border with Ukraine, killing at least two people. The report, which has not been confirmed as of our record time, Tuesday night, comes as Russia unleashed another volley of missile attacks against cities across Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied Poland’s claims, and it’s unclear if it was an intentional strike. Still, NATO leaders will convene today for an emergency meeting about the incident, though Poland, which is a member of the alliance, does not appear to be treating it as a deliberate attack right now. And President Biden, who is meeting with world leaders for the G20 summit in Indonesia, said this:
[clip of President Joe Biden] There is plenty of information that contests that. I don’t want to say that until we completely investigate, but it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia. But we will see.
Juanita Tolliver: If it’s determined that Moscow was behind the blast. It could trigger Article five of NATO’s constitution, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all of them.
Priyanka Aribindi: Really, really serious stuff. A judge overturned Georgia’s six week abortion ban yesterday, meaning that the state can no longer enforce it. The restrictive rule was known as the Heartbeat Bill when it was signed by Governor Brian Kemp in 2019 because it outlawed the procedure once, a fetal heartbeat could be detected. It couldn’t take effect until this summer after Roe v Wade was overturned. But the judge who issued yesterday’s ruling found that the ban has no legal merit because it was enacted years ago when abortion was still a constitutional right. A spokesperson for Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, said that his office plans to appeal the decision.
Juanita Tolliver: And just when you thought there couldn’t be any more good news out of the great desert state of Arizona yesterday, voters officially passed a proposition that will make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition rates and state funded financial aid if they choose to attend a public university or college. In case you didn’t know, non-citizens seeking higher education usually have to pay out-of-state tuition because of their legal status, and they usually don’t qualify for a lot of scholarships and grants to make up that extra cost. This proposition will make college more affordable for more than 3000 undocumented Arizonans every year, according to the American Immigration Council.
Priyanka Aribindi: One of the babies born yesterday became the 8,000,000,000th member of the global population, according to the U.N.. It is impossible to know which baby it was, but maybe once they all get a little older, they can fight it out for the title. U.N. officials framed the milestone as a reflection on humanity’s advancements in medicine, public health, nutrition and personal hygiene. For those of you keeping track, 7 billion was just 11 years ago in 2011. And considering that the global growth rate has slowed, the U.N. thinks it’ll be 15 years before we hit 9 billion in 2037. Wow. That stresses me the hell out.
Juanita Tolliver: Huge numbers. And because somebody has got to give all 8 billion of us something to dance to, the nominees for the Grammy Awards were announced yesterday honoring some of the best music of 2022. Surprising. Absolutely no one, least of all me. The most nominated artist this year was Queen Bee Beyonce. She scored nine nods, bringing her career total to 88. Count them. That ties her up with one artist, Jay-Z, who happens to be her raggedy husband. But we’ll take it. We’ll accept it. Kendrick Lamar scored eight nominations and Adele and Brandi Carlile each got seven. And there is no use dwelling on the negative. But we’ll just say that two other people whose recent output has been questionable were also honored with nominations. Their names rhyme with Dave Just Smell and Eew E CK.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yup.
Juanita Tolliver: When I tell you I’m hype. I’m so hype.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yup.
Juanita Tolliver: And in addition to Queen Bee, I’m so thrilled to see Memphis Superstar GloRilla get nominated, as well as the magnificent Viola Davis, who has a shot at becoming an EGOT if her audiobook wins. This is Black Girl Magic all sprinkled up in through these Grammy nominations. And I can’t wait.
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. I had no idea that Jay-Z was the most nominated artist. Also really surprising, but like, so cool. But it’s just them. Just those two chilling up there probably will be forever.
Juanita Tolliver: I guess you can say they’re a power couple. I will accept that moniker.
Priyanka Aribindi: We’ll allow it. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some adds to discuss the pain and heartbreak that was millions of swifties trying to simultaneously use Ticketmaster.
Juanita Tolliver: I hear it in your voice. Priyanka. [laughter]
Juanita Tolliver: It’s Wednesday WAD squad and for today’s Temp check, we’re discussing panic, Taylor’s version, or the feeling that millions of Taylor Swift fans experienced yesterday when they tried to buy tickets for her 2023 Eras tour. Tickets are being sold exclusively through Ticketmaster and due to what the company described as, quote, “historically unprecedented demand”, their website started seeing outages in the morning. Swift crazed millennials found themselves waiting for hours in lines that didn’t seem to move. And people like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared criticism of the ticket giant, which has often been accused of boxing its competitors out of primary and secondary markets and price gouging. AOC tweeted, quote, “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly. Its merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and they need to be reined in. Break them up.” So Priyanka. This story is deeply personal to you.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah it is.
Juanita Tolliver: How are you feeling about yesterday’s ticket disaster?
Priyanka Aribindi: So listen, I didn’t actually get to participate in any of this yesterday because–
Juanita Tolliver: Oh no!
Priyanka Aribindi: I was on the waitlist for the pre-sale. I didn’t even get a code.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh so you didn’t even get in. You had to wait outside.
Priyanka Aribindi: I didn’t even get a code to be a part of a presale.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh.
Priyanka Aribindi: They said, no, sorry, you got to wait till it goes on sale to the general public. And, I don’t know, two days, so I’m never getting a ticket.
Juanita Tolliver: And we know it’s going to be marked up by then, like in the thousands. Probably.
Priyanka Aribindi: Who knows? Apparently, they’re releasing more tickets. They only had a certain number for pre-sale, whatever, which like, I hope. But the crazy thing of all of this is this like dynamic pricing. Like, had Ticketmaster just left all the tickets as is like it was–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: –Just a crazy experience. But like, everything was the same price. It was easy and straightforward. That might be one thing, but you had people like logging on and being like, I see tickets that are like $700. And you saw other people who were like, I see tickets that are reasonably priced like–
Juanita Tolliver: Wait, wait. So they made it a variable?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Based on how much demand.
Juanita Tolliver: What the hell?
Priyanka Aribindi: They’re totally price gouging, but that’s fine because there were enough eyes on this that tweets like AOC’s like people who are complaining about this company and its practices like are getting attention from people who did not care, did not know.
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: And had like no business caring about this before.
Juanita Tolliver: But you know what would take this to the next level. I need Taylor Swift to speak out. So, Taylor. Taylor, friend.
Priyanka Aribindi: Taylor.
Juanita Tolliver: If you’re listening. Your fans need you to call out these horrible price gouging practices from Ticketmaster, and AOC can give you some notes and talking points if you need them, friend. But we need Taylor Swift to lead this movement.
Priyanka Aribindi: This fan needs a ticket also, by the way, [laughter] so thanks Taylor.
Juanita Tolliver: She’s like, you can send it to Priyanka at What A Day.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m available. I’ll go anywhere. Just let me know. I just want a ticket. Please. And just like that. We have checked our temps. They are hot. Like the servers running Ticketmaster. [music break].
Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today.
Juanita Tolliver: If you like the show. Make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Send a birthday gift to the 8 billionth child and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just emails that say you got the tickets from Ticketmaster like me, I would be very into reading an email like that.
Juanita Tolliver: Right!
Priyanka Aribindi: What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
[spoken together] And let’s all root against Eew E CK.
Juanita Tolliver: Just a disgusting human. I can’t believe he’s even in the lineup to be considered for these awards like.
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely no.
Juanita Tolliver: Edit undo Grammys, edit undo. You can take it back.
Priyanka Aribindi: Bye. [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.