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November 13, 2022
What A Day
We Did It Again, Joe

In This Episode

  • Democrats have officially retained their majority in the U.S. Senate, after incumbent Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto held off a challenge from her Trump-endorsed Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt.
  • Meanwhile, the governor’s race in Arizona is still too close to call, though Democrat Katie Hobbs holds a slim lead over Republican Kari Lake — and it could be days before a winner is declared. We explain why the vote count is taking so long, and why it’s not unusual to wait for results in Arizona.
  • And in headlines: the first death sentence was handed down to an Iranian protester involved in demonstrations over Mahsa Amini’s death, President Biden is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Ukrainian forces regained control of the city of Kherson.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, November 14th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice and this is What A Day saluting the jet black cloud of defeat hanging over Tiffany Trump’s wedding this past weekend. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, we don’t want to sound too spiteful towards Tiff, but let’s just say we don’t feel bad that her family suffered a major political loss on her special day. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I bet the food was still good. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It wasn’t. [laughing] 


Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show. Ukrainian officials are taking stock after recapturing a key city from Russian forces. Plus, this year’s midterms ushered in a rainbow wave. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, let’s dive into an election update. The big news over the weekend. We did it, Joe. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, man. 


Tre’vell Anderson: The Democrats have officially retained control of the U.S. Senate. On Saturday, Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was named the winner over her Trump aligned Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. With that win, as well as hard fought wins in Arizona and New Hampshire and the flipping of a seat in Pennsylvania. Dems have 50 seats in the Senate to the Republicans 49. Even though there is one seat still up for grabs in Georgia, because Vice President Kamala Harris is the Senate’s tie breaking vote, no matter what happens with that seat, the Democrats still have the majority power. Now, before I talk about that last seat, I want to note that the race between Cortez Masto and Laxalt was entirely too close for my liking, at the time of our recording she’s won by just about 6500 votes. So while a win is still a win, it almost wasn’t one. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is certainly not a red wave, but there are still a lot of people voting Republican and we should not forget that. So you mentioned that last seat in the Senate that still needs to be filled in my great state of Georgia. This means I am still getting all the text messages that the rest of you have stopped getting. How does this win in Nevada impact that race? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so that race, as you mentioned, is in Georgia. It’s between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. Not enough voters rejected the foolishness that is Herschel Walker’s candidacy on Election Day. And so the two are now heading into a runoff next month on December 6th. Now, the beauty of this stage of the election cycle is that control of the Senate does not rest in the results of that vote. So it eases some of the pressure that many were foisting on this race that shouldn’t be a race at all. And instead the Dems are now working for some added cushion to support their voting control. This cushion, though, is important because we know that, to borrow a phrase from our people, Josie, all dem folk ain’t been kinfolk. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: By which I mean, since Biden’s election, there have been some Democratic senators who have blocked key legislation. Yes, I’m looking at you, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. They’re both centrist Democrats who have been barriers to getting more progressive policies passed. And so the prevailing sentiment about the Georgia race now is that just because the Dems have control of the Senate does not mean that they should take the lax position regarding the race between Warnock and the poor excuse for a candidate better known as Herschel Walker. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not time for the Democrats to get complacent if they actually want to pass some policies. You mentioned that having control of the Senate, at least in theory, means that Democrats will be able to pass progressive policies. What are the other perks of them having the majority? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, as you know, having control of the Senate will also ensure the Democrats can usher through various judicial appointees. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mmhm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We’ve seen how the courts have been wielded by the GOP to challenge, most recently, everything from affirmative action to the student debt forgiveness plan. And so having more progressive judges can only be a good thing to offset all of the conservatives that Trump appointed who are now causing so much hell for us. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. What about the House race? What do we know about what control is going to look like in that chamber? I’m hearing like Democrats may win by a seat. Republicans may win by a couple of seats. What’s actually going on? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So as of our recording, the tally for control of the House is 212 Republicans, 204 Democrats. So the Republicans are leading in the race to reach the 218 seats they need to reach a majority. There are still 19 seats that remain undecided. We could start seeing final results in some of these races as early as today, but it could be another couple of days before everything is settled. We do at least know, as you mentioned earlier, that the supposed red wave of Republicans that were supposed to be elected did not and is not happening. And that even if Republicans do get control of the House, it would only be a fairly slim majority. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Thank you, Tre’vell, for that update. We have some more election updates, uh specifically what’s happening in the governor’s race in Arizona. So as of 9:30 p.m. Eastern, Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs is in the lead over Republican candidate Kari Lake. Hobbs leads by about 26,000 votes with about 93% of votes counted. So Kari Lake, as you may know, is a noted election denier. So as you can imagine, she’s taking the fact that she’s behind, as well as the fact that it’s taking a while to count the votes. Very, very well. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I can only imagine. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So, Josie, first, can you tell us why it’s taking so long to count votes in Arizona? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, there are a few reasons. But first, let me say this isn’t unusual. In Arizona. So as Bill Gates, not that Bill Gates, but the Republican chair of the governing board in Maricopa County, Bill Gates, put it, quote, “For folks who have followed Arizona politics for many years, this is very, very common.” So most of the votes that are left to count are there in Maricopa County. Right. And that’s home to Phoenix. It’s also where the bulk of votes in Arizona come from, period. And it’s also the fourth largest county in the country. So that’s a lot of votes. Right. And according to Gates, quote, “over the past couple of decades, on average, it takes 10 to 12 days to complete the count. That’s not because of anything Maricopa County has decided to do. That’s because of how Arizona law is set up. Of course though, Republicans are not treating this wait as business as usual. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Of course they’re not. I’m sure they’re trying to stoke as much confusion as possible. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s exactly what they’re doing. And part of the reason it’s taking so long is just the law in Arizona which demands things be done in a certain way. But another reason it takes longer than other states is because of early voting, which is really, really popular in Arizona. So in Arizona, about 80% of voters asked for early ballots. Those ballots could be mailed, put in drop boxes or given to officials at the polls on Election Day. And typically, the county sees about 180,000 of those ballots actually given to workers on Election Day. But this year, that number increased by 70%. So almost 300,000 ballots were dropped off on the actual, you know, day of the election. Those ballots take way more time to count than those cast in person. Election workers have to match signatures first and they have to send those ballots over to other bipartisan teams. Those teams remove them from their envelopes and then they send them to be counted. So it takes a while. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. So this is normal. But could you talk about, like, why so many people turned their ballots in on Election Day instead of, you know, mailing them or using the drop boxes? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So the reason is actually because of Republicans, honestly, you know, vigilante armed right wingers were threatening to, quote, “monitor the drop boxes, which may have discouraged some people from dropping their ballots off there, right? It would have discouraged me. I can tell you that. Trump and others have talked about mail in voting being prone to fraud. They’ve encouraged voters to vote in person or turn their ballot in on Election Day. So it really just seems like a lot of people listened to that. They internalized that, and that is dragging out the time it takes to count all the ballots. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. So what has the reaction been from Kari Lake, who, as you mentioned, is a very vocal election denier? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, as you may have guessed, Kari Lake has been generating a ton of doubt and conspiracy around the election. And remember, she’s a former news anchor who covered things like state elections. So she knows this isn’t unusual. She knows how this goes, but she has to sow doubt just in case she loses. Right. So Lake said on Fox News yesterday, we need to get in there and restore faith in our elections. We can’t be the laughing stock of elections anymore here in Arizona. And when I’m governor, I will not allow it. I just won’t. But of course, Lake has to tread pretty lightly in what she says right now for a few reasons, first of all, she still may win, it’s looking less and less likely, but it’s certainly possible. So she doesn’t want to say yet that the election is fraudulent because if she wins, that’s going to be a hard thing to explain. And also, it’s a hard claim to make this claim of fraud when the head of elections in Maricopa County, the man I mentioned before, Bill Gates, is a Republican. He himself called Kari Lake’s assertion that officials are supposedly, quote, “slow rolling the vote count” offensive. And here’s what he told CNN over the weekend. 


[clip of Bill Gates from Maricopa County] It’s really sad to hear that we have the Republican nominee for governor here in Arizona who’s talking like that. And I understand that Kari Lake wants us to move quickly and a lot of people do. But, you know, what’s more important? Is that this is done accurately. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. You know, and if Lake loses, which is looking quite possible at this point, she’ll be yet another election denier to lose in the midterms. That includes the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona and the Republican candidate for Senate, both of whom were defeated by Democrats. But if she wins, it really is bad news for the 2024 election. Since Arizona is a swing state and Trump is more likely than not to announce a third bid for the White House soon. You know, Kari Lake has said that she would not have certified the election for Joe Biden in 2020. And given that she is only nominally in touch with reality, I can only imagine what it would look like in 2024. Right? So we’ll have more on this and other results from the midterm elections as we get them. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: An Iranian protester was sentenced to death on Sunday for allegedly setting fire to a government building during a demonstration over the killing of Mahsa Amini. This marks the first known time the Iranian government has used capital punishment to crack down on protesters who first took to the streets in September. Authorities have also indicted over 1000 people in Tehran for joining the widespread anti-government protests. This all comes after a human rights group said on Saturday that Iranian security forces have killed at least 320 demonstrators since Amini’s death. 43 of those victims were children. 


Josie Duffy Rice: President Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali today. The high stakes sit down has been months in the making as both leaders are currently attending the G20 summit in Indonesia. Biden and Xi have spoken many times, but this will be their first face to face since Biden became president. And it comes at a crucial time for U.S. China relations, which are widely seen as being at their iciest in years. No major breakthroughs are expected to come out of this meeting, but experts are hopeful that having an open dialog will help ease tensions over trade, Taiwan, and other issues. 


Tre’vell Anderson: After nearly nine months of Russian occupation, Ukrainian forces regained control of the city of Kherson on Friday. Residents celebrated over the weekend, but they now face severe food and water shortages. Work is now underway to repair critical infrastructure and to clear out landmines and other explosives left behind by retreating Russian troops. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that almost 2000 explosives have been removed so far. Meanwhile, Russian military officials said the retreat from Kherson was a tactical move. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to say anything public about the withdrawal. 


Josie Duffy Rice: A red wave didn’t materialize this election cycle, but a rainbow wave certainly did. After a record breaking 436 LGBTQ+ candidates won their races nationwide. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a PAC dedicated to helping queer and trans people run for office in the U.S.. This is the first time in history that openly queer candidates were on the ballot in all 50 states. Among the winners, James Roesener of New Hampshire. He became the first trans man to be elected to a U.S. state legislature. And all of this comes just in time for Transgender Awareness Week, an annual celebration dedicated to uplifting the voices and experiences of our trans siblings. It kicked off yesterday and will conclude on the 20th with the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a memorial for the people we’ve lost to transphobic violence. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Dua Lipa has another new rule, don’t perform in countries with egregiously bad human rights records. She shut down rumors over the weekend that she will sing at next Sunday’s opening ceremony for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, an event that’s been dogged by controversy and pushback since it was first announced. Also not attending the games is Dua Lipa’s comrade in bleach blond highlights, Rod Stewart. He revealed over the weekend he was offered over $1 million dollars to perform but turned it down. The opening ceremonies won’t play out in complete silence, though, since one singer has been announced, K-Pop superstar Jungkook of BTS. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And here’s the latest on FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange platform that is leading us all to ask if traditional banks were ever really so bad. Following FTX’s declaration of bankruptcy last week, authorities in the Bahamas, where the company is headquartered, said they would launch a criminal investigation into its rapid collapse. According to Reuters, at least $1 billion dollars of customer funds disappeared from the balance sheet amid secret financial transfers by the company’s founder. And in other evidence that FTX was the dumbest place to store money that a bunch of smart people could think of. On Saturday, nearly $500 million dollars were allegedly stolen from it, in a possible hack. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, Josie, I used to laugh at people who would, you know, put their money under their mattress. Those individuals might have been onto something here. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that would actually have been a way better way to invest your money. It turns out. 


Tre’vell Anderson: This is so sad. So many people missing out on their money. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But, you know, that’s that cryptocurrency life, I suppose. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is the reason regulation matters. I mean, I’m no finance expert, but I didn’t lose a billion dollars this week either. So sometimes the finance experts aren’t really finance experts. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] And those are the headlines. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, make new rules, and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just shredded FTX financial documents like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And keep riding the Rainbow Wave. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh yes, the gay agenda wins again. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Uh oh, don’t tell Kari Lake. [laughter] [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.