How Dems Can Play To Win | Crooked Media
February 14, 2024
What A Day
How Dems Can Play To Win

In This Episode

  • A mass shooting at Wednesday’s Super Bowl parade for the Kansas City Chiefs left one person dead and 21 more injured. Authorities said they had three people in custody.
  • Democrats took home some important wins earlier this week, including Democrat Tom Suozzi flipping the Congressional seat that once belonged to New York Republican George Santos. We’re joined by Shaniqua McClendon, Vice President of political strategy at Crooked Media, for more on what the victories could mean for Dems’ chances in November.
  • And in headlines: President Biden blocked the deportation of Palestinians from the U.S. for the next 18 months, the ACLU of Colorado sued Children’s Hospital Colorado because the center discontinued gender-affirming surgeries for trans adults, and thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers and DoorDash delivery workers went on strike.


Show Notes:



Follow us on Instagram –




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, February 15th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What a Day. The pod that might be burned out by Marvel movies. But our love burns bright for Pedro Pascal. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it was just announced that he will play Mr. Fantastic in an upcoming Fantastic Four movie. There are a lot of thoughts on our team. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m so hyped. Look, I know the script is likely to be questionable, but I have seen Pedro Pascal carry entire casts on his back. I’m excited. [laugh] [music break] On today’s show, Crooked’s Shaniqua McClendon tells us what Democrats should learn from Tuesday’s wins in New York and Pennsylvania. 


Priyanka Aribindi: But first, we have details on the mass shooting at yesterday’s Super Bowl parade for the Kansas City Chiefs. As of our record time at 9:30 p.m. eastern, one person was killed and 21 others were injured near Union Station in Kansas City. Authorities said eight victims had immediate Life-Threatening injuries. Here is Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves speaking at a press conference shortly after the shooting. 


[clip of Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves] I’m angry at what happened today. The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s so striking. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just how many of these mass shootings happen at places that not only where people have the reasonable expectation of safety, but–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Environments that are supposed to be celebratory and fun. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: This was a Super Bowl parade. This city is celebrating and something so devastating happens. It has become the reality in so many American cities, in so many facets of American life. She went on to say that there were more than 800 officers on the scene to keep people safe ahead of the event. It is just devastating. 


Juanita Tolliver: Devastating, tragic. And let’s be real, policy could help us avoid these situations. But first, what else do we know about what happened? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, the shooting happened towards the end of the parade in a parking garage near Union Station. Police told people to evacuate the immediate area and medics treated victims on the scene, according to Axios. We do know that authorities took three people into custody and according to the Gun Violence Archive, this is the 49th mass shooting so far this year and the third one in Kansas City. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh my gosh. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We are halfway through February? 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We’re not very far into this year at all. 


Juanita Tolliver: And there have been more mass shootings than days. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: And this just keeps happening again and again. And that reality was captured in a heartbreaking moment on CNN. Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the parents of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed, were on set to discuss their fight for gun reform when their segment was interrupted by breaking news of this shooting. Take a listen to the reaction by Manuel Oliver, Joaquin’s dad. 


[clip of Manuel Oliver] I’m not surprised at all. It’s like literally we interrupt this interview because we have another mass shooting going on, and then you might be interrupting that one because there was going to be another one. So it never stops. 


Juanita Tolliver: It never stops. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: This is just fully avoidable. And I also think about the fact that it’s in Missouri, an open carry state where we hear messages from the right encouraging more access to weapons, encouraging more access to guns, as though that is the solution, I promise you all it’s not. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, just so devastating for these parents who’ve lived through this once and now–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –have to watch it happen again and again and again. 


Juanita Tolliver: There was one striking statement from the Kansas City mayor, Quinton Lucas, at the end of a press conference when he said, that’s what happens with guns. We’ll bring you additional updates on this story in tomorrow’s episode, so stay tuned for more. But turning now to elections, Democrats took home some important wins earlier this week. We wanted to go deeper into what it could mean for their chances in November. As we mentioned yesterday, Democrat Tom Suozzi took the W in New York’s special House election this week, flipping the seat that once belonged to George “Joanne the scammer” Santos. My goodness, we miss the nicknames. Right like–


Priyanka Aribindi: And that’s it. That is it. That’s all we miss. 


Juanita Tolliver: Take a listen to what Suozzi had to say during his victory speech Tuesday night. 


[clip of Tom Suozzi] We won this race. We, you won this race. [cheers and applause] Because we addressed the issues and we found a way to bind our divisions. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Really exciting win, some momentum to get us into election season. Tell us more. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, it’s a huge victory for Democrats and for all New Yorkers in the third Congressional District because they no longer have a serial liar representing them. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely something to celebrate regardless. 


Juanita Tolliver: But in all seriousness, the win is important because it also narrows the Republican majority in the House, and it could offer a glimpse into what we can expect in the presidential election come November. And better yet, on the same day that Suozzi won, local Democrats in Pennsylvania also took home another victory when voters elected Jim Prokopiak in the state’s House special election. That means Dems now hold a majority there. So the energy going into November’s presidential election is high. And for more on what’s at stake this election year, we’re joined by Shaniqua Mcclendon, vice president of political strategy here at Crooked Media. I started by asking her about the take away from Democrats’ win in New York’s third Congressional district on Tuesday. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: I would take away happiness. I’m really happy about it. [laughter] 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes! 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: But, you know, honestly, it’s a big deal. And I think it also just shows that voters are, like, really aware of what’s at stake. They are paying attention, um and showing up. And I also say volunteers are too. Our volunteers filled 202 canvass and phone bank shifts. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oo yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Yeah. So, um which is really encouraging to see this early in the cycle. So I think it just shows us that people are paying attention. And, you know, Republicans, I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m not predicting anything. But the House is up for grabs. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. Heard you loud and clear. As always. There is so much at stake in this election. Let’s start with some of the issues that are animating voters as we head into this year, including abortion access, climate change, immigration, and so much more. What has the president’s message on these issues been so far, and how do you anticipate that these concerns will impact voters as they head to the polls this November? 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: You’re right. A lot of these issues are top of mind for voters and the things that they’ll be focused on when they vote um. I think the economy is another one that people are really paying attention to. Um. I know there’s this huge debate about what the data says versus what people feel. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: But I [laugh]– 


Juanita Tolliver: Come on. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: I think what people feel is always going to be what they’re thinking about when they go to the polls. And so I think, voters will also be thinking really deeply about where each of the candidates stand on these issues. Trump has been president already. Joe Biden is president now. So we’re able to see what each of them has done. We are able to hear what they say they will do. Trump effectively overturned Roe, and he continues to brag about it. And if he’s elected and Republicans are able to take over both chambers of Congress, we will probably see a national abortion ban. You know, some of them are trying to run from that, but they can’t when Donald Trump is running around saying, hey, I’m the reason that Roe was overturned. But across the country, you can see Democrats are doing the opposite. They’re trying to restore it in the places that they can and in some instances, even expanding it, so that if people need to come to their state to access these services, that they’re able to do that. We see it with things like climate. Donald Trump withdrew us from the Paris climate accords. While Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which made a historic investment in fighting climate change. So I’m hopeful that people will pay attention to those things and think about those things. And I think they will. And I think these issues also will drive how people make decisions about how they want to get involved beyond voting. Is this something that’s important enough for me that I’m going to donate my time, donate my resources to help the election go in the ways that they want? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. One thing we’ve also talked a bit about on the show, I know we’ll be talking about this more, is the response to the war in Gaza, particularly towards President Biden. President Biden joined TikTok earlier in the week. All of the comments are basically people really unhappy with the situation in Gaza and that, you know, carries over into real life events as well, certainly a concern of many people. What do you make of the white House and the administration’s messaging? I’m just curious to hear what you think and how they will maybe be able to change that or turn that around before the election. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Yeah, I mean, time is of the essence. I honestly think that is what has plagued them the most. I mean, obviously a lot of people have been killed in Gaza and people are paying attention to it. Something I thought was really interesting to see a week or two ago is that a lot of Black pastors are now weighing in on this, and–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Something we hear from the president very often is that that’s the core, you know, older Black voters, which pastors typically fall into, are the core of who helped get him elected in 2020. And so when I kind of am talking about timing, it feels they’ve been a little bit behind on getting to where they should be. I think they need to be better meeting the moment. What we’re seeing now is they’re condemning what Netanyahu’s doing, but maybe they could have done that a long time ago when people were calling for that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: You know, I think Congress plays a role here, too. Now they’re looking to see some more conditions put on their funding. But I don’t know, it just seems really clear to me that Netanyahu’s not going to listen anyway. And so the administration should be doing all it can to use the leverage it has. People are not happy with the response and not to sound like an old record or broken clock, but I think something else to keep in mind is that Joe Biden has moved, even if delayed, with this messaging in what he wants to do, but that is something that’s not going to happen under Donald Trump. There were some conservative political leaders in Israel saying that if Donald Trump was president, they wouldn’t have to deal with all the resistance that they’re getting from the Biden administration right now. And so I think it’s really important for people to remember that they have been loud about this. And that is the big part of why the administration is shifting on their messaging and has continued to shift over this time. And that won’t be the case if Donald Trump is reelected. 


Juanita Tolliver: And when you say they, we’re talking about Muslim Americans, we’re talking about Arab Americans, we’re talking about young voters who have been a core muscle for the Democratic Party. So– 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s critical. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Yeah, absolutely. And that is why they should be listened to and have been but need to be listened to more. 


Juanita Tolliver: So I want to go back to the other issue Priyanka mentioned from New York third’s Congressional District, which was a winning issue for Suozzi was immigration. Senator Chris Murphy has made a full memo to Democrats about going on the offense, the fact that all of this issue should be laid at the feet of Republicans who are standing in the way of the bipartisan border deal, which took months to negotiate, but because Donald Trump told them to shut it down, they did. And as a result, this crisis is still looming. So talk to me about how you think Democrats are going to apply lessons on immigration messaging going ahead in 2024? 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: I think they’re going to take his advice. The DS put out an ad that just strung together a bunch of news clips, and it was reporters, anchors, pundits saying, this is the thing that Republicans have been saying they’ve wanted forever. And it was literally laid at their feet. And Donald Trump said no. So they said no. And it’s purely for political gain. And something that scares me a little bit is if you get exactly what you wanted and you still say, no, I want the power. It’s like, well, what do you want the power for? 


Juanita Tolliver: Hmm. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: If it’s not–


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: –the thing you said you wanted? 


Juanita Tolliver: Hmm. [laugh]


Shaniqua Mcclendon: It makes me a little scared. But I mean. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: We already should be scared if they get full control. It just really lays bare what Republicans are focused on right now. And it’s just power grabs. They want Donald Trump back in office. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason they want to give him power again. And it’s just something now that Democrats can keep pointing to. They did what they were asked to do. They did the thing that Republicans, I guess, thought they would never do because they were focused on actually getting to a solution. 


Juanita Tolliver: Finally, tell us more about how Votes Save America can help listeners get involved leading up to November. What should we all be doing right now? 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Everyone should be doing something. But um, you can start by going to We just relaunched the site a couple weeks ago, and we have two very new things that I think are really cool. 


Juanita Tolliver: Ooh, congrats. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: The first thing we have is our action finder, where you can literally check a few boxes about where you want to get involved, how you want to get involved, and then we’ll serve you up the best options for you to take action. And you can do that now and then we have our anxiety relief program, which is a monthly recurring donor program, and we took the guesswork out of it. And we basically vet all these organizations and are directing these dollars toward them at the times that makes sense. I want to share where we are right now. I’m really excited. So thank you to everyone. And right now we actually have um, 1437 unique donors who have signed up. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 


Juanita Tolliver: Come on. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: And we are right now at $57,000 a month coming in for this program. So–


Priyanka Aribindi: Hell yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yay! [clapping]


Shaniqua Mcclendon: That’s going to be able to help so many organizations. When you sign up, each month we’ll send you an email with where the money is going and what it’s going to be used for. So you can just really see the impact of your dollars. So that is what you can do. 


Juanita Tolliver: I love us ending on a positive note about how Vote Save America is doing the work, helping people connect to opportunities, and amplifying critical messages. Shaniqua, thank you so much for joining What a Day. 


Shaniqua Mcclendon: Thank you for having me. 


Juanita Tolliver: That was our conversation with Crooked Media’s own Shaniqua Mcclendon. Don’t forget to visit to find out how you can make a difference this election year. That’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: First, we have some updates on the war in Gaza. President Biden signed an executive order yesterday to block the deportation of Palestinians from the U.S. for the next 18 months. In a statement, national Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that they will be protected under what’s called deferred enforced departure, which grants protections for around 6000 Palestinians living in the United States. That will make sure that they don’t have to return to the increasingly dangerous situation in Gaza for at least the next year and a half. Meanwhile, the Israeli military launched extensive attacks on Lebanon yesterday. Lebanese security forces told the BBC that the strikes killed at least seven civilians. Israeli strikes were a response to an attack from Lebanese backed soldiers that killed an Israeli soldier on Tuesday. Elsewhere, families of the around 100 Israeli hostages who are still being held by Hamas, went to the International Criminal Court to demand stronger action. They have filed a legal complaint accusing Hamas of war crimes after the October 7th attack. And we will be following how that case unfolds. 


Juanita Tolliver: The leaders of two major political parties in Pakistan agreed to join forces on Tuesday to keep candidates from former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party out of the country’s parliament, even though they were democratically elected. We told you earlier about how Khan’s party dominated the country’s parliamentary election last week, winning the most seats. The Pakistan Muslim League, another major political party backed by the country’s military, did everything it could to keep that from happening, including jailing members of Khan’s party and cutting off cell service on election day. Now, the league is merging with the Pakistan’s People’s Party to form a coalition government. Together, representatives from the two parties make up two thirds of the country’s newly elected parliament, giving them the power to nominate a new prime minister of their choosing. This is the same strategy the two parties used to oust Khan from office in 2022. According to a statement from the league, the coalition’s nominee will be Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of three time prime minister and the leader of the Muslim League party, Nawaz Sharif. The move essentially guarantees that the military will remain influential in Pakistan’s government as it enters a new term. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The ACLU of Colorado sued Children’s Hospital Colorado on Wednesday because the center discontinued gender affirming surgeries for trans adults in the state. The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of an 18 year old unidentified patient who was scheduled to get chest reconstruction surgery or top surgery at the hospital. He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria under the hospital’s care when he was 16. He was cleared for top surgery by his providers after an eight month assessment period. But last summer, the hospital said that it would no longer offer gender affirming surgeries to trans patients. It cited the main reason was because of an uptick in patient referrals after multiple states enacted bans on various forms of gender affirming care. I don’t really see how that is a valid reason. 


Juanita Tolliver: None. 


Priyanka Aribindi: People want more procedures at your hospital, that is what you’re there for. The result is that this 18 year old patient will likely have to get his top surgery done at a different facility that he’s never been to, by providers he has never met before, and that is if another facility will take his family’s insurance. He has to go through this lengthy, lengthy process all over again with no guarantees of success. The ACLU lawsuit alleges that Children’s Hospital Colorado discriminates against its trans patients by canceling procedures with little to no notice. Procedures, by the way, that are still available to the hospital’s cisgender patients. The center currently still provides chest reconstruction to cis men, many of whom seek out the procedure because they suffer from hormonal imbalances that cause excessive breast tissue growth, and they still provide breast reductions to cis women who want them. 


Juanita Tolliver: Can you imagine the trauma of going through eight months of clearances, insurance checks, evaluations, and then you’re seeing your appointments canceled while someone else is literally being rolled back to surgery for the same procedure? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Ugh. I think the targeted attacks on trans people just trying to live–


Priyanka Aribindi: Live their lives. 


Juanita Tolliver: –is evident yet again. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And it’s everywhere. Evident and it’s everywhere. 


Juanita Tolliver: And as we previewed on the show earlier this week, thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers, along with DoorDash delivery workers, went on strike yesterday in ten major cities to demand fair pay and better working conditions. On the same day, Uber shares hit a record high after the company announced a $7 billion dollar stock buyback. That’s a big win for shareholders, and that’s why Donald Trump was really pushing for that 2017 tax bill, which does nothing for workers and everything for corporations. A lot of workers argued that the platforms take disproportionate sums of their fares as fees. Last year, Uber and Lyft agreed to pay a combined $328 million dollars to settle claims by New York State Attorney General Letitia James that the company systematically cheated drivers out of wages and benefits. In related news, Lyft shareholders got a bit of whiplash. On Tuesday, the company released a 2024 earnings report, but there was a minor error. Well, a major typo. A press release said Lyft was going to see a margin expansion of 500 basis points, which is 5% in 2024. The reality, the actual increase was just 50 points, or 0.5%. [laughter] Shares initially skyrocketed, but after Lyft’s correction, they went down. This is why you need proofreaders people, like wow. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, big yikes. But it seems like a lot of people made money yesterday, and hopefully a lot of people in these big cities where their drivers were striking for better pay and working conditions, honored that strike and didn’t use those services yesterday because they can clearly afford them. 


Juanita Tolliver: Even if you tried to use it, nobody was delivering your food, honey. Dinner service was shut down during this strike. So there you go. And those are the headlines. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Call your congressperson about gun control and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just tech company reports that need a copy editor like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And stretch your way into our DMs, Pedro. 


Juanita Tolliver: Just for the record, I’m fully married. I’m fully happy. So Priyanka I guess that’s all for you.


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean. [laughter] Pedro I like am not as familiar with your work as everyone else’s, but like, maybe if you slide in the DMs, I could get familiar. I don’t know, [laughter] I’m not really making an appealing case for myself. 


Juanita Tolliver: That sounds like you just shot your shot, friend. [laugh]


Priyanka Aribindi: Maybe. Maybe. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.