The Grand Old Parade of Losers | Crooked Media
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May 31, 2023
What A Day
The Grand Old Parade of Losers

In This Episode

  • Former Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence are expected to launch their 2024 presidential campaigns next week, joining the already crowded field of Republican candidates. They’ll be going up against frontrunners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, both of whom are on the campaign trail in Iowa.
  • The Supreme Court is expected to issue rulings in several cases that will have huge social implications nationwide — from elections and voting rights to student loans, affirmative action, and even free speech.
  • And in headlines: The House approved the debt limit deal between President Biden and House Republicans, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed former Secretary of State John Scott as interim attorney general, and high school theater kids in Indiana performed their gender-bending Robin Hood play despite pushback from parents and school officials.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, June 1st. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day. The podcast that is brave enough to tell AI, we don’t want to see what’s outside the famous painting. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, we are not looking at Van Gogh’s Starry Night and thinking, but what about the rest of the sky? We are actually a-okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: I need these robots to take a beat and reconsider their choices their programmers are making for them. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, the House has voted to approve the debt limit deal between President Biden and House Republicans. Plus, Samantha Jones is back. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, she was the hot one. So here we go. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Huge news. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, the 2024 Republican presidential primary is about to get even more crowded as former Governor Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence are set to launch their 2024 campaigns next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Honestly, it’s one hell of a choice for Pence to announce on his birthday as though–


Priyanka Aribindi: What? 


Juanita Tolliver: –that would gain him points or something? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Strange. 


Juanita Tolliver: But he is set to release a video and deliver a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 7th. For Christie, he will announce during a town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on June 6th. And at this point, it feels like a parade of losers lining up one after the other against Trump. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, seriously. I mean, this is who you send? But anyways, do either of these people have a shot at all at breaking through against the frontrunners, Trump and DeSantis here? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, when it comes to Pence, he’s holding at about 6% in national polls. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s impressive to me. That is impressive. Way more than I expected. [laughing]


Juanita Tolliver: I am gagged. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Way more. 


Juanita Tolliver: Chile, this is horrible. You got a national profile and all you can do is 6%. But he’s seen by many Republicans as a Trump traitor who was disloyal to the man who sent an armed mob that was chanting Hang Mike Pence at the Capitol building on January 6th. So there’s that. And it doesn’t help at all that Pence still considers standing up to Trump to be a bad thing and has refused to directly and emphatically call him out over the past two years. So when you add that to the predictable Trump attacks that are to come and the reports that Pence testified before a federal grand jury in D.C. last month, it’s not looking like he will be able to peal off any of those 70% of GOP voters who are ready to back Trump in 2024, according to a recent NBC poll. For Chris Christie, though, nobody likes this man. And that comes through in his ridiculous unfavorables. According to a recent Monmouth poll, Christie is underwater with 47% of Republicans viewing him negatively and unfavorably. And that is a steep hill to climb. I really think the best thing Christie can do at this point is just throw darts at Trump [laugh] and hope that they land in order for someone else to come and pick up the few GOP voters who may be seeking an alternative. And let’s not forget that the critical 2024 wild cards here are the pending Trump investigations that could lead to charges with a federal probe into the classified documents and the Fulton County, Georgia, probe into the 2020 election. So there’s a lot at play here that could impact how Pence, Christie and other GOP primary candidates perform against Trump. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. Definitely a lot happening. Could get crazy. I’m actually okay if it gets crazy. That’s fine by me. Uh. But speaking of Trump, you know, he and DeSantis are both in Iowa. They are campaigning this week. What has that dynamic been like? 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, DeSantis has been making his way through Iowa since Tuesday. And according to Politico, he is, quote, “throwing some uppercuts at Trump.” But– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Whoa. 


Juanita Tolliver: I don’t think that means what they think it means, [laughter] especially when DeSantis still refuses to even say Trump’s name during his speeches to audiences of evangelicals. Like, seriously, this man is skirting every opportunity to stand up to Trump, but he seems to speak more casually with small groups and reporters after his speeches. Take a listen to what DeSantis said to a small group once he got off the stage in Iowa. 


[clip of Ron DeSantis] So, look, I’m going to respond to attacks. I mean, if if you say Cuomo did a better job with COVID than Florida did, first of all, that’s not what he used to say. This is like new like six months ago he would have never said that. Right. He used to say how great Florida was, hell his whole family moved to Florida under my governorship. Are you kidding me? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, that was still giving very, very weak tea to me. But sure, I guess this is the best DeSantis has got when it comes to Trump. And that’s not saying a lot. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s really not. I mean, you’re going to have to step this up, my guy, like, let’s fling some mud. Let’s do it. Let’s go wild. Let’s take the earrings off like we want to see it. Give me that straight into my veins, please. 


Juanita Tolliver: And also, I just need the media to chill the fuck out. If he’s not actually swinging, then don’t say he is like. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, don’t say– 


Juanita Tolliver: No. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –that’s an uppercut. Are you serious? 


Juanita Tolliver: No. Period. Period. Now, Trump made landfall in Iowa Wednesday afternoon and will be doing local television interviews, hosting a lunch with religious leaders and participating in a Fox town hall with Sean Hannity, where I’m sure he will take aim at DeSantis and other candidates like his former VP Pence. But it is also important to note that some GOP primary voters have said they don’t want to see Trump hitting DeSantis. So we’ll have to wait and see just how much Trump heeds that perspective, though I doubt he will. He truly can’t help himself. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m sure Democrats are sitting back and watching every bit of this and waiting for it to truly actually ramp up. While President Biden enjoys a very chill primary season with no real challengers. So there’s that. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I um just sitting here waiting for uh the chaos to unfold. But anyways, thank you so much for that Juanita. 2024 is rapidly approaching, but before campaign season gets into high gear, we have to talk about the Supreme Court. It is officially June, so it is SCOTUS season, whether we like it or not. And in the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to issue rulings in several cases that will have huge implications on everything from elections and voting rights to student loans, affirmative action, and even free speech. 


Juanita Tolliver: And, you know, I’m watching every bit of this, especially as a UNC Chapel Hill alum and as a Black woman voting in this country. There is so much at stake here, especially knowing the kind of court we have right now. So can you give us a preview of what we’re in for this month? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, it really is a lot. But let’s start out with the two affirmative action cases. They are officially called Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College. These specific cases allege that the schools in question discriminate against Asian-American applicants. And in North Carolina’s case, white applicants as well. Through these two cases, conservative activists are trying to end the consideration of race entirely in college admissions. And with this court’s six three conservative majority, they might just get their way. Affirmative action was introduced to address the long history of discrimination that people of color have faced in this country. Supporters say that it is critical to fostering diversity on college campuses and onwards, but critics take issue with the idea that everyone isn’t being treated at the exact same way, which is quite interesting to think about. 


Juanita Tolliver: Respectfully, get the fuck out of here. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Not respectfully, no. [laugh]


Juanita Tolliver: If that’s what they want, we can rewind history a couple of hundred years to make, you know, Black people not enslaved like respect every demographic who actually built this fucking country. But. Okay. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I’m pretty sure the reason we have affirmative action is because that wasn’t the case. But I, congrats on your point. I guess. I don’t know. But if affirmative action is nixed by this court, schools that care about diversity and find it important will be forced to revise their admissions policies and look for new ways to keep incoming classes diverse. Ways they will almost certainly be less effective than affirmative action is already. And those aren’t the only cases concerning college and students that is coming up. There is also a pair of cases about student loan forgiveness. So a lot happening.


Juanita Tolliver: Now this is truly a tricky topic right now, knowing that the debt limit deal may move up the date for payments to restart. So tell us about those cases. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so they are officially known as Biden v. Nebraska and the Department of Education v. Brown. So we know that President Biden has come up with a plan to allow 43 million eligible borrowers to eliminate up to $20,000 in student debt. It would be a massive deal. The administration estimates that 20 million Americans would no longer have any student debt if this went into effect. You know, people have been critical of this, have said that it doesn’t go far enough. But if this does end up going into effect, it really would be transformative in the lives of millions of people. But it has been on hold for months because states claim that Biden doesn’t have the authority to implement this without congressional approval and lower courts have blocked it from going into effect. It’s not quite clear how this case will go. On one hand, the states challenging the program will have to demonstrate how exactly they are harmed by it to show that they have the legal grounds to sue. But, you know, this is a conservative court. They are not particularly fond of the executive branch using its power so broadly. So it’ll be a tough fight for the administration on a huge priority of theirs, one that they have promised that they would make happen, that they campaigned on. And, you know, that will be really heavily scrutinized as we head into the election season that we’re talking about. 


Juanita Tolliver: I keep going back to the fact that no one has had to pay for a student loan since Biden took office. And this conservative stacked court doesn’t rely on logic or precedent when deciding cases. So there’s– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Certainly not. 


Juanita Tolliver: –a lot at stake here and there are plenty of other cases we should also talk about. What else should we keep an eye out for? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, there are so many big ones. We’ll be covering them all on WAD. We’ve talked before about Moore v. Harper. That is the case about Republican drawn congressional maps in North Carolina. There’s also 303 Creative v. Elenis. That one’s about whether business owners who are religious can be sanctioned under anti-discrimination laws for, you know, basically discriminating against LGBTQ people. Feels like they know the right answer there, but they just want to try and take advantage of this court that we have to kind of get around that. But these are all very big deals, decisions that have the potential to reshape policy, practice and reality for so many people in this country. So the importance of what’s to come this month really cannot be overstated. Obviously, we will be keeping an eye on everything and reporting on all of it throughout the month on WAD. We will have more on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The House voted to approve the debt limit deal between President Biden and House Republicans on Wednesday, averting a default. The bipartisan deal suspends the nation’s debt ceiling for the next two years. And the nail biting vote comes just days ahead of the June 5th deadline posed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. As lawmakers began debating the proposal last night, it was unclear if Speaker Kevin McCarthy would clear the 218 vote threshold he needed to pass it. Dozens of Republicans, many of whom refused to support McCarthy’s bid for speaker of the House earlier this year, said that they wouldn’t support the bill. And the only way that the legislation even made it to the floor for debate was because Democrats pushed it through a critical procedural vote earlier in the day. The legislation now heads to the Senate for another vote. 


Juanita Tolliver: And now to the latest on abortion laws across the country, starting in Nevada, where Republican Governor Joe Lombardo enshrined protections for people seeking abortion out of state as well as in state abortion providers making Nevada a safe haven for anyone providing or receiving an abortion. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Republicans introduced legislation that would amend the state’s abortion ban, clarifying which medical procedures do not count as abortion. Their Democratic governor, Tony Evers, will likely veto the bill as he supports restoring abortion rights to what they were before the overturn of Roe v. Wade. And finally, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court struck down two laws yesterday that would have banned abortion in the state, considering them unconstitutional. However, the state still prohibits abortion in most instances barring life threatening emergencies. Abortion legislation remains in flux nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, a lot happening, very clearly in flux, but a lot of this is good news. So very thankful for, you know, the right people being voted in and uh we should do more of that. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed former Secretary of State John Scott as interim attorney general while suspended AG Ken Paxton awaits his impeachment trial. As we talked about on yesterday’s show, Paxton was impeached by the Texas House on Saturday for misconduct, including bribery, fraud, and abuses of power. John Scott comes to the job after serving as Secretary of State from October 2021 until he stepped down in December 2022. During that stint, he was tasked with restoring voter confidence after Republicans passed tougher voting rules. But his efforts failed after nearly 23,000 mail ballots got tossed during Texas’s primary in 2022. Before he was secretary of state, Scott briefly represented Donald Trump when the former president was challenging the 2020 election results. Okay, then. And until this week’s appointment, he has been a regular legislative lobbyist in the state. Scott is an unsurprising pick as he and Abbott have been allies for years and when Abbott was the attorney general, Scott served as deputy AG for civil litigation. Scott will be holding this office until the results of Paxton’s trial, which will begin no later than August 28th. 


Juanita Tolliver: And just like that, Kim Cattrall will reprise her role as the iconic Samantha Jones in a one episode cameo for the second season of Max’s Sex and the City Revival. Yesterday, Variety broke the news to the delight of the show’s fans, who have suffered through a full season of a world where Samantha exists only in text messages on Carrie Bradshaw’s phone. 


Priyanka Aribindi: We suffered through a lot more than that. I’ll just say. We suffered through a lot more than just that. 


Juanita Tolliver: A reconciliation between the show and actress Cattrall had seemed highly unlikely after her very public fallout with star and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker. But according to Variety, Cattrall agreed to the cameo after meeting with the chairman and CEO of HBO and Max Content. And we imagine a whole lot of dollar signs. Reportedly, Cattrall’s scene will air in the finale episode of And Just Like That season two and will feature Samantha in one side of a phone call with Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw. The actor shot her scene on March 22nd, all without seeing or speaking to SJP, and the episode will come out sometime this August. Okay. One. The beef must run fucking deep. Two, this is a lesson in respecting and protecting your boundaries. And three, she clearly secured the bag for this because they wanted her real bad. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: I know, love this for Kim Cattrall, but even more than that, love this for me. Uh. I devour every episode of this show, each one worse than the last, which is honestly hard to do. If you’ve seen a single episode of the show, uh but I will be watching. I was going to be watching whether or not she was there, but this is getting me excited. It’s not just the return of Che Diaz like, we have more to live for. So, everybody, congratulations. If you are a fan, if you are not a fan, today is a day to celebrate, I believe. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Juanita Tolliver: It’s Thursday, WAD Squad. And today we’re doing a segment called WAD Recommends, where we share an under-the-radar news story, movie, book, or even a rude bumper sticker that caught our attention so Priyanka, take us away. 


Priyanka Aribindi: As we all know, today is the first day of Pride Month, and you don’t have to be paying that close attention to the news to notice it is a tough time to be young and queer in our country. That is why we are recommending a story from Hannah Natanson at the Washington Post about a group of high school theater kids in Indiana whose school administration told them that they couldn’t perform their gender bending Robin Hood play, but they decided to do so anyways. This February, the principal of Carroll High School canceled the spring production of Marion, or the true tale of Robin Hood after some parents objected to the script’s queer content. After some heated debate, the superintendent ruled that it wasn’t in the interest of the students and their safety to proceed. But these kids were not about to lose their spring play. With the help of a few adults who helped produce and direct the show, the students were able to raise over $80,000, rent a theater, assemble a cast and sell thousands of tickets to their own independent production. And on May 20th, after only three weeks of rehearsals, they performed to a sold out crowd. There is so much more in this article that we don’t have time to cover. But Juanita, what stood out to you about this story? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, it’s a pride month miracle and there are so many– 


Priyanka Aribindi: It is. 


Juanita Tolliver: –lessons here. Like one, fuck the adults who try to bully you, call them out to their faces. These students did that perfectly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 


Juanita Tolliver: Shout out to the adults who reached out proactively to help them. That is the only way they were able to operate outside the parameters of their school system. And I think it’s a lesson in find the people who support you and do it any fucking way. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m so proud of these students. I’m so hyped for them for not shrinking in the face of these bigots and religious zealots. But, Priyanka, what do you got? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, this was such a great story. I’m not even, like, a really a theater kid, but, like, I have a soft spot in my heart for that. I think it’s really so fun to be in a performing arts, consume that as a member of an audience. But this was like making my heart very warm to read. And it’s such an amazing thing to have pulled off like congratulations to them. I mean, also shame on all the people who stood in their way, including like these community members who like thought that it was in their best interest and like a good use of their time to shut down these kids from doing something that they were passionate about and excited about that wasn’t hurting anybody or anything. They should be ashamed and these students should be nothing but so proud of themselves because this is really awesome. 


Juanita Tolliver: I think the ultimate cherry on top is they performed to an audience of 1500 people, which is way more that could have fit in their high school auditorium. So– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right! 


Juanita Tolliver: Extra points for that.


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, $80,000, like that’s really legit. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. That was WAD Recommends. We’ll put a link to the story in our show notes so y’all can read it too. 




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Stage your play anyway and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just about Kim Cattrall getting what’s hers 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 happy pride everyone. 


Juanita Tolliver: I love that we got a bright spot. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I know. 


Juanita Tolliver: At the end of the month, by these children who are clearly all right. The kids are all right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The kids are more than honestly, they’re doing great. We can all take a page from them for pride and beyond. 


Juanita Tolliver: Period. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. And Raven Yamamoto is our associate producer. We had production assistance this week from Fiona Pestana. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.