The Midterm Voter's Guide To The Galaxy | Crooked Media
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November 07, 2022
What A Day
The Midterm Voter's Guide To The Galaxy

In This Episode

  • Today is Election Day. And Shaniqua McClendon, Crooked’s political director, explains what you need to know if you’re voting today – from what to bring to the polls, to how to respond to voter intimidation.
  • And in headlines: Ukraine accused Russian forces of looting and occupying empty civilian homes in Kherson, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin admitted to interfering in U.S. elections, and Facebook’s parent company is set to lay off thousands of employees.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, November 8th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day. The well-worn but silky safety blanket getting you through the midterms. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, the same safety blanket that’s gotten you through every other stressful day in your life. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We’re here for you, just take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. It’ll be okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Oh my god. I’m kind of inspired. That actually did make me feel better. [laughter] I will be okay. 


Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, another tech giant is planning thousands of layoffs. Plus, a zoo in Oklahoma has harness the power of democracy to name an adorable litter of lion cubs. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, today is Election Day, the holiday, which is, of course, not a holiday at all, though it should be. But I digress. We have covered the election a ton on this show of course. The ups, the downs, the further downs, the many impressive candidates, the ones that seem to have just climbed out of a clown car. And of course, we’ve covered the very real threats to American democracy coming from one party in particular. Do you know which one?


Tre’vell Anderson: We can all say it together. The–


[spoken together] –Republican Party. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Doing the most this year. I have to say. 


Tre’vell Anderson: In all years. [laughing]


Josie Duffy Rice: That should be their tagline. We are doing too much. Yes. Trump’s refusal to accept the election results in 2020 has had a massive negative impact on the future of elections in America. As we’ve mentioned before, many people are intent on stopping the nonexistent election fraud that Trump, and to be fair, the Republican Party before him have spent years fearmongering about. Uh. We’ve seen new laws limiting access to the polls, laws forbidding things like giving water to people waiting to vote. We’ve seen armed vigilantes intent on, quote unquote, “protecting the vote” by intimidating people at ballot boxes. We’ve seen formerly incarcerated people arrested for voting even when they were told by officials that their rights had been restored. All of this is born from the same phenomena voter suppression, voter intimidation, which ultimately are intended to destroy democracy. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And like many of us, the Justice Department has also noticed the uptick in anti-democratic rhetoric and behavior. They announced yesterday that they will send DOJ officials to monitor certain places where voters are heading to the polls today. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, so the Justice Department is sending monitors to 64 jurisdictions in 24 states to ensure that those counties, cities and towns are complying with federal voting rights laws. The range of places include big cities like L.A. and Detroit, plus my city of Atlanta, as well as smaller counties, like Cole County, Missouri, where local election officials have vowed to block the DOJ monitors. These monitors will also be in Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the places that right wingers are, quote, “watching ballot boxes”, often while armed and wearing bulletproof vests. These monitors will be watching for any irregularities or intimidation and are there to enforce laws like the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Voting Rights Act. We all agreed that was a good law. I thought we did. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I thought we did, too. And so if you are voting today, we want to say don’t let these concerns keep you from the ballot box. And they are some other things to keep in mind, whether you’re lining up in person or just dropping off your mail in ballot. To learn more, I checked in with Crooked’s political director Shaniqua McClendon. I started out by asking her what people should bring with them to the polls today. 


Shaniqua McClendon: The first thing I would encourage everyone to do is one go to and you can pull up a sample ballot and you can just research all the candidates who are on your ballot. You can research any ballot initiatives, get background info and kind of fill it out before you get there. So when you get to the voting booth, all you have to do is fill in what you’ve already researched and you’re not, like scrambling on your phone to figure it out. In some states, you know, I would bring water and a snack. Uh. Places like Georgia have made it illegal for volunteers to hand out water and snacks for people who are waiting in line to vote. Pretty much make sure you have all the information and resources you need to possibly wait in line for a long time, but also make a very informed vote. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I want to reiterate the whole look up what’s on your ballot before you get there point. It took me an hour to fill out my ballot here in L.A.. Now, what are you hearing from people on the ground, especially in places where some of these new voting laws have been implemented since the 2020 election? 


Shaniqua McClendon: We work with a lot of grassroots organizations, and to be honest, they really got ahead of this. There’s been a lot of social media campaigns, a lot of voter education. As they’re talking to voters about voting, they’re making sure that they have all that they need to vote properly under voter suppression laws. Uh. And unfortunately, because people turn out, even when these voter suppression laws are put in place, Republicans will often say, oh, see, these aren’t voter suppression laws. People are still coming out to vote. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Shaniqua McClendon: But you should not have to jump through hoops and fold yourself in a pretzel to figure out how to vote. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So we’ve reported on the show about some alarming news out of Arizona about so-called poll workers creeping around ballot dropoff boxes. And Maricopa County election workers said they recorded over 100 threats against them in the run up to today’s election. What should folks do if they see this kind of intimidation today as they’re going to the polls? 


Shaniqua McClendon: Another thing to keep in mind um, I know it can be very scary to see someone with a gun at a polling location and they shouldn’t be there. In Arizona, there was actually um a court order that these folks have to stay a certain amount of feet away from polling locations and also know that what I’m about to say is going to sound like it’s not enough. But call your voter protection hotline like these folks are not supposed to be around you. And if you are so fearful that you know you’re not in a place to do that, talk to someone who’s actually working at the polling location. But calling your voter protection number, will alert the folks who are watching this. There are so many people at the local level, at the state level, and the national level who are working together to make sure people can vote safely. But they have to know about these instances of voter intimidation. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. And now folks standing outside of a polling location with guns is like a very obvious example of– 


Shaniqua McClendon: Yes. [laugh]


Tre’vell Anderson: –Voter intimidation. But we know it’s not always that obvious. Can you walk us– 


Shaniqua McClendon: Mm hmm. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –Through some things everyone should kind of be on the lookout for that might qualify as intimidation and not be as drastic as waving a gun around. 


Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah, it can be as simple as someone at the polling location telling you you can’t vote, even if that is a poll worker, a poll volunteer, a poll watcher. If someone tells you you cannot vote, again call your voter protection hotline. There are a lot of amazing people who volunteer um and work the polls during election season, but they don’t always know the laws. And so it might not even be a malicious effort to say you can’t vote. They just might be uninformed. The point is, you should be able to vote if you have the right to vote. So please, if someone tells you you cannot vote, call your voter protection line. They have attorneys and experts who actually know what would prevent you from voting. And the numbers that we have listed on our resources are folks you can trust who will make sure that if you are able to vote, that you will be able to vote and they will tell you what you need to tell whoever is telling you that you can’t vote. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. Now, we’re already seeing Republicans challenge mail in ballots and a push to disqualify thousands of them in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. Do you think this will have any effect on the election results? Like are we going to be waiting perhaps longer to see what the results look like? 


Shaniqua McClendon: I mean, the point of these lawsuits are to affect the outcome of the election. And fortunately, again, there are a lot of lawyers and experts who are on standby when these ballots are uh challenged. There’s mostly Democrats, but there are people on the other side, uh voter protection organizations and lawyers who are going to be there to make sure that as those challenges are happening, someone’s speaking up on behalf of the voter. Most of the time, again, these are not efforts to, you know, check the security and integrity of our elections. They are just voter suppression efforts meant to disenfranchize people. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. All right. So let’s zoom out. To kind of what the federal government may look like after this election. As always, you know, we’re not in the business of predictions, but there’s a possibility that Republicans could retake the House. But the control of the Senate will remain up in the air, it seems like, with some of these, you know, prognosticating that’s happening. Can you remind us why that’s the case? 


Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. For the house. I’m just going to say gerrymandering and voter suppression. There is no reason in this country where there are so many more Democrats who want people to have the right to vote, who want abortion care to remain accessible, that the House could even flip. But 2020 was the last big election before a redistricting process, and Republicans were really able to take advantage of that. And so if they do win the house, that is going to be a huge reason why they were able to do it. Um. And the Senate remains in the air, one, because you cannot gerrymander a state. It’s you know, people are going to vote all in that state and it will be captured. But also, Republicans, there’s been a lot more attention on their candidates for the Senate and they’ve elected a lot of crazy Senate candidates. I think that they have really done themselves a disservice in a year that historically should have been one that was really good for them. But they’ve elected a lot of people who, you know, are still questioning the validity of our election, who now they’ve kind of tampered back their anti-abortion stances, but for a very long time were really vocal about making sure that people don’t have access to abortion. So that is working against them. And the last part of that, we have a ton of volunteers who are hitting the doors. They’ve been sending text messages and making phone calls for the past few months. And this is like the championship for them these last few days of get out the vote efforts where they are calling everyone, whether it’s their friends and family or strangers, to make sure that they’re getting out to vote. And right now, there’s a ton of research on this that these GOTV efforts are what make up the difference at the margins. So these are 1 to 2 percentage points that can swing an election, and that’s literally all it takes to swing an election. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Gotcha. Gotcha. So election seasons are always exhausting. And I’ve said– 


Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –On the show before that, you know, every election that I have participated in since I could vote has been the election of our lifetime. And, you know, it continues to be. There is so much at stake. We’ve made that case very clear in this conversation, in the various WAD the vote efforts that we’ve done. What message do you have for folks out there who are feeling overwhelmed, who feel like their vote won’t matter or does not count, who are not interested in jumping through some of these hoops that Republicans have put in place– 


Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –As it relates to voter intimidation or, you know, squandering people’s opportunity to vote. What’s the thing that you say to them? 


Shaniqua McClendon: Well, first and foremost, I completely understand. It shouldn’t be this hard to vote. Unfortunately, we’ve just reached a point where one party is so focused on tearing this country apart that if we don’t make at least a little bit of gains in each election, it’s going to be the last one we have. And so that’s why every election is said to be the most important, because until we can step back from the edge, every election will be very important. Um. So the one thing I would tell people is, first, don’t fret over whatever election results you do see today. We’re not going to know the full scope of the election results until at least a few days, but maybe a week or so. We’ve had a ton of volunteers who have been working tirelessly for the last uh few months, quite frankly, and they have been knocking on doors, sending text messages, talking to their family and friends. And the thing that keeps me, you know, motivated by all of that is the fact that I know that something good is going to happen um today. Or when we find out the full results, whether it’s a city council member, a mayor or a state legislature race. And they’re going to be really important as we’re taking this journey to this more progressive society that we’re all working toward. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That was my conversation with Crooked’s political director Shaniqua McClendon. Obviously, we’ll be following how these elections all play out. And if you need some moral support tonight as the results come in, you can join us for Crooked Media’s Group Thread Special. We’ll kick things off with some analysis and Q&A before we start the chat at 7 p.m. eastern on the Pod Save America YouTube Channel. We’ll have a link to that in our show notes. In the meantime, that’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break]. 




Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Ukraine accused Russian forces of looting and occupying empty civilian homes in the city of Kherson yesterday as both sides grapple for control over the embattled region. Russian authorities evacuated residents from Kherson last month to prepare for a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive. Russia illegally annexed it and three other regions in September. And Ukraine claims that Russian soldiers have disguised themselves as civilians to lie in wait ahead of the attack. Kherson has been cut off from water and power for days. Meanwhile, rolling blackouts continue across Ukraine. A spokesperson for the national power grid told residents in Kiev and six other regions to brace for more outages ahead of the winter season. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and well-known confidant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently admitted to interfering in U.S. elections and said that he would keep doing it. That’s according to a post he made on social media yesterday which read, quote, “We have interfered, are interfering, and will interfere.” For years, Prigozhin has denied any involvement in Russia’s effort to undermine American democracy. And this revelation came on the eve of this year’s midterm elections, which, you know, interesting timing, of course, as always, with these things. The White House responded by saying that the claims aren’t surprising and reiterated that the U.S. sanctioned Prigozhin in 2018 for funding a Russian troll farm accused of meddling in recent elections. 


Josie Duffy Rice: San Francisco rock climbing gym is filled with newly liberated ex-Twitter employees. Could get even more crowded because Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is set to layoff a large number of employees this week, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The job cuts would come during an especially tough year for Meta, which has seen its stock dropped by over 70%. Meta said it had 87,000 employees at the end of September. How many of those people will lose their jobs is unknown. But sources did tell the Times that these would be the largest layoffs in the company’s history. The layoffs are expected to come down by the end of the week. 


Tre’vell Anderson: People travel for adventure, relaxation, and self-discovery. But there’s one thing we’re all really looking for when we plan a trip. The actual per night price of an Airbnb. That goal is finally within reach because starting in December, users will be able to see the total prices of their stays in Airbnb search results, including fees for cleaning and other services. The company’s CEO announced the change yesterday and it follows numerous complaints from customers about hidden fees, which can double the price of a booking that comes up in search. I am customers, by the way, in case you were wondering. Airbnb is also cutting down on the tasks that hosts are allowed to ask of guests at checkout. So you might be asked to take out the trash, but you’ll never again have to wash a stranger’s sheets. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, because it was getting a little much sometimes. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It was. Absolutely. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t mop at home. I’m not going to start here. And you are too late to participate in the second most important election of the year. The one to name four lion cubs who were born in late September at the Oklahoma City Zoo. These are the first cubs to be born at the zoo in 15 years. So the zoo opened up the naming process with online voting wrapping up yesterday. Final results will be announced tomorrow. Or you can watch the votes come in in real time on MSNBC with Steve Kornacki gesturing furiously to a touch screen diagram of a lion. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I imagine that Steve Kornacki’s display of these results about these lion cub names would be a lot less frantic, perhaps, than–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –The state of our democracy. 


Josie Duffy Rice: If he is worth his salt. He will make sure to cover both of these elections equally [laughter] tonight. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We can only hope. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Every minute you spend on the midterms, I want a minute spent on the new lion cubs names. And those are the headlines. [music break] That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Climb a rock wall and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just names of Lion cubs like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


[spoken together] And good luck, Steve Kornacki. 


Tre’vell Anderson: We’re rooting for you. We’re lifting you up. We’re sending you bottles of water for sustenance purposes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Godspeed. [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: 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.