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It's our last BradCast until after the Thanksgiving holiday. And for that we are both thankful...and exhausted. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Merrick Garland's newly appointed independent Special Counsel, Jack Smith, is reportedly already at work, now overseeing two Department of Justice criminal probes related to Donald Trump's incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and his theft of classified documents and other Presidential Records from the White House upon leaving office.
Following Garland's announcement on Friday, there are differing opinions from those in the legitimate legal community hoping to see accountability for the former President. Some believe the appointment of Smith was the right thing to do in order to avoid even the appearance of political conflicts of interest. Others believe that it's too late now to appoint a Special Counsel and that Garland should have simply cut to the chase by bringing indictments himself where appropriate.
Garland's appointment of a Special Counsel came on the heels of Trump's announcement earlier last week that he had filed to run again for President in 2024 and the presumption that Joe Biden was planning to do the same. The Attorney General explained that he felt that the "extraordinary circumstances" triggered the DoJ regulations mandating an independent, non-political appointee be named to oversee both cases and to make the determination as to whether indictments should be brought.
We're joined today by two longtime guests of the program, with very different opinions on the matter. Hours prior to Garland's appointment of Smith, former federal prosecutor RANDALL D. ELIASON, now a law professor at George Washington University, published an article headlined "Mr. Attorney General, It's Time to Appoint a Special Counsel," explaining why he believes that DoJ "regulations and the public interest demand it."
His piece was written following Trump's announcement of his 2024 candidacy and in response to an article earlier in the month by Laurence Tribe and Dennis Aftergut's arguing: "Mr. Attorney General, It’s Too Late to Appoint A Special Counsel."
Following the A.G.'s announcement on Friday, Constitutional law expert JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-Founder and President of the government watchdog group Free Speech for People, expressed disappointment and frustration with Garland's decision, tweeting: "Garland has had more than 1.5 years to name a special counsel to investigate Trump. It is not credible that he was unaware during that time that Trump and Biden might run again."
Both Eliason and Bonifaz join us today to hash out their varying positions, with Bonifaz leaning heavily on the argument that Garland lacks "credibility" in his appointment after failing to bring a "vigorous effort" to hold Trump accountability over the past year and a half, "for the crimes that were clearly laid out" by the time Garland took office. He cites the 10 instances of Obstruction of Justice detailed by the previous Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and the fraud detailed by the DoJ's successful prosecution and conviction of Trump attorney Michael Cohen, in which the Department identified Trump as "Individual 1" directing a criminal conspiracy to secretly pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about a sexual affair.
"If he's not being held accountable for those crimes," Bonifaz argues, "why should we believe that he now will be held accountable for these crimes?"
Eliason, on the other hand, sees those matters as separate and distinct from the immediate need to appoint a Special Counsel for the DoJ's two, currently ongoing probes. He explains why he believes the appointment is both necessary and will not substantially slow down any prosecution of the former President if indictments are found warranted by Smith. He is also critical of Bonifaz' argument that indictments should already have been brought by the DoJ.
"When you're talking about prosecuting a former President," explains the former chief of the DoJ's Public Corruption and Government Fraud section in D.C., "they've got to have this buttoned up every way possible. So it is going to take some time. I know there is a lot of frustration or impatience with that, but that's the nature of these cases. If they don't take the time and do it right, then they're going to bring some half-baked charges and Trump gets acquitted."
After that debate, Bonifaz sticks around for a bit longer to explain his group's new campaign to call on Secretaries of State and chief election officials in all 50 states to bar Trump from the 2024 ballot, arguing that his incitement of the January 6 insurrection makes him ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the so-called Insurrection Disqualification Clause. FSFP has joined with Mia Familia Vota to launch a campaign at TrumpIsDisqualified.org to gather signatures for a petition to state election officials, charging "because of his role in inciting, encouraging, and supporting the January 6th insurrection, Trump is constitutionally ineligible for any future run for office."
Also today, several news headlines from over the weekend, including an all too brief conversation with Desi Doyen --- before we disappear for the next week --- about the landmark agreement struck during overtime at the U.N.'s climate conference over the weekend. The nations of the world finally agreed to create a long-sought, so-called "loss and damage" fund that will require wealthy nations who benefited from the use of cheap and dirty fossil fuel energy to help still-developing nations who are not responsible for our climate crisis yet are facing the brunt of the worsening emergency. The 200 nations at the conference did not, however, agree to call out the reason for the emergency --- the burning of fossil fuels --- due to opposition from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, nations with fossil fuel dependent economies...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
There are just too many crimes. Next time we'll need to plan a longer BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
We're not yet beyond the 2022 elections. Votes are still being tallied and races still being called. Only last night, media outlets finally were able to project the GOP would win back a majority in the U.S. House next year, if barely, and that progressive Rep. Karen Bass would be the winner of the Los Angeles Mayoral race over billion real estate developer Rick Caruso. Of course, the fallout from the election will continue for a while. Today, two-time Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- love her or hate her, one of the most effective Speaker's in history --- announced that, while she plans to remain in Congress, she will not seek a leadership role next session. The first women to hold that job said during floor remarks today, that she is passing the torch to a new generation.
Most notably, however --- at least when it comes to accountability for the most corrupt man likely to ever hold public office in this nation, much less as President of the United States --- actual 2022 midterm voting continues as well, in the December 6th U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.
That means the Dept. of Justice guidelines barring overt action in politically-related cases during the 60-day window prior to elections is likely still in effect. But even after the GA runoff on December 6th, as our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel recently explained, "Merrick Garland hasn't done the specific thing you want because DoJ has been busy doing things they have to do first." In other words, before federal indictments can be brought against Donald Trump, as many (yours truly included) are eager to see, there remains a lot of legal work that must be done in order to ensure that any such indictments result in actual convictions.
Our guest today is DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious "Mueller, She Wrote" Twitter account and podcast, which tracks the many (seemingly endless) criminal and civil cases and investigations under way against the disgraced former President about as closely as anyone in the country. She agrees that patience remains a virtue in these cases. Depending on the case, as she explains today, we are looking at a matter of weeks to a matter of months before indictments can be brought against Trump. Though she does believe they are coming and that his announcement this week that he is running again in 2024 provides no protection against prosecution in any of these cases.
As we begin to move beyond the midterms, today seemed a good day to touch base with Gill to help us try and reset where things are regarding to the many ongoing criminal and civil probes, indictments and lawsuits still bearing down on Trump. To be honest, we've lost track of some of them in recent weeks as we'd moved largely full time to 2022 election coverage.
Those pending cases include (but are not limited to):
Add to those, Trump's failure to show up for his deposition this week in response to a lawful subpoena.from the the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. (Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon was recently sentenced to two months in prison for Contempt of Congress for failing to answer similar subpoenas from the Committee.)
"Don't forget," Gill adds today, "his Save America PAC is under federal criminal investigation. His Truth Social [companies] are under FINRA, FEC, and federal criminal investigation. He is facing a lot --- a lot --- of legal problems. We've got the E. Jean Carroll case, the Mary Trump case, the Hillary sanctions, the Michigan sanctions. He's in a lot of trouble from a lot of things. We're going to just have to see who drops the hammer first."
"If we just look at the Watergate timeline," she posits, regarding the sprawling January 6 investigation, "we won't see indictments until April 2023. And this is far more complex [than Watergate]. So it's going to be interesting to see how the timing plays out. Or whether maybe Garland says, 'Hey, Fani Willis, you take the fraudulent electors stuff, I'll take the documents stuff.'" That, she explains, would have the advantage of potentially convicting Trump under state law for which he can't be pardoned by a future President (or even by a Georgia Governor, since they are not granted state pardon power.)
Gill does believe --- in fact, she is "very, very certain" --- that Trump will be indicted in at least one of the federal cases we discuss today. Tune in to find out which one!
Finally today, Desi Doyen's got our latest Green News Report, as the COP27 U.N. climate conference in Egypt nears crunch time this weekend; Trump offers well-worn climate lies at his 2024 announcement; and some good energy related news to close out today's program...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Crunch time for an agreement at the U.N. COP27 climate summit in Egypt; NASA projects sea levels will rise a foot by 2050; Trump repeats well-worn litany of climate lies in 2024 announcement; PLUS: Climate disinfo is surging again, deceiving the public about solutions... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Regulators clear path for largest dam demolition in history; The biggest wild card in the climate crisis: thawing permafrost; Guide to global emissions: what GHG and Scope 1, 2 and 3 mean; Deforestation brings bat-borne virus home to roost; Tribes in the Colorado River Basin are fighting for their water; California revises and tightens climate change strategy; Scientists discover more than 22,000 endangered manta rays off coast of Ecuador; Devastating floods in Nigeria were 80 times more likely because of climate crisis; Florida wildlife officials to feed manatees lettuce to slow starvation again this winter... PLUS: Unexpected polar bear population may offer some hope for the species.... and much, MUCH more! ...
It may be a somewhat disconcerting deja vu on today's BradCast for longtime listeners. Apologies in advance. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Seven and a half years ago, on the day Donald Trump came down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to declare that Mexicans were rapists and he was running for President, our guest was HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Since then, she's joined us to try and make sense of virtually every landmark event during his disastrous candidacy, Presidency and post-Presidency.
Back in June of 2015, when posting that day's show at The BRAD BLOG, I headlined it "The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster'". Most in the media considered Trump's candidacy a joke at the time. We felt otherwise. I believe history has proven us right on that one.
After multiple failed attempts at trying to steal the 2020 election, including inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of stealing it by force, and with multiple criminal investigations against him now underway at both the state and federal level, Trump announced (to the nation's chagrin) his third run for President on Tuesday night. He did so at a really long and boring super-spreader event at Mar-a-Lago, the scene of at least one of the many crimes for which he's being investigated. Parton joins us once again today to discuss whether we should be as worried this time about Trump's candidacy (she describes it at Salon today as "the America First Vengeance Tour 2024") and whether he or Ron DeSantis would be more difficult for Democrats to defeat in 2024.
We spend more time, however, discussing the three-ring circus, circular firing squad, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, for the Republican House and Senate leadership battles now under way following last week's midterm elections in which the GOP appears to have won the narrowest of majorities in the U.S. House --- but not much more than that anywhere else. Will the splintered, increasingly loony GOP caucus in the House even be able to get 218 votes for anybody as House Speaker come January? ("They have created an absolutely insane caucus filled with lunatics, and now they're having to pay the piper on this," says Parton. "This is what happens when you embolden people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene. She'll be operating as a shadow Speaker.")
Also today...A note of caution at the top of the show: Do not be fooled by Trump's deceptive call at his announcement speech on Tuesday night for "paper ballots" to help fight fraud in elections. He has no clue what he's talking about. Else he would have called for "hand-marked paper ballots," since all of the states he lost (but pretends to have won) already use paper ballots! He's also demanding new voter suppression measures. We explain all of the above today.
In related news, two counties in the state of Mississippi used hand-marked paper ballots in the 2022 midterms for the first time. After some 20 years of forcing voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems --- while we've been begging them to move to hand-counted paper ballots for all of those years --- the clerks of both counties report that voters and pollworkers loved the new system and it worked great! In fact, the clerks also found that it was both faster and more cost-efficient than their 20-year old unverifiable touchscreens. Who could have predicted it?
Following a new state law adopted in April, all counties in MS must upgrade their systems before the 2024 Presidential elections. As noted on today's show, I've long argued that it would likely take a high-profile Republican getting screwed by touchscreen voting systems before GOPers finally demanded a move to verifiable voting systems. I was close. What I should have said was that it would take a high-profile Republican pretending to be screwed by touchscreen voting systems before they'd finally demand such changes.
Finally, we close with some listener email. Enjoy!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
"Election Day" coverage continues today into its second week on BradCast, as more of the closest races are being called and as a clearer picture emerges as to what actually happened and why. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Shortly after airtime on Monday night, media outlets finally called the very close Arizona Governor's race for Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs over former TV news anchor and failed Trump-wannabe Kari Lake. As we detail, Lake's apparent narrow loss was likely particularly satisfying for outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.
Hobbs' lead over Lake, with almost all votes tallied, is 0.7% as we go to air. That is above the 0.5% or less required for an automatic recount in AZ, where state law (shamefully) does not allow for candidates to request and pay for a recount on their own. That, of course, will allow Lake to continue to present evidence-free claims of "fraud" in her election, particularly given unexplained Election Day failures of some optical scanner at some polling places in Maricopa County. That shouldn't have prevented anybody from voting --- thankfully, Arizona votes on hand-marked paper ballots --- but it did mean that some ballots cast at the polls on Election Day had to be tabulated back at County headquarters later.
Presuming Hobbs' victory is certified as expected, that means the AZ's Governor's office turns from "red" to "blue" for the first time in 13 years. (It'll be the third state where that happened this year.) Add to that the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators and Democrat Adrian Fontes' victory over Trump-backed election liar Mark Finchem for Sec. of State, and Democrat Kris Mayes currently leading Republican Abe Hamadeh (if barely --- and easily within recount territory for now) in the race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Attorney General. All of that looks a lot like a new "blue" state, with every major statewide seat in AZ perhaps soon to be occupied by a Democrat in advance of 2024.
Yes, it was a stunning midterm election across the nation, as that "red wave" that Republicans and corporate media imagined and promised, never arrived.
"This is the best midterm election result for a newly-elected Democratic President in their first term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934," notes our guest today, progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, describing the results as "remarkable" and "against all sorts of historical patterns," while observing that this is the "third election cycle in a row where Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in the Republican Party and the Republican Party has lost. It's kind of a pattern."
So why did the results defy history? "I think the answer is that our politics have changed. We're not in the same world that we were in before," explains Nichols, who we have turned to many times over the years following Election Days to try and make sense of them. "Local media doesn't exist the way it used to, so elections are nationalized. We have seen the two parties go more to their corners --- the Democrats at least somewhat to the left, Republicans way to the right --- so we have to adjust our filter. And if we do, we understand that this election actually tells us a lot about where potential Democratic majorities and coalitions are in the future."
We dig deep into the remarkable results and how they may have been even better for the Democrats had the party not been so taken by their own fears that the media might have been right about the "red wave" which never came. Those poor predictions (which often contradicted the media's own available evidence to the contrary) also resulted in an overconfident GOP which, like the Democrats, ended up spending money in many of the wrong races. Nichols explains how Dem victories might have been even broader had they fought more aggressively and less defensively by funding, for example, more rural races where Democrats could have also won with more support from the Party.
He breaks down the likely reasons that the excellent Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, in Nichols home state of Wisconsin, ended up losing to the insufferable Republican insurrection enthusiast Sen. Ron Johnson, and why other excellent candidates, if arguably less progressive ones, like Tim Ryan in Ohio and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, ended up falling short.
In addition we also dig into how critical young voters --- lots of them! --- were to what ultimately happened this year. "Young people ought to be where you're putting a lot of your resources. As a party, Democrats need to be talking to young voters, bringing young people into leadership positions in the party. If you do, the rewards are immense," he avers. "Under 30 and especially under 25, the bias is 28% in favor of the Democrats. At the very end of the 2022 cycle, in states across the country, you had a lot of young voters lining up and casting votes. They don't turn out at the same percentage, at the same level, as older voters do. But if they turn out strong, it has a huge impact."
We also discuss how an institutionalist like Joe Biden has been clever enough as President to shift his policies toward the progressive left, in tune with those voters and the American electorate overall.
"Let's be very clear," Nichols argues today, "despite what games pundits try to play, Americans had a very clear choice. In 2022, they had a choice between an extreme rightwing Republican Party straying toward authoritarianism on many issues and a Democratic Party that was edging toward progressivism, and was attacked for that. And what did the American people decide to do? In a surprise to everyone, to the politicians and the pundits, they decided to go for the party that is edging towards progressivism."
Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as Biden pledges leadership and funding at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, and restarts climate negotiations with China...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Biden pledges U.S. leadership and funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume formal climate negotiations; Hurricane Nicole was a very expensive storm; PLUS: Democrats hold on to thin Senate majority, holding the line on U.S. climate policy... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): COP27 considers 'loss and damage' fund, but has yet to commit; Weak GOP showing in midterms blunts possible attacks on Biden climate agenda; Is 'Global Shield': A climate fix or a distraction?; Offshore wind blowing up big time, in a good way; Manchin FERC shake-up may stymie Biden’s clean energy plans; UN to seek out methane emitters with data from space... PLUS: Texas' National Butterfly Center makes a comeback after rightwing attacks... and much, MUCH more! ...
Welp, Election 2022 continues into its second week of counting on today's BradCast. But it's our first chance to open up the phones to listeners after last week's historic midterm face-plant by Republicans and its associated very very good news for Democrats and American democracy itself. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Before we go to the phones today, a bit of a monster "rant" on the accomplishments of Joe Biden and the Democrats after two years in office; a few updates on races called since we signed off last Friday; what they all mean; and some of the races still being tallied (which will also determine, among other things, which party controls the House of Representatives next year.)
The big races called since our final show last week include the U.S. Senate contests in Arizona and Nevada, both of which went to the incumbent Democrats in each state (Sen. Mark Kelly in AZ and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in NV). Those victories ensure majority control for Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress once again in January. Dems will have at least a 50/50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie vote, even before the December 6 Senate runoff in Georgia between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R).
But there are a ton of reasons for Democrats in GA to not let down their guard. Dante Atkins, over the weekend, detailed just some of the reasons why a 51-49 Senate is much better for Dems (and democracy) than a 50-50 Senate.
While Dems were celebrating retaining their Senate majority over the weekend, we were celebrating the fact that the last of the 2020 Election liars running for Secretary of State in battleground states were declared to have lost. In AZ, Democrat Adrian Fontes will become the new Sec. of State after defeating Trump-endorsed insurrection enthusiast and voting opponent Mark Finchem. And in NV, Democrat Cisco Aguilar was declared the winner over Trump-backed election liar Jim Marchant, founder of the "America First Secretaries of State coalition," featuring all of those Republican SoS candidates who, thankfully, were rejected by voters in last week's elections across the country in every single swing-state in which they ran. That alone will make the 2024 Presidential election indescribably safer.
Throughout the program, we also take care to call out a few of the folks from the Republican Party, the corporate media, and the even some on the lazy, knee-jerk far-left who ignored the available data and facts in order to misinform American voters that the GOP see a red wave, or even red tsunami, in last week's midterms. They didn't. They lost a seat in the Senate; will be lucky to win the narrowest of majorities in the House; lost Governorships in Maryland and Massachusetts (and, perhaps, Arizona, which is still close); took full control of both the Michigan and Minnesota state governments and may do the same in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, just to detail a few of the GOP's remarkable failures in a year that Conventional Wisdom suggests they should have owned the night.
Also, mid-hour today, we get an update in the tallies of the very right Los Angeles Mayoral race where progressive Rep. Karen Bass just got a big boost from the latest numbers in her contest against "former" Republican billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso.
Then, we turn to the phones for the first time since last week's midterms to get some thoughts from listeners on what the lack of "red wave" means for both Democrats and Republicans and whether any of it will help break the GOP's Trump Fever that is destroying both them and our democracy along with it (though not this week, at least!)...
On today's BradCast: It's no surprise that Fox 'News' deluded itself for months and even years about a "red wave" or "tsunami" coming for the 2022 midterm elections. It shouldn't be a surprise that the theoretically legitimate media got it wrong as well, given that they seem to make the same errors election after election. And yet, it's both surprising and disappointing, given that the data to counter their erroneous narrative was right there in front of their face the whole time...if they simply bothered to, or had the courage to, listen to it. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
"There was nothing magical about what I did," our guest today, TOM BONIER of the Democratic data research firm, TargetSmart, explains. "It was, as you say, seeing the numbers and reporting the numbers and, in the end, trying to stay away from predictions or projections, but to say, 'Look, this is what we're seeing'."
Bonier's well-documented Twitter threads on the data over the past many months spelled out what shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. In the face of extremism from the right and, in particular, the Supreme Court, there was a backlash against Republicans which served to boost Democrats across the board.
Prior to today, Bonier joined us twice in recent months to discuss his analysis of data and what he was seeing and tweeting about to anyone who might have wanted to listen. In late August, after voters in deep red Kansas decisively rejected a ballot initiative that would have rewritten the state constitution to allow abortion to be banned, he joined us to explain what he saw as a "jaw-dropping" spike in new voter registrations for young, Democratic women following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in late June, overturning Roe v. Wade. Bonier saw similar spikes in new registrations all over the map, in "red" and "blue" states alike, but particularly where reproductive rights were most threatened.
In late September he joined us again after analyzing specific voter data from that failed Kansas referendum. Hard evidence of an incredible spike in women voters that, he told us at the time, "just doesn't happen in elections." He posited that any suggestion that Democrats would be swamped in November, as the so-called Conventional Wisdom offered by pundits would have it, was simply ignoring the available data. He argued the election would be very close and almost certainly not a "wave" for the GOP.
He was right. Even though, over the past month in the run-up to Election Day, the corporate media were, largely in lock step, warning that Dems were done for, soon to be swamped by a red wave or even tsunami! How much of that erroneous punditry "blunted" the final results, Bonier laments, citing races like Mandela Barnes' in Wisconsin, where the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate fell just shy of unseating incumbent Republican Ron Johnson by a single point.
"I like to think of myself as an optimist, but it was difficult over the last few weeks and months," he tells me. "In reality, what we do at TargetSmart is we listen to the data. That's all we were doing. Along the way I was looking at the voter registration data, looking at the early vote data, looking at it in the context of the polls and trying to draw some conclusions. But mostly providing context and questioning the hard-set assumptions that were really leading everyone."
We discuss, among other things, the "flood of Republican polling" in the last few weeks of the campaign and how it warped forecasts from poll aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight, and how his fellow traveler, Simon Rosenberg, who also had it right, was "mocked" when he highlighted how forecasts were being swamped by those bad GOP polls.
By itself, the media failure "doesn't happen. It took some level of complicit behavior from those who should be guards against it," Bonier insists. "People are mocking Fox News at this point. We know it is a very biased Republican media platform. But the bottom line is most of cable and these other outlets had a level of certainty about this outcome in a very similar way. I have to say, as I spoke with reporters in the closing weeks, I would be telling them 'Look, this is going to be a close election. I don't see a Republican wave. I don't see that in the numbers.' And I was just short of mocked by reporters."
But, why? Is it a lack of courage to stray from the pack journalism and group think? Or, as media critic Dan Froomkin argued today, a symptom of systemic "rot" in the political media? Bonier offers his frank thoughts on that and much more as we dig deep in today's discussion. I strongly urge you to tune in for it in full.
Also today, in addition to our own mocking of Fox "News", we've got plenty left over to mock folks like HBO's Bill Maher and Spotify's Joe Rogan and CNN's Fareed Zakaria and NYTimes' Maggie Haberman who all got it wrong as well --- and misled the American electorate in the bargain --- for many of the reasons discussed on today's program. And, we've also got the latest reported results out of still uncalled critical races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General in Arizona and Nevada...
On today's BradCast: If the Republican Party wins a narrow majority in the U.S. House following this week's nowhere-near-a-red-wave midterm elections, will it have been because of gerrymandering? Our guest today explains why the answer to that question is unequivocal. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]
First up, however, a few observations on how Fox "News" uses its smartphone app to insidiously further brain-poison followers with rightwing propaganda and disinformation. Today's example: How very encouraging news from the federal government on the economy, with signs that inflation may be easing, sent the stock market soaring. But for duped users of the Fox "News" app, it became just more terrible news about the economy injected straight into their brains.
Next, we get caught up on the latest reported results from the ongoing tabulation of very tight Senate (and Gubernatorial) races in Arizona and Nevada, which, along with the critical December 6th U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia will determine control of the upper chamber of Congress for the next two years.
Also, an update on the vote counting in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District where far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert --- listed in the New York Times' "Republicans expected to win easily" column this year --- has regained a razor-thin 0.38% lead over Democratic challenger Adam Frisch. That, after she was losing by just 64 votes overnight out of more than 300,000 counted.
In all of those states --- Arizona, Nevada and Colorado --- Democratic advocates are suggesting confidence that remaining untallied votes will secure victories for their candidates in most of those races, including those in which tallies show them trailing at the moment or just barely ahead. I'm dubious about some of those claims, but we'll see if they're right and which of the races end up in recounts as the grueling battles for narrow control of both chambers of Congress continues.
When it comes to the House, however, given the limp performance by Republicans on Tuesday, it's become clear that if they regain a majority there, it will only be due to gaming the electorate through both extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering...with the help of corrupt courts at both the state and federal level.
We're joined once again today by redistricting expert and author DAVID DALEY, a Senior Fellow at FairVote. In an article on this today at The Nation he describes how aggressive --- and frequently unlawful and unconstitutional --- gerrymandering by GOP legislatures in several "red" states following the 2020 Census, in concert with corrupt rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and several state high courts, is to be credited for what most currently see as a likely, if very narrow, GOP takeover of the U.S. House. He calls it a "rigged House majority.'
"Republicans really won the redistricting wars," Daley tells me today. "Their partisan and racial gerrymanders won them more than enough seats to make up the difference between the two parties in what was essentially a jump ball election. By having gerrymandered maps in Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia; by having courts put a thumb on the scales for them in Alabama, Wisconsin, Louisiana and elsewhere; and by having blue state courts not allow Democrats to engage in the same kind of anti-democratic behavior, Republicans were able to take enough seats to take the House."
He explains: "Once you start adding up all of the states that Republicans claimed either through extreme partisan gerrymandering, and what the federal courts and the state courts gifted them; when you take the four seats in Florida, a couple seats in Ohio, a couple in Texas, in Tennessee, and Wisconsin; when you take the seats that Republicans bulldozed or hijacked from independent commissions in Arizona and Iowa, you're looking at somewhere between 12 and 14 seats --- which, I think, will probably end up being something close to twice what the ultimate majority in the House ends up being."
Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the rare, late-season Hurricane Nicole, which slammed into Florida's eastern seaboard overnight and a round-up of climate related victories and losses in Tuesday's midterm elections...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Missing 'red wave' in 2022 midterm elections is good news for the climate; New reports warn of skyrocketing methane levels; PLUS: Mixed results for state environmental ballot propositions... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Former Interior Secretary Zinke wins Montana US House seat; A NASA satellite launched to detect dust has discovered huge methane leaks; COP27: John Kerry makes his move on private climate finance; Heat pumps mandated in Washington state; No Surprise: Climate Denier John Stossel Spreads Disinformation about EVs; US To Climate Summit: American climate policy won't be repealed; How Mitsubishi vacuumed up tuna from a rogue Chinese fishing fleet; Who's driving climate change? New data catalogs 72,000 polluters and counting... PLUS: How to Live in a Catastrophe: In search of a way to think clearly about the planetary crisis... and much, MUCH more! ...
Republicans and corporate media appeared to be shocked on Tuesday night. But it looks like we had it right all along on BradCast regarding this year's midterm elections. And, once again, the corporate media didn't. But, good news for them! As usual, they'll pay no price for being wrong, no matter how many times they ill-serve the nation with their failures. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
There was no "red" wave. Conventional wisdom, as we've been advising since early Spring, was to be ignored before this year's midterms in these decidedly UNconventional times. If we could see that data --- sometimes via polling from some of the very same media outlets --- why couldn't the corporate media? Maybe its group think. Maybe its because whatever Republicans tell them they believe to be the truth, or simply report it as such.
In any event, while there was no "red" wave, it is still quite possible that Republicans win majorities in both the U.S. House and the Senate --- if just barely in each case. And while Dems, as we go to air today, have an apparent edge to hold on to their Senate majority, it'll almost certainly require another win in another U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month to nail it down. There even remains a long-shot chance that Dems can keep a majority in the House as well, and that, as we explained yesterday, it all may come down to the effect of unusually large downpours on Tuesday's Election Day in both Northern and Southern California.
Either way, for the moment, American democracy, while still on life support, has lived to see another day. For now. In similarly encouraging news, our previous President may even finally face some accountability from his own infuriated party. They were deprived of what should have been a huge and easy win on Tuesday, but for the rightwing loons that Donald Trump helped push into the Party and onto ballots across the nation. Many of them, if not all, lost bigly.
On today's program, we discuss all of the above and, based on what we know as of airtime, run through a ton of critical victories and losses --- including both inspiring surprise wins and several disappointments --- in dozens of states, at both the state and federal level.
As of yesterday's election, anyway, American voters (including many young ones, thankfully!) appear to have held the line for democracy. It is not dead yet. For that, I hope you'll take a minute or two to breathe a small sigh of relief. But not too many minutes. The good fight ain't over yet. Not by a long shot...
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