It was another very busy day on today's BradCast, as news breaks out of Georgia and California --- and seemingly everywhere else --- though we finally found at least a moment to take some stock of the midterm elections and what they portend, nearly two weeks after Election Day. [Audio link to show follows below.]
Before we get to elections and politics, however, there are horrifying new numbers today out of the ongoing, climate change-fueled wildfires in California. Officials now say that more 60 are known to have been killed, but on Thursday evening they also raised the number of those still unaccounted for amid the record Camp Fire in Northern California to a staggering and gut-wrenching 631. [Update: Just before posting this here, officials in Northern California increased the death toll, announcing 71 dead with more than an unfathomable 1,000 now said to be unaccounted for!]
Then, a Trump-appointed federal judge orders the White House to immediately restore press credentials to CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.
Next, another midterm election victory is called by AP and others for Democrats in what had long been solidly Republican Orange County in California. Katie Porter, an unapologetically progressive Elizabeth Warren protégé, is now said to have defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in the heart of what was once known as "Reagan Country", in the state's 45th Congressional district. Walters had easily won reelection by a huge 17% margin just two years ago, but now becomes the third of Orange County's four U.S. House members to see their seat flipped to a Democrat. The fourth seat, in CA's 39th Congressional district, is very likely to be called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Young Kim any day now.
As of air time, Dems have reportedly picked up a net gain of 36 seats for their new House majority, though that number may still climb to 38 or even 39 seats as votes are tallied in the last of the undecided House races.
Meanwhile, in Florida today, statewide "hand counts" --- or what suffices for them in the Sunshine State --- continued on a ridiculously abbreviated schedule through Sunday in the state's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who is said to lead by 0.41%, or just over 12,000 votes out more than 8 million cast.
The partial "hand count" in the Senate race moves forward after full "machine recounts" in three of the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning counties were rejected by Scott's Sec. of State. In Palm Beach, the County's old computer scanners could not physically tally fast enough to meet the Thursday 3pm deadline at the end of just five days. In Hillsborough County, the second machine count differed from the original count by more than 800 ballots, so the first count will be used (whether it's right or wrong, nobody knows.) And in Broward County, state officials rejected their new count because it was uploaded to the Sec. of State's office two minutes after the 3pm deadline. Seriously.
As a source in Palm Beach told me earlier today about the impossible timelines instituted by state Republicans: "These deadlines they codified into law set up big counties to fail. How a county like ours (population 1.3 million) has the same deadline as a county like Liberty County (population 8400) is beyond me. Five days isn't enough, a week isn't enough, two weeks isn't enough. This is done by design. Why? The biggest counties are blue counties and they don't want those votes counted. It's not complicated."
And, in Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced that her Republican opponent Brian Kemp would be the winner of their very close and contested election, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary voter suppression he has implemented over the past eight years during his tenure as Secretary of State.
"Let's be clear: This is not a speech of concession because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper," Abrams said in a speech to supporters, while denouncing Kemp's outrageous record as the state's chief election official. "As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that."
At the same time, she also announced she is forming a new organization --- Fair Fight Georgia --- that will sue Kemp and the state for "gross mismanagement" of the election as she declared "the law currently allows no further viable remedy" to overcome what many now see as a stolen election in the Peach State.
Finally, we're joined by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, to try and help us make sense of these past two tumultuous weeks since the midterms. We discuss the Dems' extraordinary (and under-appreciated) "Blue Wave", how it has clearly served to throw Trump into a dark emotional spiral while exposing him yet again as a con-man, even to many of his supporters, and how some Democrats appear to be taking the rightwing Fox "News" bait in hoping to block Nancy Pelosi's likely return as House Speaker and leader of the Congressional Democratic caucus in January...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)