MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The presidency and the senate are still not certified for either political party. What’s the state of the race? We’ll hear from political reporter Jamie Dean.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also we didn’t hear much about foreign interference in the 2020 election. We’ll find out why.
Plus we’ll pay a visit to a Mississippi cattle auction.
And WORLD commentator Ryan Bomberger on perspective gained from a near-death experience.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, November 10th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Pfizer may seek FDA authorization for coronavirus vaccine this month » Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the Trump administration is gearing up to begin distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a matter of weeks.
That after an encouraging report from drugmaker Pfizer. The company said results from Phase 3 trials are showing its vaccine to be 90-percent effective in preventing COVID-19. Azar told Fox News…
AZAR: We’ve actually guaranteed receipt of FDA authorized vaccine from Pfizer, a 100 million doses that we’ve purchased for $2 billion dollars with an option for another 500 million more.
Pfizer appears to be on track to apply for emergency-use approval from the FDA later this month.
President Trump tweeted Monday “VACCINE COMING SOON … SUCH GREAT NEWS!”
Joe Biden also welcomed the news, but…
BIDEN: At the same time, it’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come.
In the meantime, he urged all Americans to wear masks in public and socially distance.
Biden names COVID-19 advisory board » In a press conference Monday, Biden also announced his own coronavirus task force.
BIDEN: Today, I have named a COVID-19 transition advisory board, comprised of distinguished public health experts to help our transition team translate the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan into action.
He said former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will lead the panel, along with former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Yale University public health expert Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Other members of the panel will include prominent epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.
And assuming Biden is certified as the winner of the election, he’ll also ask Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay on in an advisory role.
Meantime, other top Trump administration officials have tested positive for COVID-19.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is the latest official to contract the virus. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tested positive earlier this week.
Stocks rally worldwide on vaccine hopes » Stocks rallied across the globe Monday following news of Pfizer’s vaccine progress. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Global markets were brimming with hope Monday that people may soon begin to return to normal life.
The Dow added 834 points on the Pfizer news. The S&P 500 also finished higher.
Markets also seemed relieved to move past the election. With the expected outcome of a Biden White House and a GOP-led Senate, the divided government would likely offer a balance of predictable policies.
Stocks of companies that most need the economy and the world to return to normal led the way. Chevron and the Walt Disney Company both jumped nearly 12 percent.
Cruise operators and owners of office buildings and shopping centers were among the market’s biggest winners.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Trump fires Defense Secretary Esper » President Trump has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
He tweeted Monday—quote—“Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”
In his place, Trump named Christopher Miller as acting secretary of defense. Miller is the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Trump and Esper have been on the outs for months. Over the summer, Esper disagreed with the president on whether it was appropriate to use active-duty military forces to tamp down protests in the United States. He also supported the idea of renaming some military bases that honored Confederate generals.
Tropical Storm Eta taking aim at Fla. Panhandle, but track uncertain » Tropical Storm Eta is still spinning over the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. Where it’s going remains to be seen.
Ken Graham with the National Hurricane Center told WKMG…
GRAHAM: You know, our track still takes it back up to the north and back up to portions of the Panhandle or the west coast of Florida, but there’s also some modeling that suggests that—well it may miss that trough and just sort of meander out there. So there’s still some uncertainty with that extended forecast.
As of last night, Eta was still packing winds just under hurricane strength, around 70 miles per hour.
The storm has already caused flooding across large areas of South Florida.
And Eta proved deadly last week in Mexico and Central America, killing hundreds as it triggered flooding and mudslides.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: a week of political limbo.
Plus, Ryan Bomberger on the 2020 rollercoaster.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, the 10th of November, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: political limbo.
Joe Biden declared victory over the weekend, but President Trump has not conceded. He’s filed legal challenges in several states, alleging fraud. But the Trump campaign must prove that claim with specific, credible evidence. And it will be up to judges to decide if the evidence is compelling and clear, and—most importantly—whether it could change the outcome of the contest.
REICHARD: And until that happens, the wrangling over this election is far from over. Joining us now to talk about the latest developments is Jamie Dean. She’s WORLD’s national editor and chief political reporter.
Good morning, Jamie!
JAMIE DEAN, REPORTER: Good morning!
REICHARD: When the Associated Press called the race for Biden on Saturday, that largely hinged on Pennsylvania, where he led by a little more than half a percentage point. Pennsylvania’s state law requires an automatic recount if the margin is 0.5 percent or less. So why did AP, followed by other media outlets, conclude the race was over?
DEAN: The Associated Press issued an explainer about this over the weekend. Basically, they said they concluded Biden’s lead would stay above the .5 percent margin as the final votes were counted. Here’s a quote from that explainer published on Saturday: “There are roughly 62,000 mail ballots remaining to be counted. Biden has won the overwhelming majority of mail ballots cast in the state.” End quote.
AP also estimated an additional 100,000 provisional ballots remained to be counted in Pennsylvania, as of Saturday. So, what about those votes?
In their explainer, they said that their analysis of, quote,“a small set of provisional ballots from Trump-leaning counties showed Trump was winning them by a smaller margin than his Election Day vote totals in those counties. The analysis led AP to conclude Trump could not gain enough votes from provisional ballots to overcome Biden’s margin.”
REICHARD: And that did seem to bear out on Monday…
DEAN: Right. When AP called Pennsylvania for Biden on Saturday, he was leading by .51 percent of the vote. Remember, it takes a margin of .5 percent to trigger an automatic recount. But by Monday, Biden was leading by .67 percent. So his lead was growing.
If Pennsylvania did somehow wind up going to a recount, it’s relatively rare for a recount of a statewide race to change the outcome of an election. But even if the chances are slim, the Trump team may continue to cite ultra-slim margins as a reason to continue with challenges.
REICHARD: This situation has put Republican lawmakers in a difficult spot. How are they handling it?
DEAN: Some high-level Republicans remained quiet over the weekend: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hadn’t commented—either way—by early Monday. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was quiet on Saturday, but on Sunday, he said, that we need to quote, “make sure every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed, and every legal challenge should be heard.” End quote.
Some Republicans did congratulate Biden, including former President George W. Bush, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, and retiring Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. Others urged Trump to continue the legal process and said that voters should wait for the outcome.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri was one of them. He tweeted on Saturday: “The media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do. When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts re-finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is.”
REICHARD: So, Jamie, what are you watching for in the days ahead?
DEAN: While many think the current math makes a Biden win inevitable, this week will reveal a couple of things: It will show whether Trump’s legal team makes headway in courts. As we said earlier, the burden is on the president’s legal team and other Republicans to give specific, credible evidence of any voting irregularities that would change the outcome of the election.
This week we’ll also see whether the president continues to reject calls to concede before the litigation is complete. Whatever the case, the clock is ticking: Members of the Electoral College are set to cast their votes for president on December 14th.
REICHARD: What is the Biden-Harris team doing between now and then?
DEAN: They’re beginning to build their transition teams and lay the groundwork for taking control of the White House in January. I think we’ll have a lot to follow on that front in the weeks ahead. But don’t forget another major front to follow: Who will control the Senate?
This is an enormously important question, and will have a major impact on the shape of the presidency. It’s the question of whether Republicans will retain their majority in the Senate, along with their ability to thwart at least some of Democrats’ ambitions.
Those ambitions are big: Biden has spoken of expanding Obamacare, investing aggressively in climate change legislation, rolling back some of the provisions of Trump’s tax cuts, and passing the Equality Act—a measure that could pose direct challenges to religious liberties.
So what happens in the Senate will directly affect what and how much a Biden White House could do.
REICHARD: Finally, remind us where the battle for the Senate stands.
DEAN: It’s all coming down to two Senate races in Georgia that are headed to run-offs in January. At the moment, it appears Republicans are likely to control 50 seats in the Senate, and Democrats will control 48. The two run-off races in Georgia will determine whether Democrats can pick up two more Senate seats and bring them to a 50-50 tie in the Senate.
If Democrats do prevail in both of those races, a presumptive Vice President Kamala Harris would break any tie in the Senate. That means the shape of the next presidency is still very much up in the air, and that for the next couple of months, it looks like it’s going to be Georgia on our minds.
REICHARD: Jamie Dean is WORLD’s national editor and chief political reporter. Thanks so much for joining us today!
DEAN: You’re welcome!
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: foreign election interference.
NICK EICHER: Four years ago, Russia set out to tamper with the U.S. presidential elections in a variety of ways.
They never changed any votes cast. But they did manage to hack into and probe voter databases—in addition to sowing even greater division among Americans.
REICHARD: Heading into this year’s elections, cybersecurity analysts prepared for a similar campaign.
WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on why it never materialized.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: After 2016, Americans’ vocabularies grew to include words like trolls and bots.
MARCELLINO: So trolls are fake personi.
William Marcellino is a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. He says a troll is a real person hiding behind a fake online identity.
MARCELLINO: Some of them are liberal, progressive, some of them are Conservative. And you spend the whole day going through pretending to be you know, somebody in in Kansas somebody in Portland, and you put out scripted content to try and move the needle on and persuade people informationally.
Four years ago, Russian-sponsored trolls operated thousands of false identities that posted fake news articles and inflammatory comments.
The Russian government also operated huge networks of bots. Those are fake accounts run by a computer.
Elisabeth Braw is a national security scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She says Russia’s online election meddling and attacks on state election infrastructure mobilized the U.S. government.
BRAW: The 2016 elections were essentially America’s wake up call.
A big part of that wake up call involved beefing up U.S. Cyber Command. That’s the military agency in charge of cyberspace defense. Part of Cyber Command’s strategy involved deploying teams to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe to find—and warn—foreign hackers.
BRAW: They have been essentially taking the game to the other side. It’s clear to those would-be perpetrators of cyber attacks that they have been found out and they stand to lose if they carry out cyberattacks.
Cyber Command also found weaknesses in America’s online voter registration systems. That allowed state and local governments and private companies who contract with state election offices to shore up their security systems.
Elisabeth Braw says Americans have also become more aware of fake trolls and bots.
BRAW: I think also, many people have been more careful not to click on anything that looks juicy or scandalous.
Despite these improvements, just weeks before the election, Russian and Iranian hackers got their hands on some American voter information. The Iranian hackers posed as an alt-right group and sent threatening emails to voters in four states.
At a press conference, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe reassured Americans that the threat had been shut down. And he said the elections would still be free and fair.
RATCLIFFE: These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure.
Foreign trolls were also active this year. William Marcellino at the RAND Corporation led a study that examined more than 600-thousand Twitter accounts. He then divided them into different political camps.
The pro-Biden camp included 160,000 accounts, with 4 percent operated by trolls. Marcellino put about 87,000 accounts in the pro-Trump category and found trolls behind 8 percent of those.
Marcellino also detected a new type of fake account called a super connector.
MARCELLINO: Super connectors are accounts that had very, very dense connections. Thousands of friends and followers linked to each other.
Those dense connections allow superconnected trolls to spread false information fast.
MARCELLINO: They are a ready-made distribution network.
In September, Twitter and Facebook announced they had removed several hundred fake, foreign accounts.
These handful of foreign actions had federal officials on high alert heading into Election Day. In October, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf spoke with CBS news.
WOLF: This is the prime opportunity for any adversary whether it’s Russia, whether it’s Iran or a cyber actor.
But last Tuesday delivered a big surprise. At a press conference, Acting Director Wolf said intelligence officials detected no significant foreign interference in the election.
WOLF: We have no indications that a foreign actor has succeeded in compromising or affecting the actual votes cast in this election.
In the days after the election, as counts dragged on, levels of meddling remained insignificant.
Some of the smaller efforts included a robocall scam encouraging voters to stay home on election day. Twitter also suspended several fake accounts that prematurely declared former Vice President Joe Biden had won the election.
So why didn’t we see a bigger effort to disrupt this year’s election?
Elisabeth Braw at the American Enterprise Institute says foreign foes know America is now much better prepared for a cyberattack… and to avenge one.
BRAW: We should remember that, whichever country wants to do that also has to bear in mind that America might retaliate or is likely to retaliate.
But there’s another reason.
Konstantin Sonin is an economist and political scientist at the University of Chicago. He’s also from Russia. Sonin says four years ago, Russia’s goal was simply to undermine faith in democracy.
SONIN: President Putin doesn’t believe that the United States is a democracy. He doesn’t believe that people’s vote matter. And also, he doesn’t think that people vote should matter.
Sonin says after 2016, Russia realized it doesn’t need to keep using widespread misinformation campaigns and cyber attacks to get Americans to doubt their elections. We doubted each other then and now.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
NICK EICHER: Talk about persistence!
I want to tell you about a couple by the name of Jay and Kate Schwandt welcomed their first child into the world 28 years ago, a baby boy.
And they just kept going. A streak of baby blue—one boy after another—14 in all!
Well, that changed just last Thursday. That’s when 7 pound, 8 ounce Maggie Jayne made her grand entrance.
Dad told Grand Rapids News-8 they didn’t find out the baby’s sex before she was born. The doctor and nurses all kept a poker face as they asked Jay if he’d like to come over and make an announcement.
SCHWANDT: Sure, you know. I know what it’s going to be. And I walked over there, and I just started crying.
He could barely tell me!
The family says Maggie Jayne is the end of the line.
SCHWANDT: You know, this is like winning the Super Bowl and then retiring, you know? This is the perfect way to end it!
So, two touchdowns and an extra point.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, November 10th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio. And we’re so glad you are!
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Where’s the beef?
Beef production in the United States is expected to exceed 27 billion pounds this year.
You ever wonder where it all comes from?
EICHER: Beef cattle are raised in all 50 states, and many go to auctions as a part of the production chain.
WORLD senior correspondent Kim Henderson went to a livestock sale in the heart of cattle country. Here’s her story.
AUDIO: [UNLOADING CATTLE]
KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Every Tuesday, cattlemen haul them in by the truckload. Brangus. Charolais. Hereford. Today, some 500 head of cattle have landed at the Lincoln County auction barn, one that’s been operating since 1943. But Mike Smith says his family was in the beef business even before that.
SMITH: My great-granddad actually started buying cattle in the 1920s, They would drive them downtown and they’d load them on railroad tracks to Chicago.
Smith says the best part of managing the auction is the relationships his family has built with customers. They share the ups and the downs.
SMITH: When they have a bad year, you know, we have a bad year. We’d love to get top dollar all time, but it depends on the market that affects the whole community—the car dealerships, the tractor dealerships, the feed mills—you know, it just kind of revolves around the price of cattle.
The market took a hit earlier this year when the pandemic shut down packing plants across the country.
SMITH: So we had a backlog of cattle to be killed, prices went to record highs on the retail level, and the consumers were, you know, they were hurting…
But virus or no virus, cows calved in the spring, and it’s weaning time.
AUDIO: [CATTLE PEN CONVERSATION]
That’s why George Higdon is doing some scouting beside an open-air pen.
HIGDON: I’m looking at what calves are bringing per pound—whether bulls, steers, heifers, whatever—I’m looking at my calves and getting an idea of what they’re going to bring when I start moving them…
In another pen, a veterinarian is checking a cow’s mouth to estimate its age. He also performs a palpation to determine pregnancy stage.
Nearby, Anna Michael Smith is adding a bovine accessory as part of a new USDA program.
ANNA MICHAEL: It’s called an EID. It’s an electronic tag that goes in their ear, you can scan it and pull up their information.
That helps with traceability. If a disease breaks out, a tag will lead straight to the original farm. Anna Michael says it’s a good program, and she likes this kind of work. She’s the daughter of Mike Smith and his wife, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. The college senior represents the fifth generation in the family’s auction operation.
ANNA MICHAEL: I drive home three hours just to come to the sale every week while I’m in class in Starkville. I worked at a sale barn all day yesterday, and then drove here this morning so I could work here, and then I have to go back after to go to class. So it just means a lot to me.
Anna Michael’s grandmother and aunt work inside the office, a concrete room where Reba McIntyre sings on a GE alarm clock radio and 4-H photos line the wall.
AUDIO: [MEN DISCUSSING TIRES]
Her grandmother has been behind the counter for six decades, getting to know customers like the one sitting on a wood-frame couch with foam showing through the cushions. Another is in a rocker. But everyone else is in the arena. It’s time for the auction.
This slice of Americana wears boots and lined faces. Some are farmers. Some are order buyers who’ll ship whole truckloads to the Midwest tonight.
The auctioneer comes in with a Dr. Pepper and a zippered mic bag. He takes time for a smear of Chapstick before he starts his fast talking.
AUDIO: [SOUND OF AUCTIONEER]
The crowd watches a quick dance of open chutes and closed gates. A cow brings in big money as the auctioneer praises her slick coat and sizable bag. He jokes that the glow in her eyes may mean she’s already bred.
AUDIO: [SOUND OF AUCTIONEER]
When metal railing is all that separates spectators from hide and hoof, it seems easier to understand Bible times—when cattle was the stuff of sacrifices and the measure of a man’s wealth.
But exercising dominion over these sizable creatures is dangerous work, and Mike Smith has the crutches to prove it.
SMITH: I was in there weighing a bull and just got in a place where I couldn’t get out of his way, and he hit me in the leg, broke my main bone right in the knee, tore the knee all up, 14 weeks, no weight. Got all kinds of hardware in there.
Smith’s uncle, 81-year-old Meade Mathis, is hurt, too.
SMITH: He just got out of the hospital, recovering from broken ribs. And it was a law of physics, 2000 pounds of versus 200 pounds. You lose every time.
Mathis has headed up the auction since 1959. His story shows what it takes to build something that lasts five generations.
MATHIS: My second year of college, my dad got sick and I had to come home and sort of take over the business.
Mathis hasn’t missed many Tuesdays since, but last week he was out with those five broken ribs. Today, as he found a seat on a bench directly across from the auctioneer, the crowd gladly welcomed him back.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Lincoln County, Mississippi.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday November 10th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It, made possible by listeners who support us. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, Ryan Bomberger explains his long absence.
And you’re going to want to listen. It’s quite a story and I’m so glad he’s back.
RYAN BOMBERGER, COMMENTATOR: It’s been more than a month since I’ve been on WORLD Radio. It’s because I nearly died on October 12th from a pulmonary embolism that resulted in dangerous blot clots to my lungs. I couldn’t breathe, and it was terrifying. I was rushed to the ER. Had I been flying, which I was supposed to have been that week, I shudder at the thought of what would’ve happened.
When God gives you warnings, heed them. For years I ignored red flags marking my deteriorating health. I was working for the Kingdom, and I had to keep going. Well, until I couldn’t. Even though I’ve always held precious my time with my family—my highest priority—I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should have. I always looked at rest as something you do when everything is done. But rest is what you do so you can get things done. Rest is a spiritual weapon, too.
I’m slowly recovering, not only from this health scare, but from a year marked by our nation’s deteriorating health—both physical and spiritual. As someone engaged in the fight to illuminate the truth that every human life has purpose, this year has been a wild wooden rollercoaster ride. Many of us are still nursing multiple cases of whiplash. That first stomach-churning drop was COVID, followed by sharp turns of political exploitation. Then the twists and turns of unconstitutional state mandates all while winds of change resulted in anarchy, fires, looting and burning. But that wasn’t all. As if 2020 wasn’t already surreal enough, we were all hurtled into the final phase of this year of seismic shifts through a massive loop turning everything upside down. And, like mostly anyone’s nightmare, we’re stuck in that inverted state wondering when rescue will come.
But rescue has come—in the form of a Savior who has already defeated the world. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that Truth is stronger than politics, that our faith is stronger than politics, that God who created the system of government is stronger than politics.
John 13:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Whether you’re suffering from a near-fatal blood clot or society is suffering from rejecting the redemptive blood of Christ, our faith uniquely prepares us to fight the troubles that plague us individually and collectively. Even in the midst of political chaos, God is still the constant. Many on the Left are now calling us to unite as Americans. I won’t unite with a political ideology that rejects the sanctity of human life, that denies basic biology and Biblically-rooted male and female genders, that pushes the cult of transgenderism on children. I can’t condone an ideology that celebrates being “pro-choice” to kill a child but refuses to allow school choice to educate one, that pretends to fight racism by injecting more racism, that denounces capitalism but can’t survive without it. Just think about the $14 billion dollars spent on the 2020 election campaign! And I won’t unite with an ideology that rejects a Biblical worldview but will manipulate the Bible to cast a false narrative.
But I will love. That’s what we’re called to do. I won’t unite with unrighteousness, but I will love those with whom I disagree. I will find ways to break through.
I’m here for a reason. You’re here for a reason. I know I was meant to be—an adoptee and adoptive father conceived in rape who is a creative professional passionate about illuminating the truth in love (with a bit of sarcasm).
I’m grateful to God to be alive at this moment in time. I’m beyond thankful that my precious wife and kiddos still have me in their lives, and I have them. We’re facing this crazy upside down reality together as a family who will unite with the Body of Christ to help bring our culture right side up.
I’m Ryan Bomberger.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Legal challenges to the vote counts. We’ll talk about them on Washington Wednesday.
And, we’ll meet a Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Ecclesiastes says teach us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Go now in grace and peace.