Actual Election Day Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    2020 sucks more donkey ass.

    John le Carre – RIP.

    “Out of the secret world I once knew I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit,” he wrote. “First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I’m sitting now.”

    We will not see his like again,

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The first book of his that I read was A Perfect Spy. In it he describes a childhood so sick and twisted that it was truly horrific to behold. At the time I wondered what kind of demented mind could even imagine such a thing. Years later I learned that there was no imagining involved. That part was autobiographical:

    “Although I’ve never been to a shrink, writing A Perfect Spy is probably what a very wise shrink would have advised me to do anyway.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘There are many roadblocks’: Fears grow over US Covid-19 vaccine rollout

    “The optimist in me wants to believe and hope that the largest mass vaccination program in the history of medicine will proceed without a hitch,” said Howard Markel, a professor at the University of Michigan school of public health. “The realist in me is seeing many, many, many roadblocks to that goal.”

    The #1 roadblock being an MIA president.

  4. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I quite agree with your verdict on Le Carre. His novels take the reader deep into the shadowy world of espionage and counter-espionage and give chilling glimpses of the moral ambiguities inherent in that business. I’d almost give an arm to write just one novel as good as any of his best works.

  5. charon says:

    Do not get this bug, the risks are not worth it:

    COVID long haulers:


    “We’ve had some patients who were profoundly ill in our intensive care unit, then they recovered and had no other symptoms,” Sandrock said. “And some patients will do fine at first and are never admitted to the hospital. Then they have these effects that last and last.”

    There are other frightening aspects, he said, including:

    Wide-ranging symptoms—They include respiratory issues and fatigue, like what Oshana is experiencing.

    Other long-haulers may have a lasting cough, body aches, a continued loss of smell and taste, or—maybe the most confounding—what has been described as brain fog. That’s when thinking clearly becomes hard.

    “Some patients may have one of these symptoms and some will have a combination,” Sandrock said. “We just don’t know why yet.”

    No precise statistics—Some studies estimate about 10 percent of COVID-19 patients have symptoms that won’t go away, but Sandrock said he’s also seen literature reporting upwards of 20 percent.

    How long is long?—”Unfortunately,” Sandrock said, “we don’t know that, either.” For some people, it’s a few months. For others, like Oshana, they are still experiencing symptoms after nine months.

  6. Kathy says:

    Today is day one in the Week of Hell at work (for me at least). Lots of stuff to get through. So I may come by from time to time to relive stress and take a break.

    Meantime, short Trump Joke of the Day:

    Q: How do you define gross incompetence?
    A. 144 Trump Lawyers.

  7. CSK says:

    Well, don’t come by here to relive stress. To relieve stress, on the other hand, is fine. 😀

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: Many years ago I read an interview with LeCarre where he was asked if any actual spies had approached him due to his fame as a writer of spy novels. It turned out there had, and one category had surprised him. These were people who he knew (not sure how) were actually spies and, much to his surprise, dressed and acted in such a stereotypical fashion he would have never put them in a book. It actually took him aback that there were people who were so crude in their tradecraft.

  9. CSK says:

    Because the electors are casting their votes today, the Michigan state legislature’s offices will be closed till tomorrow in view of “credible threats of violence.” Everyone will work remotely.

  10. Kingdaddy says:

    What happened this weekend in my former home, Washington, DC, was both disgusting and disturbing.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:


    It actually took him aback that there were people who were so crude in their tradecraft.

    I have the same reaction encountering incompetent criminals. Why, for example, would you have a visible, highly-identifiable tattoo? Why would you carry a gun on a second-story job and turn a possible three years into a possible life sentence? Basic tradecraft, people. If we taught criminal tradecraft you’d have a lot fewer shootings.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    There are a handful of writers who manage to single-handedly rewrite the rules of a genre. JRR Tolkien and fantasy. Raymond Chandler and detective stories. Dr. Seuss and picture books. Judy Blume and kid’s books. And John LeCarré and spy stories. There were spy stories before The Spy Who Came In From the Cold but after they were all doing LeCarré fan fiction.

  13. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    A lot of criminals aren’t very bright. I recall reading about a guy who tried to conceal his identity from the police. Unfortunately, his name was tattooed on his neck.

  14. Teve says:


    While out for my morning walk, a guy flashed by on his bike and yelled: “Trump, Trump! Trump! Get ready for civil war!” Then he swung back to add, “Go back to Maine, you piece of shit!” This is political discourse in Trump’s America.

  15. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: reminds me of an interview with a detective one time, there was this gang member who was always having trouble because he would shoot at other gangs, they would shoot at him, he was constantly have having to ditch hot guns, etc. The detective saw him one time and noticed he wasn’t packing and he asked the guy how come you’re not carrying. The guy said “man, no gun, no gun problems.”

  16. CSK says:

    It must have been a Florida Man.

  17. Kylopod says:



    While out for my morning walk, a guy flashed by on his bike and yelled: “Trump, Trump! Trump! Get ready for civil war!” Then he swung back to add, “Go back to Maine, you piece of shit!” This is political discourse in Trump’s America.

    I’m a little confused–was this in Maine? Is King currently residing someplace else?

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Most criminals aren’t very bright, and the few that are have a huge blindspot. I always said my ex could have been anything, done anything, if she’d put half the energy into a legal endeavor as she put into avoiding legal endeavors. Seriously allergic to work.

  19. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: he must’ve been traveling.

  20. Teve says:

    I just looked it up and Stephen King has a vacation home on Casey Key, Florida. So the guy on the bike was indeed Florida Man.

  21. CSK says:

    Yes; he’s had it for about 20 years.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    Biden and his team really need to be making a much bigger deal out of the fact that Trump has not implemented any plan for vaccine distribution and that Congress hasn’t allocated any money for it.

  23. Teve says:


    [Sasha Obama shows her midriff in a picture]

    “She looks like a porn star.”

    [Trump cheats on his wife, who has posed completely nude, with an actual porn star]

    “Classiest first family ever!”

  24. Teve says:

    Goddammit Debra Messing.

  25. EddieInCA says:


    I just looked it up and Stephen King has a vacation home on Casey Key, Florida. So the guy on the bike was indeed Florida Man.

    Like alot of uber wealthy people, King has homes in many places. The two public places are in Main and Sarasota (Casey Key). But I’ve been told (by someone who would know) that he owns a home in Los Angeles, a condo in NYC, and a condo in Hawaii, under different LLC’s.

  26. Teve says:

    I am lazy and having too many properties would be too annoying for me. But if I had Stephen King money I would at least have a second home in Rome or Milan. 😛

  27. CSK says:

    Melania herself is a porn star, given that she posed for an s & m lesbian photo shot with another model, gleefully reproduced in the NY Post in 2016.

    She can do as she wishes, as far as I’m concerned, but you’d think that all the good Christians who claim to be ardent Trumpkins would be a trifle chagrined by this.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: But Trump’s against abortion (give or take) whereas Biden is now going to force every man woman and child in ‘Murka to have one to show their support.

  29. Teve says:

    @CSK: similarly they’re going apeshit over potential improprieties in private citizen Hunter Biden’s taxes while spending the last 4 years covering for President Trump. They are the stupidest of hypocrites.

  30. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If we taught criminal tradecraft you’d have a lot fewer shootings.

    Michael, I haven’t always been the poster child for model citizenship. As a mis-remembered quote has it, “[T}he problem with being a criminal is the company you’re forced to keep.” I was, simply put, not dealing with the best and brightest. I’ll just say that guys were surprised when I turned down the opportunity for prison tats, with the response, “why should I make it easier for them to ID me afterwards?” Most of their planned(?) crimes on release were way past A-Team levels of improbability.

    Then again, prior to 9/11, it was a lot easier for people to escape their history of crime, and return to being (or become for the first time) productive members of society. But that’s just IMO, and a subject for another blog, if I ever get around to trimming 1,500,000 words into something readable.

  31. Teve says:
  32. Kathy says:

    Over the past two weeks, I binged the animated Star Wars series “Resistance.” Not bad.

    But I wonder, and this happened a lot in “Rebels” as well, would the Empire/First Order have won if they didn’t have conveniently located access ports to their unprotected systems for every Rebellion/resistance droid to hack in seconds?

    Oh, and the number of times the universe would have crashed down on our intrepid heroes, had only the bad guys possessed peripheral vision is huge!

  33. Teve says:

    @Kathy: i’m sure you’ve seen this, but for anyone who hasn’t, the Evil Overlord List

    My favorite has always been

    4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

  34. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Teve:
    If they can convince themselves that Trump is a brilliant businessman, a wonderful father, a faithful husband, a good Christian, and the best president we’ve ever had, they can convince themselves of anything.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: If you take out the f-bombs and other scatological equivalents, you’ll trim down well below a million just there. 😉

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I know the list has all the rules that I live by. On the other hand, my exploits are of too short a duration to make good fiction. I really do suck as a novelist for that very reason. 🙁

  37. Teve says:

    BAM Biden just hit 302 EVs.

  38. CSK says:

    Bill Barr has resigned, effective Dec. 23.

  39. Kathy says:


    Trump lost two EVs in 2016 to faithless electors. So far, Biden’s lost none. If Hawaii holds, he’ll have done better than Trump by 2 EVs.

    This is a meaningless factoid, which must be trumpeted from every corner of the news today, because it will irk El Cheeto no end.

    Remember he proclaimed his win in 2016 as the greatest electoral victory ever. Biden will top that, by Trump’s own reckoning.

  40. Mikey says:
  41. Teve says:

    Dang. I paused Ballers to look at Twitter and you guys beat me by five minutes.

  42. flat earth luddite says:

    Now that Barr’s resigned effective 12/23/20, who’s next in the barrel for the last 20-odd days of this regime?

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Thanks! I just ran spell/grammar check; that drops it down to 18,500 words. I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  43. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Jeff Rosen will be the new acting A.G.

  44. Kylopod says:

    Trump fired Barr after realizing Barr lied when he told Trump his electors had the power to add votes, not just take them away.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I so far haven’t found anything about Rosen except that he’s Federalist Society, Trump picked him, and per WIKI he dipped an oar in the Manafort case and denied some funding to Puerto Rico for voter education prior to the statehood referendum. Not much, built enough to be worrisome. Did Barr quit to try to salvage his reputation, or because there are some things Trump can ask an AG to do that are too much even for Bill Barr.

  46. Teve says:

    And it’s done, 306 to 232. Not a single faithless elector.

  47. Kathy says:

    Today Trump the election again. Twice this time. Once when the EC voted, and another when a Wisconsin court, I think, denied his latest “NO FAIR!!!” argument.

    This guy’s even bad at losing.

  48. Paine says:

    @Teve: Which means he beat Trump by two votes, who lost EC votes to faithless electors.

  49. Paine says:

    Referring obviously to Trump’s EC vote count in 2016.

  50. Teve says:

    With all the other news today this didn’t get a lot of attention

    In ‘victory’ for LGBTQ families, Supreme Court denies Indiana birth certificate case

    Indiana’s attorney general had asked the high court to reverse a lower court ruling allowing gay parents to both being listed on a child’s birth certificate.

    Dec. 14, 2020, 1:43 PM EST
    By The Associated Press
    INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take up an Indiana case seeking to reverse a lower court’s ruling that allows both members of same-sex couples in the state to be listed as parents on the birth certificates of their children.

    The high court turned aside without comment a petition that Indiana’s attorney general, Curtis Hill, filed with the court last month. Hill had argued for the justices to reverse a January decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a ruling by Indiana’s federal southern district court that said Indiana laws limiting who can be called a parent of a child were unconstitutional.

    Karen Celestino-Horseman, the attorney for the plaintiffs who challenged Indiana’s birth records law, said “we’re delighted” about the high court’s decision not to hear the case.

    “It’s a major victory that is going to keep the same-sex families together and the children born to these marriages will have two parents to love and protect them,” she told The Indianapolis Star.