Christmas Eve Tabs

Gotta make space for all the new tabs that we are going to get for Christmas!

FILED UNDER: Open 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. CSK says:

    With respect to Trump being booed: He’s lost one of his biggest fans, purported “cartoonist” Ben Garrison, who previously drew images of a fit, muscular, youthful Trump vanquishing puny feeble liberals, is now portraying him as a weepy frightened sap aboard the Vaccine Bandwagon.

  2. wr says:

    @CSK: This makes me wonder… I have to admit that all this time I’ve assumed the Magas see Trump as the glorious leader and would follow him anywhere, while turning on anyone else who displeases them or him. But now… maybe they follow Trump primarily because he gives them permission to go where they wanted to go anyway — you know, liberal tears and fuck your feelings and all that — and if he stops giving them exactly what they want, they’re moving on.

    That’s going to make it tough for him. I have no doubt he’ll backtrack on vaccinations, because he won’t be able to stand losing even a small part of the cult worship. But then he’s screwed in terms of trying to broaden his appeal, which is what I assume his embrace of the vaccine is about…

    Somewhere, the world’s tiniest violin is playing…

  3. CSK says:

    I think you’re right. He can’t broaden his appeal without losing his base. The folks at were really dumping on him yesterday because of this. Rock and a hard place for him.

    And don’t forget that he also desperately wants credit for creating this vaccine. According to him, it’s the greatest medical advance ever. And the MAGAs are spurning it.

  4. Jen says:


    But then he’s screwed in terms of trying to broaden his appeal, which is what I assume his embrace of the vaccine is about…

    It might be that, or, it’s possible that someone is doing voter analysis in the states with high covid death rates. The longer covid keeps circulating, especially in areas with low vaccination rates (aka Trump voting counties), the more likely it is to have an actual political outcome.

  5. Tony W says:

    I don’t think MAGA people are dying in large enough numbers to affect the election – yet – but perhaps Trump is pivoting and not worrying about those people anymore because they are both dying, and without any other option when it comes down to the general election.

    My hope is that none of this matters because Trump has trouble campaigning from prison.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    The delusions around covid and vaccines can only survive so much death and when the spell breaks, the trumpkins will be like a herd of cattle that was standing placidly in a field and then stampede due to a mouse squeaking.

    Unfortunately they won’t stampede toward Dems, but likely withdraw from politics for a while.

  7. Jen says:

    @Tony W: The numbers by state are worth looking at, IMHO.

    Biden won Arizona by just over 10K votes. Arizona has had a total of 23,841 coronavirus deaths.
    Biden won Georgia by just over 12K votes. Georgia has had a total of 30,024 coronavirus deaths.
    Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 81K votes. Pennsylvania has had 35,960 coronavirus deaths.

    And so on.

    Now, there is no guarantee that those deaths are all Republican voters–in fact, it’s highly unlikely. But in close matches, this could matter, especially if the numbers are now being tilted because of a refusal to get vaccinated.

  8. ImProPer says:


    I’m sure losing an esteemed thinker such as Ben Garrison will be a tremendous loss to Team Trump lol. I checked out the link. I hadn’t heard of this moron before, and felt
    adventurous enough to read his commentary below the cartoon. Have to say I feel somewhat dumber now. Thank you very much ;•)

  9. CSK says:

    I should have put a warning before that link.

    You can also feast your eyes on the works of another Trump fanatic at
    I draw your attention to “The Magnificent Seven,” McNaughton’s rendering of our seven greatest president. Trump is literally front and center.

  10. ImProPer says:

    The NYT’s piece about Trump’s fraud is a good piece, but has me feeling a little conflicted. I can’t stretch my imagination enough to think this will end in a criminal conviction. The bar for criminal convictions is high, and a sophisticated grifter such as TFG has no problem slithering underneath it. Justice, imo, is much likely to be found in civil court in these cases. (The 1/6 failed coup not withstanding). His whole empire is built on fraud and grift, enabled by our system’s fetish for a wealthy job creating class, giving up all his ill-gotten gains would be a more realistic goal towards justice.

  11. MarkedMan says:


    maybe they follow Trump primarily because he gives them permission to go where they wanted to go anyway

    I’ve been saying all along that there is nothing all that special about Trump. Democracies all over the world have been flirting with protocol-fascists for a decade. If we hadn’t gotten Trump, it would have been a different version of the same thing.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: The fatality rate, please gawd barring another variant, is too low to affect elections. On the other hand, it’s highest among olds, like me, well not quite like me in that they vote for GOPs in droves.

  13. @wr:

    Magas see Trump as the glorious leader and would follow him anywhere,

    As I have noted, just seeing all this as a cult of personality was never the main explanation.

    To me part of the irony of these particular boos is that Trump himself sowed doubt and denialism over the virus and as well as deep state conspiracies. He is now, at least to some degree, reaping the whirlwind.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: In McNaughton’s Magnificent Seven one might note if one were of a cynical bent:
    Washington – served with the British army in the French and Indian War and led the Revolutionary Army
    Lincoln – served in the militia in the Blackhawk War and was President during the CivilWar
    TR – San Juan hill (which was mostly Black Buffalo Soldiers, but that’s another story)
    JFK – PT 109
    Otherwise Jefferson was effectively exempt as a member of the Continental Congress and as Governor of VA and Reagan at least “wore the uniform”, fearlessly making movies with the Culver City Commandoes.
    Trump – “bone spurs”

  15. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: The number of deaths in some states is above the number of votes Biden won by. If these deaths continue and are higher in pro-Trump counties, it could have an impact. Not enough to switch an outcome, but enough to widen margins.

    It’s easy enough for state parties to cross-reference obituaries with their voter files. I’d be surprised if Republicans aren’t doing this. Part of my job ages ago was to drive to county seats and cross-reference our list with additions (new registered voters) and those removed from the rolls–all manual back then, but it’s pretty automated now. I think it’s entirely possible someone got spooked when looking at sampling data.

  16. CSK says:

    Indeed. I’ve never understood how those who claim to revere our men and women in uniform can stomach an arrant coward such as Trump, who called avoiding STDs his “own personal Vietnam.”

    I think they excuse all his grievous malfeasances prior to 2015 on the grounds that he hadn’t yet rediscovered his Christian faith then.

  17. CSK says:

    To add to the growing number of disillusioned MAGAs: A group of men who refused to show proof of being vaxxed and thus weren’t allowed to enter the Trump Grill in the Trump Tower waxed wroth. One of them even yelled, “Trump is a fraud.”

    Actually, the city of New York instituted the mandate, but these bozos are too dumb to figure that out.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Dang, I had Perry Bacon’s piece cued up for a Forum comment this morning. It’s a counterpoint to James’s post a few days ago, News, Analysis, and Opinion. Bacon’s piece is well summarized by it’s title, The problem with performative centrism.

    James leads with a tale of a young reporter trying to get around her editors by including up close anecdotes of people affected by policy. Bacon recounts,

    Before I became a columnist, I personally felt real tension around this issue: How could I speak honestly about how I see the Republican Party and still advance my career as a nonpartisan reporter? This is something a lot of journalists, particularly those of color, have felt the past several years as institutionalists — disproportionately White — in the media have often suggested that the press is divided between left-wing partisans and neutral observers.

    I’ve struggled with getting my hands around just what is wrong with the MSM, particularly NYT. It’s obvious there’s something off, but why? Bacon offers three things: Career and financial incentives which favor neutral and counterintuitive views. Distinguishing oneself from one’s “hyperpartisan liberal friends”, by, for instance, praising Kavanaugh when they thought he was just an a-hole. And having institutionalist leanings leading one to think somehow fears of Republicans are overstated, the guardrails will hold. But mostly,

    But I think the most important explanation is simple elitism. Institutionalists worked hard to enter America’s bipartisan elite, and they value that status. Admitting that the Supreme Court has become highly partisan would diminish Breyer’s 27 years there. Admitting that the main divide in the legal world is between conservatives and liberals, not super-smart people and those who aren’t quite as smart, isn’t that useful for a Harvard law professor. Media outlets could lose influence if frank coverage of Republican radicalism cost them access to GOP officials (e.g. Haberman).

    Bacon offers some advice on how to deal with these institutionalists; criticism, building alternate (non-governmental) institutions, and reminding them that they may not be as immune to consequences as they think they are.

    I’m not calling for everyone who didn’t vote for Trump to fawningly praise President Biden. What I am asking for is the end of “let me show how not liberal I am” performances from powerful elites. They are disingenuous and lazy and, most important, they harm the real work so many are doing to defend the United States’ democracy in this perilous moment.

    If reporting on Republicans makes them look like racist proto-fascists, that should be on the Republicans, not the reporters.

    IMHO, the whole column is a must read.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump is a cult leader, he’s just not a very smart one. The Trump cult is as much about religious need as it is about political power. I know this irritates the believers here when I say this, but Trump’s followers are virtually all Christians, and overwhelmingly evangelicals, Southern Baptists being the most important denomination. That’s not a coincidence.

    Evangelical Christians are the idiots of Christendom. 57% of Episcopalians have a college degree, 47% of Presbyterians, 19% of Southern Baptists. Assemblies of God are even worse. If Southern Baptists were a state they would rank significantly below the least-educated state, West Virginia.

    Intelligence is the pre-eminent human tool for adaptation and survival. Intelligence allows room for imagination, for risk assessment, for flexibility, for long-term planning, invention, and even self-examination. Evangelicals want none of that because they have THE Truth, the whole truth and the only truth. This rigid mindset makes it all-but impossible for evangelicals to cope with ambiguity. They need a world of concrete certainty. So when Jesus. . . sorry, Donny. . . says the sky is green they are absolutely prepared to believe that. But if he then says the sky is blue there is some dim cognitive dissonance. Donny Christ can contradict reality, but contradicting himself requires his followers to choose between Donny 1 and Donny 2, and that is not a choice they can handle.

    Most will simply ignore the dissonance but some won’t, and they’ll become stressed and angry and lash out as people do when intellectually over-burdened. (Like me doing my taxes). Trump doesn’t get that. He thinks he can say literally anything about anything or anyone and be believed, and he’s right. Until it becomes Trump v. Trump. In his desperate need for praise he stepped wrong.

  20. ImProPer says:


    Enjoyed your posts above, as I frequently do. As someone who has the dubious honor of working in an industry that is overwhelmingly Republican, finding kindred spirits, with a good mixture of humor and gravitas is a needed dose of sanity.
    In reading the post on “the problem with performative centrism”, after the first paragraph it became difficult to read the rest. Interpreting the Republican party as “radical” rather than reactionary, is a bridge to far for me. There is nothing radical about them. (Other than the select few that are seeking the truth, and branded as heretics, making them radical within their own party). IMO, we have no radical voices in our political discourse, the reactionary ones are well represented, thanks in no small part to the business model of 24 hour “news” shows. They have a brilliant understanding of the addictive mind, and exploit it quite well.

    “Before I became a columnist, I personally felt real tension around this issue: How could I speak honestly about how I see the Republican Party and still advance my career as a nonpartisan reporter?”

    This is a great question, and when he answers it for himself, we might have a much needed talented, nonpartisan reporter. However it might come with a large pay cut, as centrism naturally does.

  21. Kathy says:


    And don’t forget that he also desperately wants credit for creating this vaccine.

    If he’d created the vaccines, they’d be nothing but bleach with concentrated doses of hydroxychloroquine as an adjuvant (if he figured out something that complex).

    I can concede credit for shoveling cash towards vaccine development. But I can’t conceive of a drug company with the capability not trying to develop a vaccine that would have a ready-made market in the billions of doses.

    Come, Moderna had developed nothing of consequence until the COVID vaccine. were they going to pass that by? And Pfizer’s shot was developed by BioNTech, A German company. Had Pfizer been reluctant to make the vaccine, plenty of other big pharma firms could have stepped in (I wonder how many tried).

    Little Benito makes it sound as though the pharma companies were sitting idly by watching corpses pile up, until he deigned to point and say “warp speed!”

  22. CSK says:

    Well, you know Trump has to exaggerate by light years his involvement in any enterprise that turns out well. He’ll even make up “achievements” to suit the occasion, as when he boasted that his tax cut in 2017 was the biggest in history. No, it wasn’t.

    Part of this is his desperate need for acclaim and part of it his total ignorance of any kind of history. Did we ever have a president whose cloud of unknowing was bigger or denser?

  23. ImProPer says:


    “I can concede credit for shoveling cash towards vaccine development.”

    Credit for the very few things that his administration got right is actually Kryponite for him. The myth of the noble liberal contrarian, tarnished by a bit of nuance. Maybe it can lead to a break through, and provide some much needed cognitive dissonance to his minions. Then ideally more vaccinations to combat covid, among the uncurious “researchers” of the GQP.