Friday’s 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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Hàppy Friday everyone.

    Coming up on 0200 hrs. Back patio, cigar and Buffalo Trace taking the edge off the neuropathy buzz.

    Thinking about the news for this past week, the one recurring thought in my mind is, “really people, WT freaking F?”

    Getting really tired of the shenanigans involved with the current release of the homo sapien software. Very buggy, customer support sadly lacking, and the subscription fees are getting absolutely ridiculous.

  2. DrDaveT says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Seriously. Though now that you mention it, thinking of Trumpism as malware might be a more useful framing than the usual political one…

  3. Scott says:

    For the second Sunday in a row, except for MSNBC, there are no Democrats scheduled on the Sunday shows. Is there a strategy I don’t understand?

    FOX “Fox News Sunday”: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell … retired Gen. Jack Keane … Newt Gingrich. Panel: Emily Compagno, Julia Manchester, Karl Rove and Juan Williams.

    CBS “Face the Nation”: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell … Philippe Lazzarini … Liz Cheney.

    ABC “This Week”: Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) … Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas). Panel: Donna Brazile, Terry Moran, Rachael Bade and Ramesh Ponnuru.

    NBC “Meet the Press”: Mike Pence. Panel: Peter Baker, David Ignatius and Amna Nawaz.

    CNN “State of the Union”: Liz Cheney … Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

    MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Getting really tired of the shenanigans involved with the current release of the homo sapien software.

    Well, that’s obviously the work of the latest covid vaccine implanting 5G worms in the hardware. Better double the daily dose of Ivermectin.

  5. Michael Cain says:


    For the second Sunday in a row, except for MSNBC, there are no Democrats scheduled on the Sunday shows. Is there a strategy I don’t understand?

    Don’t interrupt your opponent when they’re busy making mistakes? Don’t put your people in a position where the hosts can demand “Why aren’t you Democrats fixing this?”

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Is there a strategy I don’t understand?

    Let’s see, invite a boring DEM who will just restate the obvious, or bring in a bunch of grenade throwing lunatics and instigate a fire fight on live TV? Seems obvious the latter will be the ratings winner.

  7. Moosebreath says:


    “Is there a strategy I don’t understand?”

    The audience for the Sunday morning shows skews old and well-off, both of which favor Republicans. As a result, the guest list has been Republican leaning for decades. I would be willing to bet that if there were a list of who has appeared the most on these shows this millennium, the only Democrat in the top 20 would be Joe Lieberman.

    In other words, just another day’s work for the so-called liberal media.

  8. JohnSF says:

    British political news:
    Conservatives thrashed in two by-elections in safe seats.
    Tamworth saw a swing of 24%

    Mid-Bedfordshire has never been taken by Labour before; last had a non-Con MP back in 1931; a Liberal, back when a mainstay of politics was still the Liberals and the Conservatives slugging it out in middle-class constituencies.

    OK, reduced turnouts in bad weather probably mean a lot of Con. voters sat on their hands, but the likely Labour turnout would also be down, and a large number of grumpy ex-Tories who could not be bothered either way.
    I’d guess that Tamworth will be Con but marginal at the next general, Mid-Beds Labour might hold given they’ve got a couple of thousand Lib-Dem votes to mine.

    Also some saying: “But Tories only lost because Reform (formerly Brexit Party, formerly UKIP) snaffled votes on the right…”
    And? So?
    That makes it worse for the Conservatives, because some of those votes are gone for good, and trying to win them with a hard right pitch will only lose them more votes elewhere.
    See Con MP Danny Kruger:

    “…we need to continue in that direction…, more robust and braver.
    I think we need to go a bit further and faster. So on migration, I’m encouraged by the position on illegal migration. I think we now need to take further steps to reduce overall numbers of legal migration.
    … the so-called culture wars, which I think do matter to people. In Parliament and the media they tend to be disregarded but actually these things matter.
    So the guidance on sex education in schools, proposals around transgender, rights are significant and matter and they have real cut-through.
    We need to be bolder on taxation…”

    = Trussonomics Mk2 plus rev up culture war.
    Labour Party HQ fall about laughing and say “yes please, please try that out.”

    Contra some overly online-activists and the Kruger types, the UK is not the USA; people just don’t care very much about “culture issues” because there isn’t the underlying culture: evangelicals, centuries long racial legacy, guns, anti-federalism etc.

    Illegal migration gets some traction, but there the Tories are trapped by their right, who are addicted to performative nastiness, while the pragmatic majority, can see that a deal with the EU on pre-processing can better deal with “small boats” than pandering to Breiters over threats to leave the European Court of Human Rights.

    Conclusion by the estimable Ian Dunt:

    “There’s only one really compelling conclusion to draw from all this. It’s that the Tories are buggered. Properly, existentially, historically buggered.”

    Tent-pegs, I tells ‘ee. 🙂

  9. Scott says:

    @Moosebreath: I did laugh out loud at the Fox News guests: McConnell, Gen Keane, Gingrich? Was this a rerun from the 2000s?

  10. Kathy says:

    Is anyone else watching season 2 of Loki?

    Here the eps drop on Thursdays. This means I stream it as soon as I get home, then make dinner, and totally forget about the Thursday NFL game.

  11. Jen says:

    How are you feeling, CSK?

  12. Kathy says:

    Here’s a question that has been bugging me all week:

    Imagine a sentient, rational species without self-destructive impulses (ie not humanity) with technology advanced enough to travel between stars at will.

    Would they manage to just go on and on forever*, or would they inevitably go extinct at some point? If the latter, how?

    *Naturally evolving into a myriad forms as they go along. Ongoing human evolution is a frustrating subject.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jordan has lost the vote again, and they are only in the Gs.

    eta: Now down by 19, no 21 GOP votes.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:


    Is anyone else watching season 2 of Loki?

    From what I’m seeing in Hollywood-related media, the answer is no. Disney+ has screwed the Marvel pooch. Also the Star Wars and Indiana Jones pooches. Pixar is at least showing life signs, though I’m pretty sure we’re still going to need the paddles. (Charging… Clear!) I’m not at all surprised that Loki is failing, I predicted it. In Season One they basically destroyed the character, turning the God of Mischief into an easily-replaceable mope in a tedious, jeopardy-sapping multiverse story.

    Greed, shitty writing, greed, intellectual constipation, greed, ham-fisted DEI, and greed may have played a part. When they started announcing a dozen new Marvel shows a year every competent writer watching knew it wouldn’t work.

  15. CSK says:


    Not terrific, but they’re cutting me loose from surgical rehab today. i’ll go to my sister’s place, Gotta use a walker.

    Thank you for asking.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    Get better!

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Now 24.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Almost anyplace is better than the hospital. Sorry about the walker.

  19. Arnold Stang says:

    What Michael said.
    I watched The Mandalorian season one, lost interest in watching season two. Just blah writing.
    Watched Loki season one, lost interest in season two. He was a schlub.
    Watched Andor season one, really liked it but, after the writers strike, season two probably won’t be until 2025.
    I had the Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ package and they just jacked the price up 30%. I’ve pulled the plug on that package.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    My wife did the walker thing for a couple weeks after hip replacement. It being LA then Vegas in mid-summer we did our recovery walking in malls and casinos. You’d think we Boomers would have found a way to make walkers cool but no, there isn’t a really a cool-looking walker. Given the huge cohort of old farts approaching there’s a branding opportunity. Nike walkers? Adidas walkers?

  21. Kathy says:

    @Arnold Stang:

    It may help I’d seen little of Loki before the series premiered.

    But he’s beside the point. As are Sylvie, and Mobius*, and not-Kang, etc. What I find endlessly fascinating is the TVA.

    *I like how Mobius can go on irrelevant tangents and still not lose focus on what matters. I’m very much like that sometimes at crunch time.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My mom had knee replacement surgery earlier this year. She moved from walker to cane to nothing in only a few months.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    Vegas life: my balcony is line of sight and very much within hearing of the When We Were Young Festival. Green Day, Blink 182, the Offspring, and about 30 more bands for two days. Since this is very much my music, no problem. Someone’s over there warming up now. But what happens when it’s rap? Or pop?

  23. Grumpy realist says:

    Chesebro has just pled guilty (RawStory).

    …so who’s next to flip?

  24. just nutha says:

    @Scott:Maybe no Democrats want to have to field questions such as

    Is it troubling to the party that if Joe Biden collapsed into a coma tomorrow that your party would have no one to run for President?


    How come all y’all don’t see Biden’s age as the issue it is? Is this some kind of weird denial thing or are you really that short of candidates?

  25. Kathy says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    It’s the lawyers who are flipping. If Benito were rational, he’d be worried.

    …so who’s next to flip?

    Do you suppose El Cheeto would flip in order to put that awful, awful Rudy away? 😀

  26. charontwo says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    Chesebro pleaded guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to file false documents, and faces a prison sentence of one to five years. He also agreed to truthfully testify in the case against others.

    Chesebro’s guilty plea made him the second former Trump lawyer to plead guilty in as many days, following a plea from Sidney Powell on Thursday, and the third co-defendant to admit guilt in the sweeping criminal racketeering case alleging Trump and 18 allies broke the Georgia law when they sought to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state. In addition to Powell, bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty earlier this month in the conspiracy — with all agreeing to testify against others in the case

    So both people who succeeded in seeking an early trial have now pleaded out.

  27. Moosebreath says:


    “So both people who succeeded in seeking an early trial have now pleaded out.”

    They decided to go for the first-mover advantage in getting good deals for their plea bargain.

  28. gVOR10 says:

    @Grumpy realist: I love the sound of falling dominoes in the morning.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I rewatched the first season and am now caught up with the second (although I didn’t check to see if the third ep had dropped last night). I really like it. I like many of the smaller superhero show, like Moonknight, Werewolf by Night, the first few seasons of Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Wanda Vision and even She Hulk. Basically anything that is not 25 superheroes, endless fan service and 20 big budget special effects scenes stuffed into a 5 pound bag.

  30. a country lawyer says:

    @charontwo: This is a bigger deal than Powell’s plea. Cheseboro was closer to Trump than Powell and will have a better knowledge of what Trump knew and was told. Furthermore, Cheseboro is less of a crazy than Powell and will likely be a much better witness on the stand. Although the plea agreement provides for probation, with Cheseboro facing a possible 5 year prison sentence if he reneges on his agreement to cooperate, Fani Wilis’ boot is firmly on his throat. He will sing like a canary in a cage.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Indiana Jones

    I’m not sure failing to resuscitate a long dead property is really “screwing the pooch” as that’s pretty much expected.

    I haven’t bothered watching the new one, but I have heard that they killed off Shia LaBeouf offscreen, which is the best way to do things — he’s dead and he didn’t get paid.

    He was also killed offscreen in a Transformers movie.

    More movies should kill him offscreen. Even if he wasn’t a character before, just have a card from a funeral with his picture on it sitting on a desk or something.

  32. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Grumpy realist: @Kathy: As Campos or Lemieux said over at LGM; there is no possibility of a presidential pardon in the Georgia case.

  33. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kathy: @Michael Reynolds: Just started watching Bodies on Netflix. The same body turns up in 1890, 1941 and 2023 London in the same location and three unrelated inspectors investigating. It looks to be a great deal of fun as a six-part series

  34. Kathy says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    I read about it the other day. it piqued my curiosity enough to get Netflix back, provided part 5 of Disenchantment is out already.

  35. Kathy says:


    I liked Moon Knight and She Hulk enough to want second seasons of each.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    And even Benito the Cheeto could figure out that shutting down the government, or going so far as defunding the DOJ and FBI, won’t stop a state prosecution in Georgia.

  37. Scott says:

    Just got back from my Friday afternoon booze run to the local grocery store. R.E.M’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was playing. I’ll just leave it at that.

  38. JohnSF says:

    News that seems to be rather going under the radar re Ukraine, due to the focus on the Middle East.

    – Ukrainian forces have crossed the Dnipro near Kherson, and are apparently now around 10km from the river in places. That means they are past the marshland, and possibly have enough depth to move heavy units over and begin bridging operations.

    – Ukrainian ATACMS (and other ranged weapons) strikes on Russian airbases at Berdyansk and Luhansk appear to have destroyed at least 14 (perhaps 20 or so?) Russian helicopters; a significant number given their losses so far.

    – Russia seems to mounting a major offensive around Avdiivka. So far they appear to be making little ground and to be taking losses far higher than the Ukrainians have in their pushes.

    – So far around 20 ships have made the grain run outbound from Ukraine ; the Russian blockade appears to have collapsed; they seem to be trying to compensate by missile strikes on port facilities.

  39. JohnSF says:

    Multitasking or what:
    In the New Zealand vs Argentina Rugby world cup semi-final, Jordan scores a hat trick!

    44-6: Argentina were taken to pieces.

    Next up, tomorrow: England vs South Africa for the other final place.
    I have a bad feeling about facing up the ‘Boks.

    OTOH an All Blacks vs Springboks final would be epic.
    If it does come to England against New Zealand, pray hard for England.
    We’ve got some good attacking players, and a fairly solid pack, but the Kiwi defence is both hard and fast, and they are brilliant at the break-down.

  40. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    I haven’t had COVID vaccine yet. Got the trifecta the other day (flu shot, tetanus vaccine, and shingles shot). Tried to get the covid at the same time but my doctor explained that the conflicting 5G signals (between covid and flu vaccines) would causing system errors requiring a hard reboot.

  41. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    So true, I found the walker so embarrassing I would only use in in the house or hospital, when on my own I summoned up every ounce I had to get between the car and those little places where shopping carts are stashed around the lot and faked it using a shopping cart. I fooled no one but myself…but it HAD to be done!

  42. Jax says:

    Wish me luck. Family is all arriving today. I’m not a hugger, so all this hugging bullshit is….bullshit. 😛

  43. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Nike walkers? Adidas walkers?

    I wish. I’m getting my pre-clearance for a hip replacement. The surgeon was talking a week or two of walker. They’re not terribly forthcoming, but they all talk like this is zip-pop routine. I hope that’s right.

  44. Kathy says:


    At every family gathering, regardless of reason, I ask myself why I haven’t developed barbed/razor wire outerwear.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Better safe than sorry.

  46. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I haven’t had COVID vaccine yet. Got the trifecta the other day (flu shot, tetanus vaccine, and shingles shot).

    I did Flu/Covid/RSV at once. Kicked my butt for a week. I do not recommend that mix.

  47. anjin-san says:
  48. anjin-san says:
  49. DrDaveT says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    I did Flu/Covid/RSV at once. Kicked my butt for a week. I do not recommend that mix.

    Thank you all for warning me about this. I did COVID on a Thursday, flu the following Monday. No side effects at all, beyond very mild shoulder soreness. Might do RSV next month.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    If it’s any reassurance my wife was given oxycodone and never touched them. She stuck to Advil. Granted she’s tough (married to me, she had a choice?) but aside from the awkwardness of it all she was walking a mile a day after about a week. And it was a thru-the-ass-cheek* job which is the harder way, as I understand it.*

    *Apologize for the medical terminology.
    ** Poorly.