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. Jen says:

    Yesterday, CSK asked about the latest attempt to have New Hampshire secede if the national debt passes the $40 T mark.

    The measure was rejected without debate, which is exactly how it should go. The sponsor is one of our state’s suspected closeted Libertarians who runs on the Republican ticket to get himself elected.

    Via WaPo, Jason Gerhard is “a Republican from Northfield who spent 12 years in prison for helping a New Hampshire couple escape capture on tax evasion charges. Ed and Elaine Brown remained holed up in an armed standoff at their home in Plainfield for months before being arrested in 2007.”


  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Louisiana’s far-right government has quietly obtained hundreds of pages of communications between the Environmental Protection Agency and journalists, legal advocates and community groups focused on environmental justice. The rare use of public records law to target citizens is a new escalation in the state’s battle with the EPA over its examination of alleged civil rights violations in the heavily polluted region known as “Cancer Alley”.

    Louisiana sued the EPA on 19 December, alleging that the federal agency had failed to properly respond to the state’s sprawling Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request sent by former state attorney general Jeff Landry.

    Court filings note that the public records case is related to another, ongoing lawsuit brought against the EPA by Landry, a staunch advocate for the oil and gas industry who now serves as Louisiana’s governor. Shortly after Landry’s suit was filed, the EPA dropped its investigation into the Louisiana department of environmental quality’s permitting practices, which advocates say disproportionately impact Black residents in Cancer Alley.

    Who needs lobbyists? The oil and gas industry owns Louisiana.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I guess 12 years wasn’t long enough.

    eta: or maybe thus is just proof that you really can’t fix stupid.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:
  5. Tony W says:

    @Jen: The whole idea is comical.

    “This nation has too much debt! Let’s form our own nation, stand up our own army, treasury, tax collection service, intelligence agencies, foreign relations agencies, transportation and labor departments, and health care system! That’ll be cheaper!”

  6. MarkedMan says:


    closeted Libertarian

    I’m not doubting you, but a Libertarian who has the self awareness to closet themselves around sane people just seems… remarkable. Unlikely? Oxymoronic? It implies a Libertarian that understands and is interested in how others think. I’m pretty sure they rip up your Libertarian membership card if they so much as suspect you of that.

  7. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s endemic here in New Hampshire. I don’t know if they sent out a memo or just realized that it was easier to glom onto a prominent party label, but there are quite a few Libertarians who run as Republicans here.

    I had one show up at my house, going door-to-door campaigning for a state house seat. He flat-out said that while he was running as a Republican, his “leanings” were Libertarian. IIRC, he was one of the sponsors of an earlier bid to secede.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Georgia state senate passed legislation Thursday mostly outlawing bail funds for protest groups, and added dozens of offenses to the list of charges requiring cash bail to secure release.

    The passage of SB63 by a 30-17 vote in the Republican-dominated state senate arrives as three activists operating the Atlanta Solidarity Fund face state-level racketeering and charity fraud charges in connection with the prosecution of dozens of protesters against “Cop City”, an Atlanta project to build a police-training facility.

    The bill would require any individual or group raising money as a charitable bail fund and soliciting donations for the release of accused persons to register and meet the requirements of a bail bond company. Under Georgia law, a county sheriff has absolute discretion over who can register as a bondsman, giving local law enforcement an effective veto over the bail component of political protests, said state senator Josh McLaurin, an Atlanta-area Democrat.

    “The program that [US senator Raphael] Warnock’s church runs, a Mother’s Day bailout they do every year, will now be illegal under this bill, because charitable organizations will no longer be allowed to bail out more than three people a year,” McLaurin said.

    I don’t see how this passes constitutional muster but I am not a lawyer.

  9. Jax says:

    I mean, I know kids have accidents (that’s why our school makes you send an extra set of clothes), but to actually have a kindergarten-aged child in a regular classroom still wearing diapers? And expecting the teacher to change them? No. Just….no.

  10. EddieInCA says:
  11. Kathy says:


    That’s a very peculiar way to destroy a country.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wapo gift link to a little “state of the economy” quiz.

    I got 4 out of 4 (I know surprise surprise) This little tidbit caught my eye:

    (President Donald Trump saw more than 6 million jobs added in his first three years in office… (Biden added) more than 14 million jobs added through December 2023.

    So in a straight up “first 3 years comparison” Biden is more than 8 million jobs better than trump.

  13. CSK says:


    Thanks very much. I’ll echo you: Sigh.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Defense of Ukraine

    The moment when you found out that the missile corvette “Ivanovets” sank.


  15. EddieInCA says:


    I also got 4-4. But I was more intrigued by seeing how wrong most people were on their answers. #2 claims that 90% of Americans got that answer wrong. That goes to the power of propaganda and misinformation. What will it take for the actual facts to break through? I mean, even Fox is having to admit it’s a good economy, and it’s still growing.

    Every time Trump screams “WORST ECONOMY IN HISTORY!!!” it’s going to be countered with, “Well, actually….”

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: But I was more intrigued by seeing how wrong most people were on their answers. #2 claims that 90% of Americans got that answer wrong. That goes to the power of propaganda and misinformation.

    Yep. That latest jobs report you posted up? It’s rigged. Everybody just knows trump was the best thing to ever happen to our economy. He told me so.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:
  18. Michael Cain says:

    I have complaints about using the initial jobs reports for anything. (1) They’re seasonally adjusted so sometimes a positive number actually means “Employers laid off fewer workers than expected last month.” (2) There are often large changes made in the second and third estimates. In at least one case the media savaged Biden when the initial estimate was about +35,000. They were silent a few months later when the second estimate for the same month was +235,000.

  19. Bill Jempty says:

    Raining on the Biden will win in November camp-

    Grocery prices have jumped by 25 percent over the past four years, outpacing overall inflation of 19 percent during the same period. And while prices of appliances, smartphones and a smattering of other goods have declined, groceries got slightly more expensive last year, with particularly sharp jumps for beef, sugar and juice, among other items.

    Stubbornly high grocery prices represent a critical drain on the finances of tens of millions of people and remain, along with housing, perhaps the most persistent economic challenge for the Biden administration as it tries to convince Americans the economy is back on solid footing.

    Don’t forget rent is up 35% since 2000. People vote their pocket books and wallets. Throw in concerns about Biden’s ability to do the job and splits in the Democratic party over Gaza, it don’t look good.

  20. Scott says:

    @EddieInCA: @OzarkHillbilly: Biden can’t just campaign on accomplishments. That doesn’t work anymore. Negative partisanship does work. Karl Rove was right. You need to attack your opponent on his strengths (or at least perceived strengths and things he brags about). They need to attack Trump on his handling of the economy, the budget, defense, etc.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep, was very happy to see that

  22. EddieInCA says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Don’t forget rent is up 35% since 2000. People vote their pocket books and wallets. Throw in concerns about Biden’s ability to do the job and splits in the Democratic party over Gaza, it don’t look good.

    From your linked article:

    The rate of growth for grocery prices substantially cooled last year, falling to 1.3 percent from 11.8 percent the year before.

    And while grocery prices overall are up, some food items saw substantial declines. Egg prices, after soaring, fell by more than 20 percent last year. Lettuce prices fell 17 percent, and tomato prices fell by more than 7 percent, among similar other drops.

    That momentum is expected to continue: The Agriculture Department expects grocery prices to drop 0.4 percent this year.

    “Higher prices have caused us to shop around a lot more or simply go without,” said Vaterlaus, 37, a data analyst whose household income has risen 40 percent since 2019. “We look at the weekly deals and only get what is on sale or needed.”

    So his income has gone up 40% and his groceries might have gone up 25%. How, exactly is this an issue? He should be better off than he was four years ago due to the increased wages.

    People are morons.

  23. Kathy says:

    You know what we need? A unified search keyboard command that will work on all desktop PC software.

    We have universal cut and paste commands (ctrl-c and ctrl-v). So why is search ctrl-f in Edge and Chrome, but not on Word and Excel? Worse, why can I get search in Word by using alt-e-u sequentially, but in Excel it’s alt-e-b?

  24. restless says:


    But ‘Biden’s economy’ includes the recovery from the pandemic; a very good thing, but not an increase over the previous Obama and Trump trend

    Biden has been a steady hand, thankfully, but isn’t this ‘we are back’ rather than ‘we are better’?

  25. JKB says:

    Ironically, the Washington Post is trying to help Biden…

    “Grocery prices have jumped by 25 percent over the past four years, outpacing overall inflation of 19 percent during the same period….”

    WaPo reports

  26. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    People vote their pocket books and wallets.

    I don’t know if that’s been the case in the last 16 years.

  27. becca says:

    @JKB: food inflation can be partially attributed to more droughts and extreme weather caused by climate change, something you just can’t accept. The yam will only make it worse. Unless, of course, he initiates price controls. Another criminal Republican president tried that in the past. Don’t think it worked out too well.

  28. Jen says:

    @JKB: Let’s not forget the sneaky “shrinkflation” behavior of companies, where they keep the boxes the same size but put less product in them. Is that Biden’s fault too, or are you willing to acknowledge that maybe corporations aren’t being good actors here?

    Also, what @becca said. Avian flu is a big part of why egg prices rose so much, drought has severely impacted the cost of beef, etc.

  29. Beth says:

    Last month I was diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type. I wasn’t particularly shocked by this. 10 days ago I started taking Strattera, a non-stimulant ADHD med. The first day was bonkers. I was high as a freaking kite. I had ALL the motivation and very little focus, but when I could focus on something I got shit done. I folded like a thousand clean socks that have been hanging out in my laundry room. It got somewhat better over the last 10 days.

    But the side effects have been absurd. I’m typing this with a mouthguard in because I’m grinding my teeth like I was rolling. While not as bad as it was the first day, I feel kinda high. This is the wildest thing. I’ve got more motivation, more focus, not good, but more. I mean, I’m not spending an hour staring at a wall.

    Other wild effects, I realized today that I haven’t felt bored in 10 days. Absolutely zero boredom. I’ve also lost 5 pounds in a week cause I have zero appetite and when I do eat it’s tough cause the thought of eating is gross. Good thing I’m at a minimum 20 pounds overweight.

    I repeat, this is a non-stimulant med.

    ETA: I’m on the lowest dose, 25 mg. I was supposed to double that today to 50 mg, but I decided to push it off for a day because I have to work today and actually need to not be high.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I supsect it has to do with the DOS era lawsuit over copyright where (I think) one of the spreadsheet companies sued another one (might have been microsoft) because they copied their design too closely, and a prominent part of that was the shortcut keys. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

    And while you might say, “but word and excel are both microsoft products”, most of their office suite was acquired one at a time from other companies.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @restless: It should never be forgotten that the Republican answer to inflation was to throw people out of work. They were fairly frothing at the mouth to do so. The Biden team was willing to take a bit more of an inflation hit to keep people working. It made a few billionaires and their toadies unhappy, but it kept millions of people working. Definitely a stellar tradeoff in my book.

  32. DK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Throw in concerns about Biden’s ability to do the job and splits in the Democratic party over Gaza, it don’t look good.

    Doesn’t look good for whom? Under Biden, Democrats have outperformed and exceeded expections in the 2022 and 2023 elections.

    Not sure why some assume that dissatisfaction with corporate greed automatically equals voting for a rightwing party that wants tax cuts for billionaires and that crashes the economy every time they get power. I see no evidence in recent voter behavior that “voting with pocketbooks” = “voting for Trump and Republicans.”

  33. Beth says:


    It’s small and anecdotal, but in the trans group I run there are plenty of people promising not to vote for Biden or Democrats because “there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans.” Some of those people should know better and some are just completely stupid.

    It has me very disheartened.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: I know their weaknesses. But even if you knock off the last 3 quarters, Biden’s jobs record for his first 3 years is still over 7 million better than trump’s.

    @Scott: Biden is attacking trump, and from what I’ve read, it’s sending trump over the edge.

  35. CSK says:

    I was just reading an article about Tommy Tuberville and his military blockade, and I swear I read his name as Tommy Tinkerbelle.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @restless: I repeat:

    (President Donald Trump saw more than 6 million jobs added in his first three years in office… (Biden added) more than 14 million jobs added through December 2023.

    Biden’s jobs increases includes the 6 million plus jobs lost to the pandemic (take note I do not say “that trump lost”) plus 8 million more. In 3 years. I am comparing apples to apples. trump’s first 3 years vs Biden’s first 3 years.

  37. EddieInCA says:
  38. Kathy says:


    Maybe on some future Trek reboot, someone can crash the Borg by getting them to do a search 🙂

  39. CSK says:

    Actor Carl Weathers, 76, who played Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky movies, has died. RIP.

  40. Beth says:


    I just had a thought. The Borg were partially organic, I doubt the mechanicals could filter everything and it seems like in many, most, cases the underlying organic seemed be kept mostly whole. So, why not shoot up a couple of borg drones with a heavy dose of amphetamines or opioids and let them take their either addictions or wildly erratic behaviors back to the collective?

  41. Kathy says:


    More realistic than killing them all with a drawing.

    I’m convinced the Borg are a result of a failed Neuralink experiment and a time warp.

  42. restless says:


    Note that I’m not trying to say that Biden hasn’t done very well. Had Trump been reelected, I suspect we would have seen that predicted recession.

    All I’m saying is that crediting Biden with “creating” 14 million jobs seems to be the wrong way to frame it.

    The jobs recovery from the recession was already underway when Biden took office. Biden‘s policies helped maintain and expand that growth. Biden has definitely outpaced Trump, with 8 million post-recession versus 6 million over the first three years of their respective terms.

    I mean, back in the 2008/9 recession, Obama took office with a budget deficit of over $10 trillion. Republicans tried to say that he caused that, but of course he didn’t. If Obama wasn’t responsible for the collapse of the economy just before he took office, perhaps Biden can’t claim the initial job recovery when he first took office?

  43. senyordave says:

    @Beth: I can almost accept some very poorly informed people thinking there isn’t a huge difference between the parties and not voting for either Biden or Trump (although the 91 felony indictments should matter), but large parts of the GOP literally want to eliminate trans people. And they make no bones about it, as can be evidenced by actions in the red state houses. I’m Jewish and if they did one percent to Jews what these states are doing to trans people I would vote Democratic on that issue alone.

  44. Kathy says:


    There’s a pretty BIG difference regarding transgender people. At worst Democrats are indifferent, at best they are supportive. With Republicans, at best they wish you would die, at worst they want to kill you.

  45. Bill Jempty says:

    @CSK: As Apollo said in the first Rocky movie- Ain’t gonna be no rematch. RIP

  46. Bill Jempty says:

    @DK: We saw people voting their wallets in 2020, and Dr. Taylor admitted as much. Why should 2024 be different?

  47. Bill Jempty says:

    @Neil Hudelson: As I said in another post here, they did in 2020 and Dr. Taylor here admitted as much. Why should 2024 be any different?

  48. Matt Bernius says:

    Carl Weathers was also a great guest star on Arrested Development.


  49. CSK says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Weathers got an Emmy nomination for his part in The Mandalorian.

  50. Beth says:


    Oh, I’m in full agreement with both of you. Not just because I’m trans or team Democrat, but because I have a (mostly) functional brain.

    Some of it is because of youth or being poorly informed/lack of understanding, but a lot of it is just pure unadulterated stupidity. There seems to be a lot of ignorant magical thinking. Like, Democrats in general and/or Biden in particular could just snap their fingers and ta-da, their prefered policy would be enacted. It’s infuriating.

    An example of this sort of thinking: I got into an argument with one of the kids. Their premise was that all the highways in Chicago should be immediately ripped out and replaced with “housing”. Particularly, Lake Shore Drive should be ripped out and turned into a park. I pointed out that, in my view, this looks like a Northsider is saying that Southsider’s should be blocked from coming North because it would make it way more difficult. I also pointed out that historically, things like this only benefit the Northside. There would be a big beautiful park from the Loop to the Northside and the Southside would get nothing. It’s a fact that the Northside gets way more resources than the Southside and the Westside gets NOTHING. This caused the person to flip out and leave our discord for about a week. A bunch of them seem to think that we can magically imitate Europe because something something Europe better? They also didn’t like that it was pointed out that if you rip out all the highways the city will need a lot more cement plants close in and those plants would go into Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, not White neighborhoods. That didn’t penetrate the magical thinking either.

    This sort of crap is why I’m super worried about November.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @restless: Biden has definitely outpaced Trump, with 8 million post-recession versus 6 million over the first three years of their respective terms.

    Not 8 million vs 6 million. 14 million vs 6 million. 14 million is the number of jobs added to the economy since Biden took over. Now we can quibble over how much he was responsible for the return of those 6+ million jobs lost to the pandemic that returned in ’21-’22, I am certainly amenable to the obvious fact that a certain number of jobs that had been lost due to the pandemic would reappear with it’s end, but to say he had nothing to do with it just defies logic.

  52. Bill Jempty says:

    From AJC

    District Attorney Fani Willis on Friday acknowledged she was in a “personal relationship” with Nathan Wade, one of the top prosecutors on Fulton County’s election interference case, but said there was no conflict that justified removing her or her office from prosecuting Donald Trump and 14 others.

    The admission was included as part of Willis’ highly-anticipated written response to allegations of impropriety that have rocked the Trump case for the last month.

    In the 176-page document, Willis said the accusations made against her and Wade were designed mainly to garner media attention — and didn’t carry much legal weight.

    “(T)he motions attempt to cobble together entirely unremarkable circumstances of Special Prosecutor Wade’s appointment with completely irrelevant allegations about his personal family life into a manufactured conflict of interest on the part of the District Attorney,” the filing said. “The effort must fail.”

    I am not surprised by what was going on. Willis dragging this thing out and clinging to this case don’t surprise me either

    As Matt wrote here on January 16th

    If a relationship between the two can be proven, it will create a procedural nightmare for Willis and her office. There is little chance at all that it will cause the case to be dismissed. After all, it doesn’t change any of the facts about the alleged crimes being prosecuted that led to the indictments.

    The case shouldn’t be dismissed but Willis and Wade need to step aside for there is a conflict of interest.

    Which means this case isn’t going anywhere for a while and the longer Willis hangs on, the longer it will before any trial starts.

    In other news, the court date for the federal election case against Trump has been postponed.

  53. EddieInCA says:


    Fox’s Kudlow Dings Conservatives for ‘Trying to Dig Holes’ in ‘Blowout’ Jobs Numbers: ‘It’s a Very Strong Report’

    This segment by Kudlow will become a great online Dem ad very soon. If you click on it, watch through the second commercial. He goes into great detail as to exactly why it’s such a great jobs report.