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. DK says:

    My head is still spinning from Treason Trump’s firehouse of lies in the debate. Rambling, incoherent mess.

    Then again, my head is still spinning from Republicans re-nominating a rapist convicted felon who incited a terror attack on Congress.

  2. Bill Jempty says:
  3. Bill Jempty says:
  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Is it as bad as it seems? Yes. Try to picture the fence-sitter who was swayed to Biden’s side. Can’t, can you?

    We are going to elect a rapist, a traitor, a pathological liar. And his people will dismantle American democracy and the rule of law. Champagne corks were popping in Moscow and Jerusalem. This is the end of the United States as a defender of freedom in the world.

    We could quickly coalesce around a replacement candidate. More likely Democrats will form a circular firing squad.

    It’s very sad. I wish I didn’t have kids, so I could just sail off to live out my life on a Spanish beach and watch it all burn, from far away.

  5. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We could quickly coalesce around a replacement candidate.

    Ha! Who? Democrats haven’t quickly agreed on a non-incumbent candidate without grueling, bloody infighting since 2004. Quickly replace Biden + quickly get the party’s critical stakeholders to unite behind them? I know better than anyone how good the marjiuana is in West Hollywood — you are still high, dearest.

    Was Biden’s State of the Union prep team not available last week or…?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have an idea, let’s all pull a Jonestown.

  7. Bill Jempty says:


    Was Biden’s State of the Union prep team not available last week or…?

    No that’s not it. It is easier to read off the teleprompter than it is to answer questions.

  8. Bill Jempty says:


    Ha! Who? Democrats haven’t quickly agreed on a non-incumbent candidate without grueling, bloody infighting since 2004.

    Excuses, excuses for doing nothing and when we have a potential dictator getting in office next January. Not very smart.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:
  10. Bill Jempty says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I could just sail off to live out my life on a Spanish beach and watch it all burn, from far away.


    You missed your Spanish beach chance. The South of Spain was a haven for criminal fugitives for a long time. Now you’re a best selling author.

  11. charontwo says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    is it as bad as it seems? Yes. Try to picture the fence-sitter who was swayed to Biden’s side. Can’t, can you?

    So missed opportunity mainly, I am not picturing some new horde of TFG voters suddenly generated.

  12. Bill Jempty says:


    Was sidelined by nonsense (who gives a shit about his golf handicap, people don’t want a president who even talks about golf).

    Well that eliminates me then.

  13. Bill Jempty says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We could quickly coalesce around a replacement candidate. More likely Democrats will form a circular firing squad.

    Circular or something like this?

  14. Rick DeMent says:

    Haven’t really heard one analysis that didn’t exclusively focused one “style”. Extemporaneous speaking is a lot easier if you don’t have to recall facts.

    Having said that, Americas are shockingly superficial, we have meet the enemy and he is us.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: We could quickly coalesce around a replacement candidate.

    I don’t know what fantasy world you are living in Michael.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Canadian man has made history by receiving zero votes in a contested federal election, after running as part of a protest over the lack of electoral reforms in the country.

    “When I saw the result, I was like: ‘Well, I am the true unity candidate. Everyone agrees not to vote for me,’” Félix-Antoine Hamel told CBC News.

  17. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Remember that in last night’s debate forum he described himself as smoking weed and drinking scotch (?iirc?) and you’ll be able to figure out his fantasy world just fine. The question for Democrats is do you stay the course or abandon ship. My very non-professional (and honestly pretty detached) suggestion is to keep working on GOTV in the few battleground states there are. Trump is a dumpster fire. That didn’t change last night and is still your strongest selling point. Still, I’m only a cracker and a disenfranchised Republican one at that, so abandon ship may be the right move.

    And you’ll have 4 years (and strong incentive) to regroup.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Aaron Fritschner

    This evening’s hysteria will be of particular interest to the leading biographers of presidents Mondale, Dole, Kerry, and Romney

    I wonder how much reporting there is on this racist crap:

    Queerhawk ️‍ | |

    One last debate take – Trump saying immigrants will take “Black jobs” feels like it could hurt him way more than what most white commentators are acknowledging.

    Yes, taking “black jobs.” I guess the blacks are taking “white jobs.”

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: I did not pay any attention to the debate last night or read any debate threads. I certainly don’t believe this debate will have any lasting effects. My propensity for ignoring certain bullshit events has served me well once again.

    Abandoning ship on this election is not an option for me. And should the worst come about in November, abandoning the USA won’t be an option either. November is 4 months in the future, and I will do what little I can as best I can and deal with November when it comes about, whatever the result is.

  20. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I’m a pessimist where electoral politics are concerned, and the debate confirmed my apprehensions. People still remember Reagan saying “There you go again” to Carter in 1980 and forget that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s when he was making crucial decisions. There’s no way most people will remember Trump’s firehose of lies, half-truths, and exaggerations.

  21. Kathy says:

    All I will say about last evening, is I’m amazed so many at the OTB community said they wouldn’t watch the debate, and now can’t stop talking about what they saw.

  22. Grumpy realist says:

    Someone needs to tell President Biden to step down, for the good of the country, and allow himself to be replaced by a younger individual.

  23. Kathy says:

    Moving on, today the supremes ought to release their ruling on the immunity claims made by one Donald Elizabeth Wannabehitler. It puts the Crow, Leo, Uncle Thomas and associates in a very tough spot. How can they grant Wannabehitler’s wish to be above the law, while not conferring the same privileges on one Joseph Biden. Especially since Biden could immediately make use of this privilege to wipe out Wannabehitler once and for all, and the firm of Crow, Leo et al.

    I really don’t see a way out. Making law that applies to only one person would fly on the face of centuries of legal tradition, customs, not to mention the constitution and the very idea of law itself.

    So they should do something along those lines.

  24. DK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    No that’s not it.

    Yes, it is. A Teleprompter has nothing to do with being instructed to not speak in a near-whisper for the first half of a debate.

    Biden’s most forceful, SOTU-like responses yesterday were not responses to questions, they were off-the-cuff indignation in response to Trump. No Teleprompter needed.

    @Bill Jempty:

    Excuses, excuses for doing nothing.

    I said nothing about what should or shouldn’t be done. I pointed out the historical fact that for the past twenty years non-incumbent Democrats have faced great difficulty uniting their party.

    The unintelligent prefer fantasy to fact.

  25. inhumans99 says:


    The one where we toss Newsom’s hat into the nomination circle, as at this moment I depressingly admit that I would like to be living in that same world as Michael where the Democratic Party can announce Biden is stepping down, Newsom is stepping up, and VP Kamala Harris will remain his pick for VP.

    The GOP in California has been itching to remove Newsom as Governor of CA, and CA has thrived even under Republican rule, as long as we get someone more like Adam Kinzinger instead of DeSantis CA will be able to function just fine under GOP rule.

    Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, so a scenario like the above is not entirely out of the picture.

    Otherwise, I am going to practice some calming techniques as we are getting Trump again as Prez, and it is a long summer and I do not need to turn into a stressed out basket-case this far out from the election.

  26. Kathy says:

    Biden’s not going to step down. there are various reasons:

    1) he’s been chasing the presidency for decades. having won it, he won’t give it up until he has to. He may lose it, but he won’t abandon it.

    2) he’s been doing a good, above average job. Not compared to Wannabehitler, a mop would do a better job, but compared to the average of all presidents from Nixon to the present. Some of it won’t pay off until the second term, if there is one, or even later. It’s likely a Democratic president would continue along these lines, but not certain.

    3) At this point, stepping aside for someone else looks like quitting, and any replacement as a panicked an inadequate substitute. So the Democrats may as well place Wannabehitler on their ticket. The results wouldn’t be much different.

    4) The most obvious choice for a replacement would be Kamala Harris. I like her, I think she’s qualified, and I expect she’d do well. But we’ll never know, because in the block where she needs to make inroads, white males, are willing to vote for a woman running for president, just not this woman. This woman being defined as any woman running for the presidency.

  27. Kathy says:

    Life goes on.

    I read Kara Swisher’s “Burn Book.” I can’t quite describe what it was. Partly a memoir, partly a very selective and very short history of modern tech, partly reminiscences of past interviews with tech big shots, and largely a stream of opinions, many negative, about said people in tech*.

    One thing that stuck was her claim of what the disgraced, and disgraceful, ex Uber CEO said about autonomous (ie self-driving) cars. Namely that their existence would make ownership of vehicles more expensive, ergo people would stop owning their own cars and use Uber only.

    There are a lot of assumptions in that simple statement, and I lack the knowledge and training to examine them all. But let’s assume whatsisname was right, and sometime in the next few decades no one but ride hailing companies own cars and SUVs at all. What happens then?

    The pitch is we’d all be happy, because we have the mobility we want at a lower price. Win-win.

    More likely, having made a monopoly on car ownership. Uber, Lyft and others would start raising prices. For a while this would be ok, but eventually it will be more expensive to rely on ride hailing services than to own your vehicle. When this happens, it may no longer be possible to get one.

    Why not? By then the law may not permit it, or car makers won’t want to sell to the public anyway (consolidating all sales and maintenance with a handful of companies instead of millions of consumers would greatly reduce costs), or retail prices may be outrageous and no one will offer financing for it. And, who know, the way things are going, it may be car makers will merge with rife hailing companies. Efficiency, don’t you know.

    On other things, I got a new mouse. It hardly seems fair. The old one was under 3 years old.

    I used to buy Microsoft mice almost exclusively. They lasted a long time, and had buttons on the side for additional functions (namely the “back” button for web browsing). But for some years now MS has gone with the Surface brand and style of mice, which are 1) not as ergonomic, and 2) way overpriced.

    So now I went with a cheap, generic mouse with side buttons. I figure if it lasts three years, it’s a better use of money than the HP mouse I bought for about four times as much only 3 years ago…

    *Swisher has a lot of disrespectful nicknames for some powerful people. Like, she calls Rupert Murdoch “Uncle Satan.”

    I wish she had shown more respect. everyone knows the correct appellation is “Prince of Darkness.”

  28. Gustopher says:

    The Supreme Court has ruled, 6-3, that municipalities can fine and jail the homeless for sleeping in public, without having to provide shelters.

    I expect this will make homelessness worse in urban areas, as it will be done much more vigorously in the rural areas, and drive the homeless into the cities.


  29. just nutha says:

    @Gustopher: Did anyone not see this decision coming? Homelessness will proceed apace with the decision with the difference being that in rural areas, the homeless will go back underground–tenting outside the town limits etc.–and the good citizens of Grant’s Pass will sign in relief, having solved the homeless problem and tsk-tsking city dwellers for not being as wise. Exurban homelessness will remain intractable.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:..sneeze

    Somewhere I read that the practice of saying bless you started many years ago as people thought that a human’s soul would fly out of their mouth when they sneezed.
    Can’t say if that incantation would have helped this fellow. I think that the professional medical attention this fellow received was likely far more appropriate than any religious mojo.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    Democrats – both liberals and progressives – have failed to handle the problem. When you fail, you lose standing. Part of the problem is that we don’t want to admit that this is not about a lack of shelter, it’s about Fentanyl, meth, alcohol and mental illness. A junkie can use drugs in a tent, not in a shelter, so you can offer all the shelter you like and it won’t matter if the addict faces a choice that leaves him without drugs.

  32. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Years ago Phillips Brooks House at Harvard set up a nice shelter for homeless men: beds, sheets, pillows, and blankets, towels, toilet and shower facilities, and food. All new and pristine.

    The men came for the food, but left right afterward to make sure no one had taken over their preferred sleeping places–the subway gratings.

  33. Kari Q says:

    Overturning Chevron seems like it will be a much bigger deal than anything else in the last 24 hours. IANAL, but what I’ve seen from those who are suggests that we are in for some really wild times as courts decide to intervene in every executive branch decision of the last half century.

  34. CSK says:

    Per the U. S. Supreme Court, Steve Bannon has to report to prison on Monday.

    Does that make anyone feel a bit better?

  35. Kathy says:


    Yes, a little.

    On the other hand, he’s been out of prison for two years longer than he should have been. How come this never happens with defendants of lower means who commit less damaging offenses?

    BTW, we’re lees than two weeks away from Wannabehitler’s sentencing. I’m sure the result will not make me feel a little bit better.

  36. CSK says:


    Judge Merchan has said he doesn’t want to jail Trump. I don’t know what the sentence will be.

  37. Kathy says:

    I thought we had outgrown social media trends. Or maybe I’ve outgrown social media, I spend so little time on it these days.

    So there’s this practice of doing nothing on a flight, and then bragging about it far and wide. It reminds me of little kids in second grade doing stupid things to draw attention.

    I think many of here recall the days when flying, while perhaps less stressful and more pleasant in many ways, lacked much in the way of entertainment. Shorter flights in smaller planes usually had nothing at all, not even the ridiculously small video screens hanging overhead. Longer flights on widebodies had some audio channels with short programs (under 90 minutes), and one (1) movie* projected on a large screen on the nearest bulkhead.

    These days seat back screens with multiple options, plus expensive WiFi, are available in many flights. So the trend now is to make yourself bored on a flight.

    Some claim in the piece it’s like meditation. Fine, though I’ve never done that. I still fail to see the need to brag about it. try posting you meditated for 15 hours at your living room the other day; not breaking for food, drink, or even to empty your bladder**. People would think you’re crazy.

    Unless it were part of the latest trend.

    *I recall many airlines advertising the in-flight movie for the flight at the check-in counter. I never quite got that. Are you going to fly with eastern because they’re showing Rocky in the MEX-JFK flight?

    ** It’s recommended to get up and walk around during long flights, to prevent clots from forming in leg veins, especially for women. These clots can travel elsewhere and cause problems, like pulmonary embolism or stroke.

  38. CSK says:


    God forbid anyone should bring an actual book to read.

  39. Kathy says:


    For some reason, I found it hard to concentrate on books while flying. I used to buy magazines (Discover, Popular Science, etc.) and read them on the plane. I brought a book or two also, but rarely made much headway.

    More recently I play audio books and podcasts. I can concentrate on those just fine.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Democrats – both liberals and progressives – have failed to handle the problem.

    Which is why we need Trump and Republican tough love and real crime control.

    As you say, Michael, the ads write themselves.

  41. Bill Jempty says:


    God forbid anyone should bring an actual book to read.

    I read my Kindle on the way back and forth to Australia.

    Gay Talese’s The Kingdom and the Power on the way there

    Omar Bradley’s A General’s Life on the way back

  42. Bill Jempty says:


    I recall many airlines advertising the in-flight movie for the flight at the check-in counter. I never quite got that. Are you going to fly with eastern because they’re showing Rocky in the MEX-JFK flight?


    There was a late 70’s newspaper drama on television called Lou Grant. In one episode the editors discussed a hijacking story.

    What did the hijackers want- Safe travel to some destination and Star Wars as the in flight movie.

  43. Kathy says:

    So, once they are finished with abortion and move on to contraception and IVF, The National Socialist Oligarchs Party wants to begin to destroy no fault divorce.

    Oh, but Biden had a bad night and some lousy debate strategy.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ve told this story before, but when I was 16 I collected rents in Long Beach for my slumlord grandfather. We had a woman with kids looking to rent. We warned her about the shit schools. We warned her about the pedophile down the street. We literally found her an apartment for the same rent in Glendale – safer, better schools. We did everything but put a gun to her head.

    And then it slowly dawned on us (my uncle Rodney and me) that she needed to be near her dealer.

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yeah, that’s what I said.

  46. Mister Bluster says:

    Martin Mull 80

  47. just nutha says:

    Because conservatives and racists are ever so much better at drug policies and homelessness.


    ETA: Sometimes, this place is just like home. People are saying the crap I used to hear in the Baptist church I grew up in. [Facepalm]

  48. DrDaveT says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Martin Mull 80


    Serial is one of the best underappreciated comedy films of all time. Clue is a classic. The television roles were definitive.

    Thanks for the laughs, Martin.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    @just nutha:

    Because conservatives and racists are ever so much better at drug policies and homelessness.

    He didn’t say that. What he did say (I think) is that if you fail long enough at something important, people are going to try a different approach. Even if it’s a stupid-ass different approach.

  50. dazedandconfused says:


    I had a friend named Ramblin’ Steve
    Who did things you wouldn’t believe
    He thought he was the smartest guy in town
    But I found out last Friday
    That Steve gets locked up on Monday
    They’ll get him in the jailhouse way downtown

    He’s in the jailhouse now, he’s in the jailhouse now
    I told him once or twice
    To quit the playing lawyer and his grifting vice
    He’s in the jailhouse now

  51. just nutha says:

    @DrDaveT: As I said, the ads write themselves. That you’ll need to spend the time correcting the copy is another issue.

  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @just nutha:
    You know, there are more things in heaven and earth than binaries. There are spaces between extremes. Accusing me of favoring GOP policies? I know you need a bête noire, but maybe try sticking at least a little closer to reality?

    BTW, as far as I know, I’m the only person here who’s ever actually been homeless. How many times have you walked the streets all through the night? How often did you scrounge for dimes in laundromat driers or quarters in pay phone change returns? Ever ‘showered’ in a bus station sink? Slept under many bridges? Public libraries? How about catching 40 winks sitting on a public toilet? (You want to make sure to drop your pants or someone will peek under the partition and see you’re just a bum, camping out.)

    Don’t try and one-up me on poverty.