Saturday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fox Business Network has canceled the show of Lou Dobbs, the ardent Donald Trump supporter with a history of espousing misinformation who promoted baseless conspiracy theories of voting fraud after the election. Friday evening marked the final airing of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs’ regular weeknight program. The Fox host was a major contributor to the false narrative that the election was stolen and continued espousing those views on his program even after admitting that they lacked actual proof.

    “Eight weeks from the election and we still don’t have verifiable, tangible support for the crimes that everyone knows were committed,” he said on air in January.

    Dobbs, 75, has hosted the program since 2011. Trump considered it must-see TV and even reportedly patched the host through during key policy meetings. Dobbs is still considered the highest-rated host on the Fox Business Network, and he has remained under contract even though he is not expected to reappear on a new show.
    News of the cancellation came one day after Dobbs, 75, was named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed by Smartmatic, ………..

    Fox said the move to end Dobbs’ show had been in the works before the lawsuit.

    “As we said in October, Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business,” a Fox News spokesperson said. “This is part of those planned changes.”

    Yeah. Sure. No connection at all. Consider my Fruede to thoroughly schadened.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Aaron Rupar

    Rep Dean Phillips:
    “I screamed to my colleagues to follow me, to follow me across the aisle to the Republican side of the chamber so that we could blend in. So that we could blend in. Because I felt that the insurrectionists who were trying to break down the doors, right here, would spare us if they simply mistook us for Republicans. But within moments I recognized that blending in was not an option available to my colleagues of color. So I’m here tonight to say to my brothers & sisters in Congress & all around our country, I’m sorry. For I’ve never understood, really understood, what privilege really means. It took a violent mob of insurrectionists & lightning-bolt moment in this very room. But now I know, believe me, I really know.” (video)

    Pretty powerful moment.

  3. sam says:

    Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior’

    That’s gonna sting. In addition to worrying about him shooting his mouth off about what he read was told was in the intel, I’d be worried about the security of the briefing documents at Mar-a-Lardo.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Texas Republican party has endorsed legislation that would allow state residents to vote whether to secede from the United States. In a talkshow interview, the party chair, Allen West, argued that: “Texans have a right to voice their opinions on [this] critical issue.

    “I don’t understand why anyone would feel that they need to prevent people from having a voice in something that is part of the Texas constitution,” the former Florida congressman said of the Texas Referendum Independence Act. “You cannot prevent the people from having a voice.”

    West is the latest Republican to come out in support of declaring Texas an independent nation. Last month, thestate representative Kyle Biedermann confirmed that he will introduce the bill for a referendum as early as this week. “Texit,” named after the British referendum to leave the European Union, refers to the process of Texas exiting the United States to become an independent, self-governing nation.

    The endorsement drew intense backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Many took aim directly at Allen as party chair, continuing a slew of criticism that has been levied at him since first he took on the role in July.

    This is what you get when you put Floriduh Man in charge.

  5. Mikey says:


    Yeah. Sure. No connection at all.

    No kidding. Who would be dumb and gullible enough to believe a network would have “as part of…planned changes” canceling its highest-rated program?

    *remembers the political affiliation of Fox News’ audience*

    Oh, well. Carry on.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki has embraced normalcy – is it working?

    “Bad cop” is one of Psaki’s trademark phrases, along with “circle back” and “I don’t have anything more for you”. All are now becoming familiar to cable news viewers at the restored daily White House press briefing. After four madcap years of Donald Trump, the sessions are disorientingly civil, fact-based and unnewsy. In a word, “normal”.

    “To actually hear questions and substantive answers is refreshing,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative author and broadcaster. “It does feel like something from a different era.”

    Psaki is the most prominent public face of a Joe Biden administration that has pledged to restore order and trust with a press castigated by Trump as “the enemy of the people”. Its communications strategy has involved a blitz of speeches, briefings and policy documents, including thrice-weekly virtual sessions with experts on the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas Trump’s White House was a theatre of anarchic improvisation, Biden’s is a set where everyone sticks to the script.
    Mike McCurry, a former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, is an acquaintance who has offered Psaki occasional advice such as “keep a good sense of humour” and “don’t let it consume every bit of your life”.

    He said: “Two weeks in, she’s doing very well. She’s gives good, complete answers, She’s taken on some tough subjects. She knows how to kind of parry and thrust, as you have to do from the podium, and I think that the press appreciates it. There’s a requisite amount of spin that goes with the job to try to put things in a favorable light for the president but she doesn’t overdo that.”

    That could not be said for Psaki’s predecessor, Kayleigh McEnany, who pushed false conspiracy theories about a stolen election and ended each briefing with a tirade against the “fake news” media.

    Boring is good.

  7. CSK says:

    Jim Brown 32 has told us that these briefings aren’t a big deal, and I believe him, but I still feel better knowing they’re out of Trump’s hands. I trust Trump’s predecessors; I don’t trust Trump with even relatively innocuous information.

    And I have to confess that I’m spiteful enough to take pleasure in Trump being thwarted.

  8. Jax says:

    @CSK: Up until now, he probably didn’t even want them.

  9. CSK says:

    He’d want them because his predecessors got them.

    Even if he got them, I doubt he’d bother to read them, since he can’t/won’t read. But who knows who else would get their hands on them?

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    A lost opportunity for our intelligence community to spread disinformation…

  11. Kathy says:


    My understanding is that he paid little attention to them.

    But he’s beholden to his nature. If you tell him he can’t have something he doesn’t even want, like any other toddler he’ll now demand it.

    Hm. Maybe we should get Biden to tell him he cannot have any cyanide?

  12. owen says:

    @CSK: It’s a legitimacy issue as well, how is the Great Negotiator going to peddle his schtick to foreign entities and officials if he has been “cut off” from intel briefs.

    Hell, Soros wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole now! /s

  13. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yes. It would be interesting if they sent Trump false briefings and then tracked where the information appeared.

    As Rick Wilson pointed out, this prevents Jared from monetizing the briefings.

  14. CSK says:

    I wonder how much credence Merkel, Macron, Johnson et al. put in anything he told them even when he was president.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..I wonder how much credence Merkel, Macron, Johnson et al. put in anything he told them even when he was president.

    A tiny amount.

  16. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I love that picture. A roomful of exasperated adults trying to get a toddler to eat his broccoli.

    I’ve seen a meme of it with Trump sitting in a high chair with a bowl of cereal inverted on his head. That was probably the thought bubble over the heads of all the grown-ups.

  17. Scott says:

    @sam: As a private citizen, could Trump even get a security clearance to receive these briefings. There were a lot a questionable grantings of clearance in his administration.

  18. Owen says:

    @CSK: True, but I was thinking more along the lines of Vlad Putin, Rod Duterte, Al Lukashenko, etc.

  19. CSK says:

    He was their useful fool/tool. I think Putin in particular found him convenient for screwing up things. I certainly don’t think Putin regarded Trump as a heavyweight on the world stage. Trump was someone to be manipulated, not to be taken either seriously or literally.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    An actual Republican with a spine and a sense of right and wrong. Ben Sasse unloaded on what he describes as a “cult of personality.”

    ‘The weird worship of one dude.”

    “Personality cults aren’t conservative.”

    “Acting like politics is a religion? Isn’t conservative.”

    Ben Sasse, conservative Nebraskan and I agree: this is a cult of personality and it is quasi-religious.

  21. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Good. As long as this Country takes stock in skin color we can talk about colorblind society to the cows come home–non white people will always stand out.

    I’ve thought about this recently and I do believe its possible to shift a portion the weight of the conversation on “race” from skin color to ethnicity. We could start this shift by a simple change to Gov’t and commercial sector forms. We could build a framework that acknowledges a society of 1 race “homosapiens”–but multiple ethnicities i.e. hispanic-americans, african-americans, native-americans etc. I would try to come up with something better than european-americans for white people. Too loaded a term with the history of colonization and all.

    While admittedly this is only a cosmetic change–I think it sets the conditions for a broader shift as young people grow up in the new framework. We are conditioned to believe “race” is a different in kind where ethnicity can be passed as a difference in degree.

  22. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @sam: Probably would not have done this because of the precedent. POTUS is the original classifier of all Intel in USG so he gets to control the briefing Trump gets. I would have essentially only allowed him Open Source intelligence in his brief that could readily be found at NPR, CNN, and AP.

    It would have been a good troll as well.

  23. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Woah! Woah! This POS is the product of Georgia. Florida has plenty of nuts but this one isn’t from our cornucopia.

  24. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: I don’t know for certain but I’d be surprised if former-POTUS’ got the same version of the PDB that the sitting POTUS gets. If they did, Biden’s action would actual set a good precedent. Need to know is need to know. The purpose of intel is to empower the decision-maker to make the best possible next move. Ex POTUS is out of the seat and not making decisions–so no need for Intel.

    As a courtesy, I think it would be appropriate for them to receive a carve out, heavily Open Source report with some milquetoast assessments from DNI. Trump I would troll with an Open Source content brief pulled from He’d get his brief. I’d even have them include some coloring sheets.

  25. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You could have guessed this, but the Trumpkins absolutely loathe Sasse. “Quisling” is one of their politer terms for him.

    Actually, the insane hatred they bear for Sasse simply serves as an illustration of how cultish the Trumpkins are. No criticism of their idol, however mild, will be tolerated.

  26. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I love that the Nebraska Republican poobahs are called the State Central Committee. Right out of Stalin era Soviet Union.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  28. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, Ms. Cudd stoutly maintains that she “broke no law,” so what the hell. Right?

  29. dazedandconfused says:
  30. dazedandconfused says:
  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    These soldiers singing inside the Library of Congress will give you chills The acoustics kinda suck but it’s pretty cool.

  32. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds: For what it’s worth, the Nebraska Republican Party is preparing to censure Sen. Sasse.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Some people should just stfu.

  34. Jen says:


    As a private citizen, could Trump even get a security clearance to receive these briefings.

    No, he likely could not. He owes too much money. Because money is one of the top motivators of disclosing intelligence, he’d be considered high risk and would be unlikely to be granted a security clearance.

  35. dazedandconfused says:


    True, but at the POTUS level security clearances are moot. A POTUS has complete control of over that process. He can issue one to anyone. He can declassify anything and everything too.

    This appears to be Trump click bait to me. The issue was generated entirely by a Biden’s response to a question crafted solely for the purpose of getting a negative quote about Trump from Biden. Trump was cut off the moment he was no longer POTUS, and as Trump revels in being despised by Biden, there is no reason to expect that Trump has asked Biden for access. I suspect the press’s desire for Trump-bait will be a distraction for Biden for some time to come.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Given CRISPR technology I’ve been wondering what would happen if it turns out skin or hair color is changeable? What effect would it have on racism if anyone could be any color they wanted? I’m not naive enough to think it would end racism, rather I’m just wondering at how it would affect society and individuals.

  37. dazedandconfused says:
  38. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: I am sooooo gonna be a rich, dark velvet purple. I’ll keep my hair, it’s pretty much all white, it’ll look great with the purple. 😉

  39. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Nope, no vacationing here, busy girding my loins for another evening in the wunnaful, a-wunnaful world of consumer retail in the day of Covid. Also, tried 3x to get the vacation tale up, then gave up and passed it on to one whose Google-fu is much greater than mine. Thanks for posting it!

    @Jax: When my hair grew back after chemo, I died the stubble a vibrant electric blue before going into oncology. When the nurse complimented me on my stylish coif, I innocently replied, “I dunno, it just grew back this way.” Stunned silence and worried looks followed, until they remembered I was the guy who’d wear a rubber clown nose and a panda mask to weekly chemo rounds. Purple will rock!

  40. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I’ve thought about this recently and I do believe its possible to shift a portion the weight of the conversation on “race” from skin color to ethnicity.

    That I think was part of the basis for the rise of the term African American in the first place–it was meant to shift the focus from color to ancestry (and shared cultural heritage, to an extent). One of the problems, though (which these movements for linguistic change repeatedly fail to grasp) is that changing terminology doesn’t do much to change the way people think. It’s the equivalent of trying to fix a car with a paint job. Whether you say African American or black or Black or something else, everyone’s thinking the same thing.

    And keep in mind that our “conversation” over race has always been about more than skin color–think of light-skinned blacks or the entire way “Hispanic” is seen as a racial category.

  41. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    I like your style.

  42. DrDaveT says:


    And keep in mind that our “conversation” over race has always been about more than skin color–think of light-skinned blacks or the entire way “Hispanic” is seen as a racial category.

    As are “Jewish” and “Arab”, and as were “Irish” and [insert offensive term for southern Europeans here] until quite recently. (I’m pretty sure that, for my mother-in-law, “Irish” is still a racial descriptor.)

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: Well, you know what they say about what happens to fighters who lead with their chin.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: The link your first post went to works just fine for the purpose, too. 😛

  45. CSK says:

    What race does she think the Irish are?

    I ask because I spent most of my life in Massachusetts, where when I was young the WASP contempt for Hibernians was still prevalent. Later in life, I had a colleague from Cincinnati whose father ordered her not to play with the Irish-surnamed children down the street.

  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: There is no reason to think this can’t be done. My view is that Racism is simply the Western European and American form of factionalism. Humans simply are hierarchical social beings. We will simply find something else to build an “out group” from.

    There are already signs this is already happening. I worked with Trumpies that have Ben Carson calendars and Allen West mugs in their cubicle. They adore these guys. It wouldn’t be unfair to say its not they they don’t like Black people–its just that they don’t like Black people that vote for Democrats. Lindsey G said as much in his debate–Black people are welcome anywhere in South Carolina as long as they are Republicans.

    Then we have outgroups forming around those that have credentials and those that don’t–those that are educated and those not–those that live in the city and rural dwellers, etc. It would be interesting to see if designer children catches on–one of the joys of parenthood (at least to me) is the wonder of children that look like little versions of you or other family members.

  47. DrDaveT says:


    What race does she think the Irish are?

    Irish. Which, in her mind, is not “like us”.

  48. Monala says:

    @Jim Brown 32: when my daughter and I traveled to Europe last year, we briefly had to stop at a health clinic for her in the UK. She was filling out the intake form and came to the section on race/ethnicity. The choices included: white-British, white-Irish, white-other European; black-British, black-African, black-Caribbean; and so forth. My daughter looked at me bewildered and asked which box she should check. I traced my finger across the form and tapped on the word, “other.”

    It really drove home for me how much race and ethnicity designations are socially derived and context-specific.

  49. Kylopod says:


    From the limited experiences he had, Du Bois found Germany to be surprisingly free of racial prejudice. In fact, he would fall in love with a white German woman, Dora Marbach, who even wanted to marry him. As Martin Luther King Jr. would do half a century later, Du Bois determined that in the interest of the work he saw ahead of him, that is, a race agenda in which he would play a leadership role, there was no place for this “blue-eyed stranger.” While this ill-fated relationship would somewhat open Du Bois to the notion that all Whites were not irredeemably racist, and he would feel no signs of racism by Germans toward himself, he failed to acknowledge the privileged position he held as both a foreigner and a student, positions that could isolate him from more daily racial incidents. His sanguine view of the Germans would, however, be weakened as he came to recognize the prejudice that was pervasive against Jews. Although he makes no mention of the German treatment of or attitude toward Afro-Germans or Africans, he eventually noted that anti-Semitism was virulent in German society, and would see it as comparable to the views of white Americans toward blacks, that is, “much in common with our own race question.” …. While in Poland, which at the time was controlled by Vienna, he was mistaken repeatedly for being a Jew (and a Gypsy). Both Poles and Germans expressed anti-Semitic remarks and behaviors toward Du Bois.

    –Clarence Lusane, Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era (2003)

  50. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Well, the panda mask (and several others) were gifts from Cracker, who was teaching in S Korea at the time. Far from KN95, but definitely uplifting of my morale. OTOH, I frequently wear really blinding aloha shirts, so my sense of style is… unusual?

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I would try to come up with something better than european-americans for white people. Too loaded a term with the history of colonization and all.

    Neanderthal-American? We did pick up Neanderthal DNA after (most of) our ancestors left Africa. I’ve been eagerly waiting for white supremacists to start calling themselves Neanderthal Supremacists.

    The Neanderthals weren’t quite a different species, as at least some of the Sapien-Neanderthal offspring were able to breed with the Sapiens.

    While admittedly this is only a cosmetic change–I think it sets the conditions for a broader shift as young people grow up in the new framework. We are conditioned to believe “race” is a different in kind where ethnicity can be passed as a difference in degree.

    I guess stressing the Neanderthal interbreeding kind of goes right against this, because that really seems like a difference in kind.

    I don’t really think that papering over the differences between (insert generic word for semi-distinctive, overlapping genetic subgroup of humans lacking other meanings — I give up, let’s just say floofledorff) floofledorffs can work in this country. When one grouping of floofledorffs has been systemically oppressed for hundreds of years, and others have been exterminated, and still others are being held off with an ineffective wall… saying “but we’re all the same deep down inside” isn’t going to do it.

    We have to embrace the other floofledorffs and recognize the different cultures and experiences that they bring (as well as different degrees of Neanderthal DNA and other bits of genetic drift) before we can get to “were all basically the same, except these white people look terrible in bright yellow, and huh, that group over there has some other random difference, and that one, but close enough.”

    African-American is a uniquely American mix of the many ethnicities of Africa mixed with Neanderthal-Americans, and various other ethnicities at the edges. And there’s a very different culture. An American culture, which has faced adversity and struggle, and has created amazing art including basically all American music, plus 150 uses for the peanut.

    Where people migrated out of Africa voluntarily, they’ve kept more of their culture for more generations. Even recent emigres here — Somali-Americans have as much to do with African-Americans as Vietnamese-Americans have to do with Japanese-Americans. Ignorant Neanderthal-Americans might group them with the same racial slur, but they’re very different.

    The different floofledorfs are different in kind. Barack Obama was not going to be the same kind of President as Jimmy Carter, despite similarities in policy. And that shouldn’t be threatening.

    And the Joe Biden who spent 8 years working with Barack Obama is a very different man than the Joe Biden who ran in 2008. I think he’s a better man. And I think recognizing and embracing those differences can make all of us better people — individually and as a country.

    Finally, as my rambling needs to come to and end, I think that the pendulum that swings the focus between “we’re all the same deep down” and “celebrate the differences” always swings back to “we’re all the same deep down” when white folk start getting nervous about too much change too fast. Well, shit’s gotta change and I think it’s a bad time to take a breather.

    But that’s easy for my lily-white Neanderthal ass to say.

  52. Kylopod says:


    The Neanderthals weren’t quite a different species

    The current scientific consensus is that they were. Being separate species doesn’t automatically mean “impossible ever to interbreed.” There are many organisms classified as separate species that can and do interbreed on occasion.

  53. PJ says:

    The dumbest man on the internet has been permanently suspended from Twitter:

    Twitter on Saturday issued a permanent suspension for the account run by Jim Hoft, founder and editor-in-chief of far-right news website Gateway Pundit, for violations of its “civic integrity policy.”