Last Sunday of January 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. Teve says:


    The “center right” never existed as an electoral force. It was always a cover for exurban Christian white male dominance.

    What changed is that their position went from comfortably in charge, to challenged, to declining. And their anti-democracy violence is growing accordingly./1

    “Low tax and light regulation” was always a polite cover story. It’s just that as the dominance of white exurban evangelical men declined, they got tired of the euphemisms from genteel corporate types they figured were selling them out instead of doing what they really wanted./2

    But no, there never was a broad coalition for race-neutral, gender-neutral small government laissez faire policy.

    Laissez faire just meant letting the in-group do their thing at the expense of the out-groups. /end

  2. CSK says:

    Butch Bowers, Trump’s lawyer for less than a month, has left his employ. Apparently he wouldn’t go on television and claim that Trump never did anything wrong, as Trump wanted him to do. The four other lawyers retained along with Bowers have also parted ways with Trump.

  3. Kathy says:


    It’s hard to defend the indefensible.

    And, as everyone knows, when the facts favor the case, argue the facts. When the law favors it, argue the law. When neither does, make a lot of noise and throw s**t around.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: This is my surprised face.

  5. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @OzarkHillbilly:
    Trump might have to argue his own case, which would be a sight worthy of pay-per-view.

    According to one of his aides, he likes lawyers with whom he has chemistry. Apparently those are in increasingly short supply.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    James ended his The GOP Isn’t Dead. It’s Resting. post with this:

    Granted, fomenting insurrection over false claims of stolen elections makes Nixon look like George Washington by comparison. And the QAnon people are crazier than the Birchers, much less the Moral Majority.

    The Bottom Line, though, is that there are only two parties who can compete for control of the White House and Congress in our system and, like it or not, the GOP is one of them. They’re not going anywhere.

    Today I find this: ‘It’s endemic’: state-level Republican groups lead party’s drift to extremism

    Tim Miller, former political director of Republican Voters Against Trump, said: “The evidence is overwhelming that local parties across the country, in blue states and red states, are radicalized and support extremely far outside the mainstream positions like, for example, ending our our democratic experiment to install Donald Trump as president over the will of the people.

    “They believe in insane Covid denialism and QAnon and all these other conspiracies. It’s endemic, not just a couple of state parties. It’s the vast majority of state parties throughout the country.”
    Miller, a writer-at-large at the Bulwark website, said: “I didn’t ever think that there was any momentum to convict him because I looked at what the local Republicans were saying. I remember saying to folks in the days after January 6, ‘Compare the statements that are coming out from Republican state parties to what the senators are saying’ – and there was a big disconnect.

    “The state parties were in defence of Trump. They were advancing conspiracy theories about how it was really Antifa in disguise. They were the canary in the coalmine for me as far as the fact that these senators were not going to to convict Trump. Everybody represents their own constituency. What’s notable is that the state parties are closest to the constituents so they know what the constituents want. What the constituents want is fealty to Trump.”

    This will not end well.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If he can’t find any lawyers to defend him (prediction: he will*) he wouldn’t even bother showing up, and the GOP still wouldn’t vote to convict.

    *Lin Wood is probably available, so is Sydney Powell. Maybe she will release the Kraken in the Senate.

  8. CSK says:

    Wood may be disbarred by Georgia for refusing to undergo a mental health evaluation. And didn’t Team Trump already insist that Powell and her pet Kraken weren’t working for them?

  9. Kathy says:


    Oh, ye of little faith.

    Trump could show up at the trial, declare he incited an insurrection because the Defense Department wouldn’t go deploy troops to help him steal the election, and because weak Republicans didn’t want to go along with his coup, and because Mike Pence did not act illegally to change the results, and they still wouldn’t vote to convict.

  10. Teve says:

    Just started watching Ted Lasso. Pretty good show.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And didn’t Team Trump already insist that Powell and her pet Kraken weren’t working for them?

    Sure they did. They said the same kinds of things about Bannon and others too. If they can’t get new talent they’ll just recycle the old. Any port in a storm.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, but that would require trump to miss FOX and Friends.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:
  14. Mikey says:

    CNN’s Kaitlan Collins said this of why Trump’s lawyers left:

    Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and it was stolen from him rather than focus on proposed arguments about constitutionality.

    Not that it matters if anyone on his side shows up. The outcome is a foregone conclusion. He could literally send nobody, leave the charges entirely unchallenged, and still be acquitted. Senate Republicans, who have completely abdicated their responsibility to govern and been subsumed entirely into the Trump cult, will never vote to convict.

  15. CSK says:

    Wayne Allan Root (“author of the No.1 bestselling TRUMP RULES,” as he’ll tell you himself) is proposing that Trump get funding from his billionaire friends to build The Trump Media Network AND run for Congress from Florida in 2022.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m getting addicted to the historyguy. This piece on Big Nose Kate was quite illuminating. She was, as one might imagine, quite the character, larger than life.

  17. Teve says:

    Sad. Some QAnon people realize they’ve been lied to. Others are attacking friends and relatives who tried to help them.

  18. Teve says:


    I joined a group of 10 Republican Senators in writing to President Biden today to propose an alternative Covid-19 relief bill capable of garnering bipartisan support and to request a meeting to discuss it in detail.…

    that she isn’t everyday laughed into hiding is a discredit to humankind. 😀

  19. Michael Cain says:

    Why bother with a defense? Just let Ted Cruz say, “Your Honor, a sufficient number of my colleagues believe that trying a president after he has left office is unconstitutional. No other defense is necessary. Please proceed to the vote.”

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    Apparently this group of moderate Rs is offering support in exchange of a plan for $160B for covid related funding and nothing to keep/revive the economy. That’s not going anywhere as it would likely lose 10 Dem senators.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: He should meet with them and then ignore them. There is zero chance anything he proposes will get any significant Republican support. They will always find some reason to vote against it, even if it just one line in a million.

  22. Mikey says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Why bother with a defense? Just let Ted Cruz say, “Your Honor, a sufficient number of my colleagues believe that trying a president after he has left office is unconstitutional. No other defense is necessary. Please proceed to the vote.”

    Trump would never stand for that. It would deny him the opportunity to blast his election fraud lies.

  23. DrDaveT says:

    I came across a fascinating law review article in a course I was taking last week. It’s called Life, Liberty, and Trade Secrets and it goes into great detail about some thorny issues at the intersection of privacy, intellectual property, and machine learning. It focuses especially on uses of machine learning in criminal justice, which might interest our own Matt Bernius (if he isn’t already well aware of the article).

    Bottom line: there are real justice issues in having convictions (especially) or bail decisions be based on algorithms that are protected from defense scrutiny on the basis of trade secrets. At the same time, there are privacy issues associated with disclosing training data, and open IP protections (e.g. patents or copyrights) might not be appropriate for these kinds of algorithms. The author argues that existing abilities of courts to limit distribution of disclosed information are sufficient, and that trade secret protections should not supercede defendants’ rights.

  24. charon says:


    It is not a criminal proceeding, his defenders do not have to even be real lawyers let alone bar members.

  25. Sleeping Dog says:


    That ex prez, should enlist Marjorie Taylor Greene to represent him, that would be must see TV

  26. CSK says:

    Then Trump should by all means represent himself. He’d have the spotlight on him, he’d be able to rant about how the election was stolen from him, and, best of all, he wouldn’t have to pay anyone (not that he would anyway).

    From our standpoint, it would make hilarious viewing.


  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Laissez faire just meant letting the in-group do their thing at the expense of the out-groups.

    Just want to note in passing, that what Atkins said is the actual definition of laissez faire and everyone knows it.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    And didn’t Team Trump already insist that Powell and her pet Kraken weren’t working for them?

    That was then, this is now? (Either way, the mascot of the future Seattle NHL team isn’t going to save them, and I don’t think they’ve got a contract with it even if it could.)

  29. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    She could bring her AR-15 into the chamber and fire a few rounds into the ceiling.

  30. Michael Cain says:

    @Mikey: Trump can rant and rave, but he doesn’t get a say in how the Senate conducts this.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    What went wrong with America’s $44 million vaccine data system?

    The CDC ordered software that was meant to manage the vaccine rollout. Instead, it has been plagued by problems and abandoned by most states.

    Her frustration is echoed by millions of Americans who have struggled to get vaccines through various chaotic systems. But unlike others in some states, she wasn’t encountering these problems with a third-party consumer service like Eventbrite, or even through an antiquated government system. She was on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s brand-new, $44 million website called VAMS—the Vaccine Administration Management System, built by the consulting firm Deloitte.

    Cow Hampshire is using VAMS, which is only to be expected in a state whose first priority is to only provide a service that is free or the state can get someone else to pay for it, the Feds, tourists etc.
    I managed to get registered without difficulty but noted that the system was not very intuitive, had explanations that seemed to be written by someone illiterate, and in some cases was down right contradictory. At one point in the sign-up, there was a paragraph containing two questions, but only one opportunity to answer and you could have answered yes for one and no for the other, but…

    My not technically astute wife, managed to get through the process but had no idea that she was successful, due to the confusing verbiage.

    The next time someone brings up the roll out of Obamacare as a disaster, mention VAMS as the R equivalent.

  32. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Steve Bannon is encouraging Trump to go on the floor of the senate himself, because Trump is “the only one who can sell it.”

  33. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    —the Vaccine Administration Management System, built by the consulting firm Deloitte.

    About 20 years ago I had an IT friend who knew a programmer at Deloitte and Touche. He said she hated her life there, and all the programmers did, and internally they called it Toilet and Douche.

  34. Teve says:

    @CSK: “the only one who can sell it.”

    Sell it? There’s nothing to sell, the outcome has already been determined.

  35. charon says:


    he’d be able to rant about how the election was stolen from him

    It’s already obviously his plan, making this about what happened was totes ok. Political theater, the pending acquittal is already overdetermined.

  36. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK: I may be wrong, but I’ll assert that there are no Republican Senators whose interests are served by letting Trump loose on the floor of the Senate, and they know it. And some number of Democrats who know that the vote will be to acquit, who will settle for the House managers getting their chance to play their video. When the House managers finish, some Republican will jump through the necessary hoops to move they go directly to the vote, that motion will pass, and the motion to convict Trump will fail.

  37. Mikey says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Trump can rant and rave, but he doesn’t get a say in how the Senate conducts this.

    Do you think he actually understands that?

    And the GOP is his party now, so they’ll bow to his wishes.

  38. charon says:

    Details re scumbags at Dodger Stadium:

    Very illuminating little detail from this LA Times story about a grab bag of local dickweeds blockading the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium.

  39. charon says:

    According to this, risk of COVID very correlated with crowded living and multigenerational households:

    “In Los Angeles County, there is little mystery to the heaviest spread of the virus. Where the crowding is worst, the pandemic hits hardest: the Eastside. Southeast L.A. South L.A.”

    Heartbreaking story by

    There is a graphic:×900

  40. Teve says:


    From what we know, the plan from 10 Republicans appears to cut from Biden’s plan:

    — 3 months of UI (knocked down by $100/week)
    — $350B for states & cities
    — Monthly child benefit
    — $15/hr minimum wage
    — Checks reduced from $1,400 to $1K
    — Parts of school $

    (list not exhaustive)

    Fortunately, based on what I’m seeing reported about congressional Democrats, their response is yeah just get the fuck out of here with that shit.

  41. charon says:

    Line cook is the job at highest risk of COVID. Food service and agriculture in general are high risk, likewise indoor dining.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Cruz: “Your Honor, our minds are made up. Let’s not confuse them with facts.”

  43. CSK says:

    I think Bannon enjoys jerking people around for the fun of it, particularly Trump.
    @Michael Cain: @Mikey:
    I’m kind of hoping Trump does show up, and Shumer has the sergeant-at-arms drag him off the floor.

  44. Sleeping Dog says:

    With reports of new COVID-19 strains reaching the United States, President Joe Biden has spent much of his first days in office laying out his administration’s response to the pandemic — including issuing an executive order to invoke the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies needed for manufacturing and deploying the vaccine.

    (Asa) Hutchinson (Gov. AR) said that vaccine distribution has been “seamless” under the Biden administration.

    “In terms of the vaccine distribution, it’s been seamless. And I was delighted that we had a … 14% increase in vaccine supply last week. This is going to be very, very important for us. (Biden) said they’re going to invoke the Defense Production Act. I don’t know the details on that, but anything they can do to speed up the production,” the governor said.

    “Thank goodness we have that partnership which is good with the federal government. And President Biden and his team is — is working to assure that partnership and not tear it apart, which I’m very grateful for,” he added.

    It helps when the Prez and his administration cares.

  45. Teve says:

    I’ve noticed in the last week or so that of all the links on newspapers and social media that I would’ve clicked on about Trump and the Republicans, I’m only clicking on 80 or 90% of them these days. It doesn’t feel urgent to me to know what they’re doing and knowing what they’re doing doesn’t improve my mental health any. I hope that percentage goes down even further.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I sent the following to a friend or two a couple of days ago. Your situation seems pretty positive to me by comparison.

    Wa! This past week, my doctor suggested that I get my first Covid-19 vaccination. He recommended that I check with the WSDoH (no pun intended) website to schedule an appointment at the mass vaccination site @ the Clark Co. Fairgrounds, which has committed to providing ~500 vaccinations a day–subject to availability of vaccine (which the Daily News headline for the day noted that the state is having trouble procuring). Well and good.

    The state DoH (again, no pun intended) site suggests that I contact my Personal Care Provider to schedule an appointment for vaccination. Barring that, clicking on the “Mass vaccinations at Ridgefield” button forwards me the Albertson’s pharmacy vaccination website, which tells me that Safeway Pharmacy on Ocean Beaches is not scheduling appointments and doesn’t know when it will have vaccine again.

    Here’s the real trick: The combined population of Cowlitz and Clark counties is a touch under 600,000. Which means that even if the fairgrounds could do ~500 vaccinations a day (which it can’t and isn’t currently linking anyone to), it would still take 1000 days to vaccinate everyone in the two counties–provided that everyone could get to Ridgefield.

    As I said in the opening–WA!

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe Bannon is a sleeper agent.

  48. CSK says:

    Bannon is sort of an evil spirit who roams around looking to stir up trouble just for the pure joy of creating havoc. I don’t think he has any particular ideology.

  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m not complaining, as the system has worked for me, but it has broken down for others, and I’m well aware that things have not gone as well in other parts of the country. I just like examining processes and critiquing the implementation of technology, along with poking fun at the proclivities of my home state’s politics. Kinda trollish, but good natured.

    IMHO, using centralized mass distribution centers in rural areas is setting up to fail. The gold standard in this crisis for vaccinating rural communities is WV, who rejected the recommendation of the CDC to work through the large pharmacy chains and implemented their program using local independent pharmacies (apparently they still have many in small remote communities) and the national guard.

  50. Gustopher says:


    Not that it matters if anyone on his side shows up. The outcome is a foregone conclusion. He could literally send nobody, leave the charges entirely unchallenged, and still be acquitted.

    That’s probably Trump’s best alternative.

    Or to have Republicans walk away from the process because it is “illegitimate”, score the conviction and use it to promote the whole “I’ve been persecuted, like Jesus. Buy my book! Vote for Don Jr. in 2024” scheme.

  51. Kathy says:

    I binged all episodes of Discovery season 3 in just three days. Now I have to wait who knows how long for more…

    Quick spoiler-free review:

    On the plus side: a whole raft of plausible advanced technologies one would expect to see in Trek’s future; though I’ve questions about the consistency of weapons. also plausible, the political situation in the future, though I’d have preferred a different reason for what happened to the Federation.

    On the downside: some of it feel like a rethread of season one. Not the story, that is wholly different, but Burnham’s attitude, Tilly’s growth, Evil Georgiou’s actions, and of course the return of the magical mushroom drive (less hallucinogenic this time, though).

    On the count your blessings side: at least they did not spend the whole season looking for Starfleet.

    And I do appreciate the continued fan service, in particular the references to events that happened in earlier shows. Back in season 2, one recap at the top showed clips of the original pre-Kirk Trek pilot episode. This time an episode is called Unification III, because it follows up on the events of The Next Generation’s Unification Part One and Part Two. That was nice.