Monday’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. Sleeping Dog says:

    Dr. T bait.

    How Political Primaries Drive Britain’s Dysfunction

    This was intended to empower voters over back-room party bosses, elevating politicians who would be more representative and therefore more electable. But the consequences have been very different.

    As in the United States, British primary voters tend to be more ideologically fervent and less inclined to moderation than are party bosses or even the median party supporter, surveys find.

    This has, in both countries, tended to elevate candidates who are more extreme, with research suggesting that the effect has been to make politics more polarized and dysfunctional. Ms. Truss, and the policies that seemingly ended her brief tenure, have become prime examples.


    Still, in countries where voters now expect to select their party’s leaders, reverting that authority back to party insiders, even if their choices were sometimes more representative of the electorate, would surely feel to citizens like an unacceptable loss of democratic rights.

    Voter-led primaries remain unusual in the world.

    One exception was, briefly, France, whose two traditionally dominant parties held primaries for nominations to the 2017 presidential contest.

    Voters in France’s right-wing party, which had been expected to win, chose a scandal-plagued candidate who was friendly with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and who lost. The winner of the left-wing party’s primary went on to take only 6 percent of the national vote.

    “This experiment was seen as an absolute failure,” Dr. Alexandre-Collier said. “It gave priority to the most populist leaders,” she added, as primaries have tended to do across countries.

    Both parties quietly ended the practice, returning candidate selection in France to party officials.

  2. CSK says:

    Rishi Sunak has been chosen as the new British prime minister.

  3. CSK says:

    Ethan Crumbley, the 16-year-old Oxford, Michigan school shooter, has pled guilty to all 24 counts against him.

  4. Kathy says:

    Madam Speaker has this to say about the Benito Jan 6 subpoena:

    “I don’t think his lawyers will want him to show up because he has to testify under oath. We’ll see if he’s man enough to show up,” Pelosi said.

    The second sentence strikes me as sexist, but not wrong. She also calls the Cheeto a liar. Yes, that’s even more self evident than a thunderbolt, but that’s not the point.

  5. CSK says:

    Pelosi was goading Trump on the manliness issue. Didn’t she repeat it twice, just to make sure she got the message across?

  6. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    There are some mistakes in Fisher’s account.
    The Labour Party extended leadership votes beyond MP’s from 1981 on; constituency parties were required to ballot rather from 1989; and unions were required to ballot after IIRC 1993; but operated through an electoral college which was complicated.
    Shifted to pure one member, one vote in 2015.

    Also, I think there are some other parties that elect leaders by internal membership vote.
    CDU in Germany (non binding), Socialist Party in France,

    And UK Conservative local parties don’t usually hold a primary as such, just a vote of a local party meeting, or even just leave it to the local executive committee.

    The big difference between the US and Europe, including the UK, is that the state has no say in how parties select their leaders (except in Germany: for historical reasons, the legal power is assigned to a delegate conference).
    Parties are private associations who manage their own internal affairs.
    There is also no equivalent to the US tradition of being a publicly registered party supporter; explain that to an average Briton or European and watch their jaws bounce off the floor.

    Primaries, if held at all, whether for MPs or leaderships, are strictly for party members, (who generally pay a subscription).
    The big difference this makes is that it is much easier for parties to weed out entryists: e.g. the Labour Party purges of communists and trotskyite militants.
    From what I can see, it is very difficult to impossible for an American party to exclude and discipline supporters.

    One big problem for the Conservatives has been the development of a rather porous boundary between it and UKIP, especially as with the decline in mass memberships, parties can rather over-eager to welcome new members.

  7. Kathy says:

    So, I got done with What If? 2 sooner than I expected. I’ve moved to “Make Room, Make Room” by Harry Harrison, the novel that Soylent Green is based on. Two chapters in, no mention’s been made of Soylent Green, though someone does eat something called Soylent steaks.

  8. Kathy says:

    Random notes.

    The other day when talking about paper books, I was reminded of two books I read in the 80s, which I was stupid enough to give back to the people who loaned them to me when I was done.

    One was an anthology of science fiction stories written by scientists.I forget most of the authors involved, but I think one was by Julian Huxley, a biologist and brother of the author of Brave New World.

    The other was a collection of science fiction stories from Soviet writers. Again, I forget the authors, but I recall three of the stories rather well. Two of them can be seen as anti-American propaganda, too, though one fails to identify the country whose defense department is based at a place called The Polygon (wink!)

  9. Mu Yixiao says:
  10. CSK says:

    Excerpt from Bob Woodward’s audiotapes of Trump:

    Trump: I get people. They come up with ideas. But the ideas are mine, Bob. The ideas are mine.
    Woodward: And then?
    Trump: Want to know something? Everything is mine.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    This will work out as well for China as Putin and his cabal has for Russia.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    A fairly regular topic of discussion here is Dem messaging. Here’s something to chew on from Charlie Sykes, Morning Shots, over at the Bulwark.

    Politico: Pollster Stan Greenberg has some tough advice for Democrats on messaging.

    In memos, private communications and interviews, Greenberg has been imploring the party to — let’s put this bluntly — shut the hell up about all the work it’s done. It’s not that voters don’t care. He says voters actively turn against Democrats when they hear it.

    “It’s our worst performing message,” Greenberg told West Wing Playbook. “I’ve tested it. I did Biden’s exact words, his exact speech. And that’s the test where we lost all of our leads… It said to the voters that this election is about my accomplishments as a leader and not about the challenges you’re experiencing.”

  13. EddieInCA says:

    Every time I think of leaving permanently, something like this bring me back.

    Yes. We have crime.
    Yes. We have homelessness.
    Yes. We have traffic.
    Yes. It’s too hot some months.
    Yes. We don’t have any water.

    But… somehow our economy, with all those liberals, illegal immigrants, gang-bangers, homeless people in the mix, keeps humming along.

  14. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep. Which leaves a huge door open for Republicans to drum in the message that: “Biden hasn’t done anything–we understand your challenges.”

    Which is why all over rural NH there are signs up that read “Protect your wallet–vote Republican” and “Fight inflation–vote Republican.”

    If the number of signs up is any indication, Dems are going to get walloped in NH on Nov. 8. I’m actually becoming a bit alarmed.

  15. CSK says:


    Is it possible Don Bolduc could beat Maggie Hassan?

  16. Jen says:

    @CSK: I don’t think so. The Republican Senate campaign arm has pulled out of NH. I think (?) Sen. Hassan is okay. I do worry that Chris Pappas has more of a race on his hands than he should, but mostly I am worried about the state rep/state senate races.

    We have on the ballot a measure that would allow for a convention to amend the state’s constitution. I’m extremely wary of a situation wherein we end up with overwhelming numbers of Republicans at the state level–many of whom are in reality Libertarians–who would then have an outsized impact on amendments to the state’s constitution.

  17. CSK says:

    They seem to be having trouble finding impartial jurors in the Trump Org. tax evasion trial, because everybody in Manhattan freely admits to hating Donald’s guts.

  18. Jen says:

    Justice Thomas has thrown Sen. Lindsey Graham a temporary lifeline.

    By all appearances the full court will weigh in on this.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    One thing I’ve noticed since coming back here, is that Rs always win the lawn sign election. As far as Pappas is concerned, since Porter beat Bradley the district has flipped each election, except in Prez years. After redistricting the 1st is slightly more R than before, but that won’t be the determining factor. That will be turnout and Dems have an issue with that because a large chunk of Dem voters are in Durham, Dover and Portsmouth and that group tends only to vote in Prez years, so yes Chris could be in trouble. I’ve not seen any recent polling, so who knows.

    On another note, in the second dist, Cook moved that from leans Dem to likely Dem.

    No idea on the state house. Dems should have kept it in 2020, but the dreaded under vote hurt them.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:
  21. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Oh, for sure second district is likely Dem, I think redistricting made it slightly more Democratic, I haven’t been worried about Kuster, just Pappas.

    Signs can be a proxy for voter enthusiasm, and we have neighbors who have never bothered to put signs up who now have Republican state rep signs in their yard. It’s stuff like that, that is concerning to me.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    I’m wondering if anyone else here posts from an iPad and, if so, have they been getting an error message? I’ve been getting it consistently for a few days, but not on my iPhone, Mac or PC.

    I just upgraded to iPad OS 16.1, so we will see if that helps.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: [Posting from my PC] It looks like that comment made it through but gave me the error message (something about a header being too long) and let me continue editing. I added something, posted again and got the same error. But it looks like that one didn’t come through.

  24. Beth says:


    We updated one of those for you:

    I don’t think there are any House remixes of Randy Newman though… Probably for the best.

  25. JohnSF says:

    Latest on the “European energy crisis” that Russia was hoping would collapse the economies of its opponents.
    (And also a focus of many an ultra-MAGA fantasy, should you run across them on social media)

    A sudden MATERIAL oversupply of Gas in Europe.
    Could prices go to 0?
    Fill levels in European gas storages are above 90% and in the major re-gasification hubs of France, Italy and Spain, storages are even closer to 100%

    Also the weather continues to be mild in most of Europe.
    e.g.So far in English Midlands only one slight frost; temperatures in East Anglia expected to be around 20C later this week.

    The issue is that there is an ongoing net injection in to storages still as the temperature level is above normal and with fill levels approaching 100% around Europe, the issue of LNG oversupply is likely going to intensify in the coming 2-3 weeks.

    The weather forecast for 1 Nov still points to >15 degrees celsius across the European continent way above usual averages, which hints that the over-supply will continue another week or two at least

    Continent now has sufficient gas in storage to last three months average winter consumption if there was zero other supply. Not just the Russian overland pipes that are still in use, but also zero North Sea, Romania, LNG from the USA, N. Africa and the Gulf, etc.

    Which is probably a good thing, given the suspicious Russians being caught sneaking around the energy infrastructure.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I often comment on an iPad. Every year or three I get that “header” message. I’ve only ever seen it when commenting on OTB. I have to go to Settings>Safari> scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data. That does what it says. It should clear the fault message but it will also wipe some automatic logins. For a few weeks after I have to manually log in to WAPO, NYT, and some other stuff. And remember that my IT advice is always worth what you paid for it.

  27. CSK says:

    Speaking of losing elections, Tim Miller at the Bulwark has some advice for Democrats:

  28. Mister Bluster says:
  29. Scott says:

    I’m sure they are wanting peace in our times:

    Liberal Democrats call on Biden to shift Ukraine strategy

    More than two dozen liberal House members are calling on President Joe Biden to shift course in his Ukraine strategy and pursue direct diplomacy with Russia to bring the months-long conflict to an end.

    In a letter sent to Biden on Monday, the group of 30 Democrats praise Biden’s efforts to date at supporting Ukraine while avoiding direct US involvement on the ground. But they suggest a more forceful attempt at bringing the war to an end through diplomacy is necessary to prevent a long and slogging conflict.

    “Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we also believe it is in the interests of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict,” the group, led by Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, write in the letter. “For this reason, we urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”

  30. gVOR08 says:

    Much as I hate to risk restarting yesterday’s chicken/egg discussion of words v ideas or something, I have to reply to James. I mentioned GOPs substituting “climate change” for “global warming”. James objected,

    That terminological change was propounded by the scientific community. First, because warming is only one aspect of climate change. Second, because instances of “cooling” was cited by critics to prove “warming” wasn’t happening.


    “They changed the name from “global warming” to “climate change” after the term global warming just wasn’t working (it was too cold)!” (Donald J. Trump)

    Both of the terms in question are used frequently in the scientific literature, because they refer to two different physical phenomena. As the name suggests, ‘global warming’ refers to the long-term trend of a rising average global temperature, which you can see here:
    ‘Climate change’, again as the name suggests, refers to the changes in the global climate which result from the increasing average global temperature. For example, changes in precipitation patterns, increased prevalence of droughts, heat waves, and other extreme weather, etc. These projections of future global precipitation changes from the 2007 IPCC report are an example of climate change: (Having just come through Ian, amen to that.)

    Those who perpetuate the “they changed the name” myth generally suggest two reasons for the supposed terminology change. Either because (i) the planet supposedly stopped warming, and thus the term ‘global warming’ is no longer accurate, or (ii) the term ‘climate change’ is more frightening.

    The first premise is demonstrably wrong, as the first figure above shows the planet is still warming, and is still accumulating heat. Quite simply, global warming has not stopped.

    The second premise is also wrong, as demonstrated by perhaps the only individual to actually advocate changing the term from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’, Republican political strategist Frank Luntz in a controversial memo (linked in the original) advising conservative politicians on communicating about the environment:

    It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation” instead of preservation.

    “Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.

    I’ll stand by my point. Republicans paid effing Frank Luntz to tell them to say “climate change” instead of “global warming”. That they did so is testament to how much power they think words have.

  31. JohnMc says:

    @JohnSF: Commenting on my phone so no link – but several off shore French cables have been severed last few days. Add that to the Faroe Island possible sabotage. Far as I can tell, total silence on the German railroad interruption.

    Worth paying attention to.

  32. reid says:

    @Kathy: That SF by scientists book really rang a, uh, faint bell. I think I owned it back then. Is this it?

    The paperback cover doesn’t look familiar, but Greenberg being the editor sounds like it could be what I’m thinking of. The hardcover one looks more right.

  33. Kathy says:


    I did a quick search earlier today, and ran across other titles with the same subject matter.

    Further search yielded the one I remember.

    It’s amazing that reading the titles, I remembered some of the stories.

    Found it on Amazon, too.

  34. reid says:

    @Kathy: I saw that one, too. Being from the ’60s, it’s not the one I bought. I imagine they’re both interesting books.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: We used the one you read in the SF Literature class I took as an undergrad for physics credit (looooooong story). It was the only work that I read most of the assignments for.

    Some years later, I used The Gostak and the Doshes as part of a lesson that I taught several times about background information, reading, and interpretation in both college and pre-college level writing classes I taught.