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. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Wa! Do I really get the first comment today? I have nothing to say. How sad. 🙁

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I have nothing to say.

    That’s a welcome change of pace. 😉

    (you opened the door, I just walked thru it)

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Your most intelligent post in a year? 🙂 🙂

    There’s a line at the door.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Interesting Bulwark piece yesterday.

    Share on Twitter Share via email Print
    There is so much agreement in America right now.

    If you remove the extremes on the left and right who have been blinded by bias and hatred, you will find most of Americans agree about the basics:

    We believe hard work and innovation should be rewarded.
    We believe everyone should play by the same rules, that the same laws should apply to all, regardless of race, religion, or background.
    We believe in opportunity, that everyone should have a fair shot to earn a sustainable living for themselves and their family. And that working Americans have not received that fair shot for a generation.
    We believe in laws and stability and want a competent, fair, and just legal system with enforcement that protects us all equally and is deserving of our respect.
    We believe in the right to hold opposing views.
    We believe in borders around our country and in a lawful, regulated, and humane immigration system.
    We believe that children from every community should have access to quality education.
    We believe the stain of slavery and racism has not been lifted from America, in spite of the great progress that’s been made.
    We believe affordable healthcare should be available to every American, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and that prescription drugs are too expensive.
    We believe in preserving our oceans, land, and skies for future generations.
    We may disagree on the extent or degree of some of the above, but the overwhelming majority of us hold these values to be self-evident.

    The main issues Americans are ideologically divided on?:

    Whether abortion should be a government-funded right. (But even on this issue, Americans are in agreement that it should remain legal with restrictions.)
    To what extent the rights of LGBTQ people are more or less important than the rights of those whose religions oppose such practices.

    He goes on to identify those who are fostering the divisiveness.

  5. Bill says:

    My search for a headline of the day has been fruitless so far. I have work that needs to be done, so I doubt I am post any today.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Interesting article. But in identifying those responsible it seems to ignore religious conservatives and their TV and mega church pastors and significantly understates the role of Republicans who have nothing else to run on.

  7. Bill says:
  8. KM says:

    WTF? Now the MAGAts are pushing oleander to fight COVID? That’s toxic AF. I know the extract has some limited, specific medical uses but otherwise it’s straight up poison. In fact, it’s a well-known method of murder back in the day and has a storied use in fiction (Agatha Christie for the olds, NCIS for the yute). Even a quick google of oleanderin bring us the word TOXIC in every damn entry.

    I mean, I know most MAGAts aren’t the brightest lightbulbs in the shed. But my god, they are literally encouraging people to ingest a historical method of murder based on nothing but internet conspiracies. They really are a death cult and at this point are trying to see how much they can profit off their idiot followers before they croak.

  9. CSK says:

    In Anya Seton’s Dragonwyck, the male lead/villain murders his wife by topping her “tipsy cake” with ground oleander leaves.

  10. Kathy says:

    Trump the One Termer has been saying very nice things about his late brother. So, I wonder, how much did Robert Leave Donald in his will?

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Trump the One Termer has been saying very nice things about how his late brother said only nice things about trump.


  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    Simply fewer votes for the Former Reality Show Host in Nov.

  13. Jax says:

    The leaves are starting to turn on the trees in our yard. It’s given me a sense of impending doom, with school supposed to be starting next week in town. How many people will get sick or possibly die before they realize it’s not a hoax?

    My kids aren’t going. We’re all signed up with a virtual school.

  14. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Florida company manipulated accounting department’s numbers, pays $16,800 in back pay

    A couple of quick observations

    1- There seems to be one of these stories (An employer not properly paying their employees) in the Miami Herald at least every other month.

    2- The company trying to rip off its own accountants. I’d think that wouldn’t add up to a smart move. Don’t pardon my pun.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: The same with my granddaughter, being administered by the mother of a friend of hers, 3 girls total. She’ll get some face to face interaction with friends w/o having to enter a covid colony.

  16. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog :
    Much like with COVID, if they were only killing themselves with their stupidity, I’d be fine with it. However innocents are going to die because of this. How many QAnon parents are going to dose their kids with oleander leaves because they can’t get the extract and the plants just outside? I mean, we had people drinking fish tanker cleaner earlier because it was “close enough” to hydroxychloroquine – what’s to stop people from going “I don’t need to buy the extract when I can just use the leaves!!” ?

    How many are going to die because someone in their family believed a stupid internet rumor and Trump? How many are going to ingest poison and never know it because someone with power over them decided it was a good idea? I know several people at OTB really dislike the cult framework because it doesn’t help understand them politically but come on – this is practically textbook. Convince your followers of a problem only you can solve, give them a harmful or likely fatal “cure” and see who takes it. Political movements tend to avoid killing members for obvious reasons, cults kill their own as a matter of doing business…. and as always, its the innocents dragged into this that will suffer the most.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: As an old buddy of mine likes to say, “You can fuck with your employees, but your employees can fuck you.”

  18. CSK says:

    Robert never worked for Donald again after Donald blamed Robert for the fact that the slot machines jammed at the Taj Mahal casino.

    That’s wonderful.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    Autumn, then winter is coming. The air changed here in northern New England over the weekend, less humid and a note of crispness. Last Monday it was muggy and in the mid 70’s by this time of day, today it is mid 60’s.

    The second wave will come, likely in Oct-Nov.

  20. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    At least one thing I would add to the list of issues dividing us is, “Does preserving our oceans, lands, and skies require that we stop burning fossil fuels soon?” Because sure, everyone is in favor of the environment as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. An aggressive schedule for getting off of fossil fuels is going to be painful.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    I understand what you are saying, but frankly I’ve become hardened to these morons. There are too many people in the world struggling to get by in the world and are attempting to do the right things for themselves and their families to waste concern on those living out a Darwinian nightmare.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Agreed, he glossed over or ignored several differences. On abortion, while a strong majority want it legal, it is often a tertiary issue, while for those who want it stopped it is the only issue. That intensifies the conflict. So it is more than, does government pay for it.

  23. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain:

    At least one thing I would add to the list of issues dividing us is, “Does preserving our oceans, lands, and skies require that we stop burning fossil fuels soon?” Because sure, everyone is in favor of the environment as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. An aggressive schedule for getting off of fossil fuels is going to be painful.

    i have zero expectation that humans will do anything significant to diminish global warming. Hell, half of Americans are still pretending it doesn’t exist.

  24. Kathy says:


    Technology is getting there. Renewables are priced competitively with fossil fuels. If people got over the fear of nuclear fission, we could build more nuclear plants and further reduce emissions. Electric cars are almost as good as gas cars.

    Aviation presents a different problem. You can build an electric airplane, but not one that flies at Mach 0.85 and carries hundreds of passengers.

    No idea what the situation is with ocean travel and shipping.

    So maybe we’ll get by, half-assed and stumbling along the way, as is usual for H. Sapiens

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain: True enough, but I don’t think the Bulwark wants to go very far down that path. People keep telling me that the U. S. Republican Party is the only party wordwide that denies AGW. Much of the rest of the world was OK with the Paris Accords. There is massive denial of AGW because the Koch Bros, Exxon, and others spent a pile of money convincing people it isn’t real. You think maybe James Inhofe’s donors and lobbyists have something to do with his feigned ignorance? Then Trump, FOX, et al made it a conservative loyalty test.

    Some things just happen. Some things flow from institutional design and demographics and external events. And some things are made to happen by people who have applied tons of money and all the tools of commercial persuasion to making them happen. Bulwark probably depends on some of the same money sources.

  26. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The second wave will come, likely in Oct-Nov.

    As a number of infectious disease experts are pointing out, coincident with start of the regular flu season.

  27. Teve says:

    Why nuclear power will never supply the world’s energy needs .

    Long story short, in order to just replace our current electricity use with nuclear power, we’d have to build 15,000 new nuclear power plants, at a cost of $150 trillion. Then we would have to commission and decommission a plant every day, indefinitely. Also we’d have a major radioactive accident approximately once per month.

  28. Michael Cain says:


    Electric cars are almost as good as gas cars.

    Most of the time. Suburban Americans (more than 50% of the population) are accustomed to buying cars that match their 5% most extreme needs: the 500-mile single-day drive to grandma’s, the few trips with seven people, the rare occasions when they have actual sizeable cargo to move, the days they have to go to work in 30 cm of snow or -30 °C temperatures. We as a society are not eager to accept buying vehicles for the 95% of trips that small electric cars are ideal for and renting/hiring to handle the 5% cases.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    Tweet of the day
    THREAD: Postal Service policy changes are taking a toll on military veterans, whose mail-order medications are delayed. Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve heard:

    Florida: Vietnam combat vet ordered COPD prescription 10 days ago and was told it’ll “probably” arrive around September 9

    — Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 16, 2020


    The Former Reality Show Host’s postal service rat-f#cking can comeback to bite him.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Sleeping Dog: Well Done!!!! Still, I see you must have all slept in today. Lacking an outrage to fulminate about earlier, I bring this one now.
    (You can begin the comments about how I don’t even know what an outrage is shortly. 😉 )

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t think we are going to stop or even significantly delay AGW. The fixation on rising sea levels isn’t the issue – that’s a near death sentence for Bangladesh and some Pacific Island nations, but really just an expensive engineering problem for the developed world. The concerns are agriculture and aquaculture. This is IMO about food. Food is the reason for mass migrations, and mass migrations spawn wars. Not so much a problem for the US but scary for Europe.

    Internally though it may put a lot of pressure on our political system. What happens if Iowa is too hot for corn? What happens if California’s eternal drought strangles agriculture in the Inland Empire? What happens if the ocean becomes unstable and fisheries migrate away from us?

    Our pathetic response to a disease requiring nothing more than a cloth mask to defeat it, is not encouraging.

  32. Michael Cain says:


    If people got over the fear of nuclear fission, we could build more nuclear plants and further reduce emissions.

    New nuclear is effectively a non-starter in the American West for two reasons. (1) The bad experiences the region has had with other things nuclear. Voters hear about Hanford or INL or leaks from WIPP and don’t care that it wasn’t commercial nuclear power, they simply become opposed to all things nuclear. (2) Cooling water. One of the biggest hurdles faced by anyone building a new thermal power plant in the West is acquiring rights to enough water to use in the cooling portion of the generation loop.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    In case you had any doubts…

    “There hasn’t been a coherent GOP policy on anything for almost five years now,” a senior aide to a conservative Senate Republican told me. “Other than judges, I don’t think you can point to any united policy priorities.”

  34. Kathy says:


    Yes, but we’ll also never meet all our energy requirements with only solar, or wind, or natural gas, or hydroelectric dams, or any one source of energy.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain: Markets are useful because they adapt. Years ago I saw predictions Hertz and Avis sort of people would set up “relay stations” near the major beltway/interstate junctions. You drive there in your city car and pick up an SUV or light truck or whatever with enough range for your vacation. Perhaps it has a battery pack you swap out at another relay station, or a hybrid with enough of a hydrogen engine to maintain cruise and trickle a charge to the battery.

    The bitch isn’t having a vehicle for the one time a year you buy plywood (from people who deliver). It’s getting past the marketing driven need for a macho vehicle.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I can understand that. Those 5% of times when an electric car won’t serve, often have few alternatives. And if there is little notice on most or even some of such times, the alternatives can get expensive.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: Wait!!!! I thought opening the schools was going to be a good idea because all the kids needed stuff to do and wouldn’t get sick.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: And alas, the answer to those people who are living on islands that rising oceans are swallowing up will be that if they had planned where they were born more carefully…

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    There aren’t a lot of cars more macho than a Tesla S Class. One of those will blow right past my Mercedes. We looked very carefully at e-cars during our most recent car-buying experience, sincerely hoping one would make sense. But aside from the Tesla S, none did. The cheap Teslas have crappy interiors. The non-Tesla e-cars are either tiny or have very limited ranges. There’s a big Jaguar e-car with good range, but reading reviews the posted range turned out to be largely bullshit, and Jaguar’s never been known for reliability.

    Give me a luxury convertible e-car that can do LA to SF in a single day, and I’m all set to change over. But that car does not yet exist. My wife wants a small luxury SUV that can do the same and that car also does not exist. It’s not just consumers being stupid luddites, we’re happy to change, but the market has not yet met our needs.

  40. CSK says:

    Jacinta Ardern has postponed the New Zealand elections for a month because of a new outbreak of Covid-19.

    Will this inspire Trump to try to do the same?

  41. Kathy says:

    On a lighter topic, I came across a hack for cooking an omelet. I was very skeptical, but figured I could fix things if ti didn’t work, but it did work.

    1) Heat a small pan (it has to be small) to medium heat (along with oil or butter if you’re using any).

    2) Take the pan off the heat and wait 20 seconds

    3) Pour two beaten eggs and keep watch as they set, about 45 seconds.

    4) Tilt the pan 45 degrees and begin to roll the omelet with a spatula.

    5) Tilt further as needed until the omelet is rolled or folded to your liking.

    I did it twice over the weekend, even adding a filling* and whisking the eggs in the pan, and it worked both times.

    I usually make scrambled eggs because I like mixing them with something and eating them on a wheat tortilla with a little melted cheese, but this hack opens up for omelets rather nicely.

    *This time sliced cocktail wieners fried with onions.

  42. Kathy says:


    Will this inspire Trump to try to do the same?

    It will inspire him to whine that Ardern can do this and he cannot.

    But New Zealand law allows for postponing the election, so there’s nothing unseemly about doing so if there is a good enough reason.

    BTW, I’m impressed Ardern, and it seems her country, are taking a “small” COVID-19 outbreak seriously. It started last week with four confirmed caes, and has climbed by now to 65 cases or so. Auckland is locked down and the rest of the country is on a higher level of alert.

  43. CSK says:

    Try leftover cooked spinach and a bit of cheese as a filling next time.

  44. CSK says:

    That was my thought: If Trump finds out about this, he’ll whine and whine about doing it as well, because he’s threatened it before–more than once.

    He’s also claimed that the Constitution empowers him to do anything he wants, hasn’t he?

  45. Kathy says:


    Sometimes I’ll add raw spinach to salads, but I don’t think I’ve ever cooked any.

    One time I poured leftover chili on the cooked eggs. it was ok.

  46. CSK says:

    Oh, you’re missing a real treat. Baby spinach gently sautéed/steamed (in butter or olive oil) in a covered frying pan is wonderful.

  47. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Before the pandemic I had a chance to ride around with my son’s girlfriend in her new Nissan Leaf. She bought it with the biggest battery pack and biggest motor they’ve ever put in it. It doesn’t meet your distance requirement, but would be more than adequate for anything I do regularly. It was a Sunday and out behind a little industrial park where there was a nice straight empty quarter mile strip she put it in sport mode and punched it. 0-60 time was impressive. The strangest thing is the silence. The second strangest thing is that after 45 minutes running around in it, when we popped the hood there was nothing that was more than warm to the touch.

    We’re moving in a couple months. The garage at the new place already has 220V service. In a couple more years I may see if I can swap our old cars and some cash for a used Leaf.

  48. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Give me a luxury convertible e-car that can do LA to SF in a single day, and I’m all set to change over. But that car does not yet exist. My wife wants a small luxury SUV that can do the same and that car also does not exist. It’s not just consumers being stupid luddites, we’re happy to change, but the market has not yet met our needs.

    In the last 8 weeks, I’ve driven LAX-ABQ-LAX, LAX-PHX-LAX, LAX-SLC-MSO-BOI-SLC. That’s driving, not flying. If I could do any of those drives in an E-Car, I’d be there, but none can right now. I’m looking for hybrid as the next car to replace the Cayenne. Porsche just came out with a hybrid Cayenne, but no way I’m dropping $100k on a car, even if I could afford it, which I can’t.

    Been looking at the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Anyone have an thoughts on it?

  49. Sleeping Dog says:

    We considered an EV for my wife’s next car, but will pass. Range isn’t an issue and we have gasser for trips, she could find something she likes and in our current home, wiring a charger up isn’t an issue as we have a garage and a spare 220v/40A circuit. But we’re thinking about downsizing and who know where we’ll end up beyond a condo or townhouse and there is no guarantee that we could have a charger installed. She’ll get another civic.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    When it’s a week before school was scheduled to open and the school boards still haven’t decided whether they can oppose der Strumpfenfuhrer

    you may live in Red State America.

  51. flat earth luddite says:

    As reported in today’s The Guardian, Merica is not alone in failing basic galactic standards for intelligent lifeforms, or at least failing the standard testing:

    Health officials in the Canadian city of Toronto have warned that as many as 550 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus at a downtown strip club after an employee tested positive for the virus.

    The potential exposure took place just days after the Brass Rail Tavern, one of the city’s best-known strip clubs, was allowed to reopen. The employee worked four shifts in early August, the city said in a statement, without detailing the capacity in which the employee worked.

    Health officials said they had reached out to the clients that had left their details in the establishment’s contact tracing log, urging them to monitor for any symptoms of Covid-19. Public health experts, however, questioned how many patrons would have handed over legitimate contact information.

  52. Kathy says:

    I’m trying to wrap my head around the COVID-19 math, not an easy thing to do.

    Mexico has about 520,000 cases, with over 52,000 deaths. That’s an astonishing mortality rate of almost 11% for confirmed cases.

    Partly this reflects the paltry testing (under 1.25 million tests through the whole pandemic). Pretty much almost only those with symptoms get tested. This means there ought to be many more asymptomatic cases, plus milder cases, just walking around spreading the virus. That makes more sense to em than the official explanation about a high percentage of comorbidity conditions, or the unofficial opposition one condemning the quality of care in government sector hospitals.

    There was a report earlier this month of 30,000 excess deaths not accounted for by COVID-19 deaths. Some may be due to undiagnosed COVID-19 cases. So suppose 25,000 of those are COVID-19 cases.

    The US has a mortality case rate of about 3% for confirmed cases (that’s really high for a widespread infectious disease BTW). So assuming a similar rate and 77,000 or so deaths, this gives a case total of 2.5 million, or about five times the official count.

    I would prefer a very high mortality case rate, because the odds of catching COVID-19 are directly proportional to the number of contagious people moving around a community. Of course, not all 2.5 million are in the Mexico City metro area, but the larger portion of them are bound to be.

    Now, some have undoubtedly recovered, but who knows how many.

    Back around late April, when official case counts had yet to break 100 thousand, health authorities said their model was to multiply the number of confirmed cases by 8. They stopped saying that shortly afterwards. So it may be far higher.

    And this is one reason we should be testing extensively.

    Seriously, it’s not just Donald “The Loser” Trump who is f***g up the response to the pandemic. It’s his imitators, fanboys, and wannabes as well.

  53. Kathy says:

    This is interesting. Groups in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Argentina are developing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in horses for use in human patients, much as convalescent plasma is used as a treatment.

    This seems odd, but that’s how antivenom for snake, spider, scorpion, and other types of poisonous animal bites are made. So we know the use of horse-produced antibodies in humans is safe.

    The plasma is separated from the blood cells, then the antibodies are extracted and purified. The method is tried and true.

    This is not a cure, but it might aid COVID-19 patients to recover faster, or keep the disease from turning deadly. Results from the first clinical trials are expected by late September.

  54. Teve says:

    Will Wheaton:

    I know I’m on this a lot today, but I’m just so fed up with the tiny-brained idiots who are suddenly anti-USPS, just because their cult leader is vomiting lies about it every chance he gets.

    I keep seeing some version of “this doesn’t affect me directly, so I don’t care about it” and I want to scream. The selfishness and absence of empathy that is common to Trumpublicans is sickening. My son gets his medication through USPS. He’s been unable to take it for almost three weeks, because it’s delayed. His quality of life is substantially affected, because of a politically-motivated attack on an American institution that is enshrined in our Constitution (so weird how right wing dick biscuits are REALLY into the Constitution right up until the moment it conflicts with whatever outrageous, antidemocratic scheme they’re into at the moment).

    An attack on the USPS is an attack on AMERICA and AMERICANS. Turmp and the Trumpublicans are attacking America and attacking our democratic republic, because they know they can not win an election fairly.

    It isn’t complicated, and the people who aren’t outraged by this are so stupid, they should not be allowed around sharp objects, or so venal they have no principles, and simply care about their overwhelmingly unpopular team.

  55. Jax says:

    @Teve: Everything he said, x 1,000.

    Also…..Dick Biscuits. ROFLMAO!!!

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Food is the reason for mass migrations, and mass migrations spawn wars. Not so much a problem for the US but scary for Europe.

    Not a problem for the US? Have you heard about the crop failures and drought in Central America over the past few years. Have you seen the caravans of migrants looking for a better life because they can no longer support themselves on the land in the Honduras?

    Did you notice that we barely elected a proto-fascist in 2016? One who leads a party that doesn’t believe in Climate Change, and stokes racial hatreds to get elected. That’s a great feedback loop there, by the way.

    It’s very much a problem for the US.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    @Kathy: I hope they let us know if they do that. Horse is not safe for me at all because of allergies. Since people with allergies can keep themselves away from horses and we don’t (usually) eat them, we don’t get immunized for horse.

    The last vaccine that I know of that was made from horse was smallpox.