Leap Day Forum

Because people like to talk, even on the weekend.

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. Kit says:

    What do people think of the idea that the next election will be a poisoned chalice: Deep recession, divided Congress, punishing mid-terms? If a Democrat is president, Republicans will rediscover fiscal responsibility, meaning budget cuts and absolutely no stimulus, meaning a deeper recession meaning a greater red wave. The second half of such a president’s term will dissolve into a phantasmagoria of investigations and impeachments. An older incumbent will probably be looking well past the recommended sell-by date. A younger incumbent will probably be looking discredited.

    Legislation being impossible, the President will be limited to building back up the sand castle of government, which the red wave of 2024 will wash away.

    Too pessimistic?

  2. Teve says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: That’s one possibility.
    @Teve: It was worrisome before he was elected.

  4. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: watch that video of him talking gibberish for 1 min 45 s.

  5. Teve says:


    How sad it must be believing that scientists, scholars, historians, economists & journalists have devoted their entire lives to deceiving you, while a real estate conman & reality tv host w yrs of known frauds & endless documented lies is your only beacon of truth and honesty.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Nope. Will not do that.
    Life is way too short.
    I already have too many endangered brain cells.
    I lean to depression anyway, why risk suicide?

    I have more reasons not to, but those 3 ought to suffice.

    @Teve: That pretty well sums it up.

  7. mattbernius says:

    For a bit of light reading, Paul Poast, a University of Chicago International Relations Profession, created a comprehensive thread on Covid and it’s international relations implications. It’s pretty amazing and resists excerpting (especially because it curates a lot of other twitter threads).

    I will share his conclusions, but highly recommend starting with the unroll I made of it:

    In sum:

    — we’ve seen this before

    — governments need to make it a security issue in order to adequately respond

    — governments will likely use a “security framing” to take extreme actions.

    — it *could* shift global power relations


  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    If we slip into a recession, we’ll be in somewhat uncharted waters. The typical recession is caused by a drop in demand. The usual tools to combat that are to lower interest rates and for the Federal government to flood the economy with money, either through tax decreases, increased spending or both.

    The cause of this potential recession will be a disruption of the supply chain leading to the drop in spending. The NYT this AM reported that Amazon is running out of certain products and that home builders are experiencing delays and shortages of building materials. Left to play out the rules of supply and demand will result in increasing prices for items that are in short supply and we can expect any attempt to prod demand will result not in increased supply, but higher prices.

    Eventually supply chain will adjust and the typical tools will work, but this could be a long ugly recession.

  9. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Krugman has a piece up about how this would be both a supply and demand recession.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    They’re calling it a tiny statue for a tiny man. Given Iowa congressman Steve King’s pitiful history of racist and xenophobic comments, it may not be small enough.

    The statue, placed in front of the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines, is the work of the comedy duo Davram Stiefler and Jason Selvig, known as The Good Liars.

    “This site is dedicated to Confederate sympathizer and White Nationalist, Steve King,” reads the plaque underneath the statue, which is indeed especially small. “Here, King is honored with the world’s smallest Confederate statue.”
    “We’re just saying we should respect our ancestry and our heritage and – like it or not – Steve King’s racism is part of our heritage and we need to respect that.”
    Selvig pointed out that it would be hypocritical for the statue to be removed, seeing as so many Republicans have argued against removing other Confederate monuments.

    “They are the last ones fighting for the Confederacy, to keep its memory alive. So they deserve their own Confederate monuments, all of them,” added Selvig – in a hint that there will be more statues to come.

  11. Scott says:

    Early voted on Thursday in Bexar County, Texas. One interesting observation I had was ballot order. In Texas, ballot order is determined by random drawing by county, so each county will have a different ballot order. I know there have been studies on the effect of ballot order on voting patterns but here is another twist: The voting machine we use in Bexar County (San Antonio) had just so many places per screen for candidates. Now I voted Democratic this time (we have open voting and the state doesn’t register you by party) and there were 17 candidates for President. It just so happened that two major candidates (Biden and Buttigieg) were on the bottom of the second screen. Klobucher and Warren were 1 and 4 on the first screen. Since each county is different maybe the effect washes out across the state. But you got to wonder.

    Being the First Name on the Ballot Has a Huge Effect

  12. Kingdaddy says:
  13. Kingdaddy says:

    Please release my innocuous post from spam filter limbo.

  14. @Guarneri: Yes, what about 2009? Let’s talk about 2009 instead of 2020 (even though the comparison makes little sense).

    Side note: I caught that flu in 2010. It was no fun.

  15. @Guarneri: BTW: I am assuming that much of that is a cut and paste. Could you please provide links and use formating that makes clear what are your words and what are the words of others?

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    That’s how I see it playing out.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    So your point is that Obama, who you despise, was incompetent. Which justifies greater incompetence by your cult leader?

    It’s that kind of thinking that always leaves me wondering: Is Drew a liar or a moron?

  18. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s that kind of thinking that always leaves me wondering: Is Drew a liar or a moron?

    ¿Porque no los dos?

  19. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “As we suspect, the Chinese government tried to keep the virus outbreak secret – for what reason we don’t know. ”

    I don’t know what whacko site you’re cutting and pasting from, but, yeah, we pretty much do know. It’s because of a culture in which the messenger is generally blamed for bad news, so that local officials at every level down had an incentive to hide the problem from their superiors and hope it just went away.

    But you keep posting your little Q conspiracy bullshit insinuations, if they make you happy. It’s not like you will ever persuade anyone over the age of four… and no responsible parent will let you around their children.

  20. mattbernius says:
  21. @Michael Reynolds: I was thinking this morning that a real test of how deep into the personality cult people are (or, how terrible their media diet is) will be if they can stick with Trump over COVID-19.

    And here we are with Guarneri.

  22. @Michael Reynolds: BTW, can you imagine how our titan of finance would be howling if Obama was in office right now and the Dow had had multiple -1000 days?

    (And for the record: I don’t blame Trump for the DJIA numbers, although I do think he has helped make an unavoidable situation worse than it would have been).

  23. @mattbernius: Thanks for Googling so I don’t have to.

    TBH, I am not sure, despite all his swagger, that he knows how to use all the tools at his disposal, because he never formats his comments and almost never provides links.

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    Trump Whitehouse wants to invoke the Defense Production Act of 1950 on medical device manufactuers:

    Exclusive: U.S. mulls using sweeping powers to ramp up production of coronavirus protective gear

    This would allow the government to:
    1. dictate prices and wages for the companies involved and their suppliers
    2. force them to sign contracts on who they sell to
    3. replace their internal supervisors with government employees
    4. require government approval for all company capital investments
    5. require government approval for employees of said companies to leave their jobs

    But you know, voting for Bernie Sanders would be socialism!

  25. Teve says:


    The Republican Party lost its fucking mind when Obama released 5 decrepit Taliban guys to get US Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl back home. Now Trump cuts a deal to release 5000 Taliban prisoners.

  26. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    TBH, I am not sure, despite all his swagger, that he knows how to use all the tools at his disposal, because he never formats his comments and almost never provides links.

    Maybe he is using WebTV.

  27. Kathy says:

    Hell week went into overtime.

    I really can’t recall all the details, but the earliest I left the office this week was 10:30 PM. I don’t think I’ve manged as much as six hours sleep in any one day, and I know it was like only four between Thursday and Friday.

    And still I’m at the office on Saturday, because there was plenty of work to finish.

    But it gets worse. there’s also plenty of non-job-description related work, like petty cash reimbursements, and , wrose, entering supplier invoices into the accounting system. IMO, we’re doing part of accounting’s job, but management says otherwise.

    Why? too many projects too close together, including four which required samples. Samples are the bane of our work life existence. They have to be just right, just that the idiot client wants. Samples of meats and dairy are easy, because it can all be in bulk. fruits and vegetables vary, as sometimes they want samples of fruits that are out of season.

    But dry and packaged goods are a nightmare. Invariably the client demands a product that no longer exists. Like tuna cans with 170 gr (discontinued in 2011), safflower oil in one liter bottles (one brand left, and only in 946 ml bottles), assorted cookies in 715 gr. boxes (discontinued in 2008, replaced by 620 gr.; discontinued in 2014, replaced by 522 gr.; discontinued in 2017, replaced by 436 gr.). You get the idea.

    And if one sample is not “right,” out your proposal goes.

    Samples come in two varieties: institutions and social programs. the former can include up to 250 different products, about 120 packaged goods. The latter only 15 to 40 products, but typically they ask for like 5 to 10 of each (thirty to forty in the case of fortified cookies). Social programs, too, require bespoke products, like oat and cranberry cookies fortified with vitamins, or corn meal with a higher protein content, or mixes of dried fruits and nuts. These are directed at preventing malnutrition in children and poor people. they’re given out in school breakfast programs, and as assistance to poor families, ergo all the fortified products and copious amounts of staples like rice, beans, pasta, corn meal, and milk. Meat in such assistance packages used to be tuna and sardines only, but lately some are adding cooked chicken or beef in 500 gr and 1 kg. pouches, as they keep at room temperature for months (unopened).

    These programs are hugely lucrative for food distributors, which is why we compete for many of them. you have to deliver in literally dozens of places, but the volumes are huge.

    Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be best to invest in local infrastructure and give poor people money directly.

  28. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “He who lives by the Dow Jones Index, without understanding what it is, shall perish by the Dow Jones Index.” Kathy, Feb. 29th, 2020.

  29. Mu Yixiao says:

    Apparently the United States only has 48 states.

    At least according to (nearly) all the results I get on Google for “Blank US map with counties”.

    One of the VPs at work has asked me to create some presentation materials for him regarding sales territories for our products (we sell through reps who sell through dealers). Reps contract for specific territories by county (or “entire state”). So I need a blank map of the US showing all the counties–in high enough resolution to look good on one of the 70-inch monitors they have in the conference rooms (I am so envious! I want one!).

    The problem? None of the high-res maps include Alaska or Hawaii. And probably 90% of the low-res ones leave them out. How in the nine hells do you leave out two entire states?? Especially when one of them is over 1/5 the size of the contiguous 48.

    If anyone can provide a link to a high-res, blank map of all 50 states with county boundaries, I will be eternally (or until the Tuesday after next) grateful. Bonus points (and a healthy supply of local adult beverages, should we ever meet) if it includes Canada with provincial borders.

    (I’m thinking that Iowa and New Hampshire should be kicked back to Super Tuesday and Alaska should hold the FitN primary. Let’s see how candidates hold up in Alaska in January. That should weed out the weakest of the bunch.)

    And now there’s a bottle of scotch asking for my attention.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:



    And I say that as someone who’s dealt with analogous situations. I spent a year at a place where a standard week was 5½ days, and every 4th week was 100-120 hours.

  31. CSK says:

    Joseph Coulonbe, founder of Trader Joe’s, has died at age 89. The first TJ’s was started 52 years ago in Calfornia. Coulombe said his demographic was “the over-educated and underpaid.”

  32. CSK says:

    Joseph Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe’s, has died at age 89. The first TJ’s was started 52 years ago in California. Coulombe said his demographic was “the overeducated and underpaid.”

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Freeman Dyson has just died.

    Last time I saw/heard him speak was at the ISDC conference in 2018. Met him much earlier, back in the 1980s when visiting IAS.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    February is Black History Month

    I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.
    Jackie Robinson

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yes, here we are with Guarneri. Funny how that works.

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m willing to ascribe Guarneri’s failure to bad faith rather than issues with technology, but I’m not as good a human being as you are either. 😉

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: 🙂 😀 😛

  37. EddieInCA says:

    South Carolina turned out to be a bigger win for Biden than expected.

    He beat Bernie by 31 points.
    He beat Warren by 45 points.
    After Biden and Bernie, Steyer and Buttegeig ran third and forth.
    Tom Steyer will drop out tonight. Amy, Pete, and Elizabeth should as well.

    The moderates got 70% plus of the vote. The left got less than 25%.

    As for the delegate count, this will pull Biden within 10-12 delegates overall, with Buttegeigs still having 24, Klobauchar 7, and Warren with 8.

  38. CSK says:

    Sanders held a rally (I’m beginning to hate that word for its Trump associations) on Boston Common today and drew over 10,000 people.

  39. EddieInCA says:


    That should help him in Massachusetts. Didn’t help for SC.

  40. EddieInCA says:

    One in four South Carolina supporters of Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders won’t pledge to vote for the party’s nominee in the 2020 general election, early results from the NBC News Exit Poll of primary voters show.


  41. CSK says:

    Tom Stever threw in the towel tonight.

  42. CSK says:

    No, it didn’t help Sanders in So. Carolina. But I figured he assumed S.C. was a lost cause anyway.

  43. EddieInCA says:


    Tom Stever threw in the towel tonight

    The others should follow him out. Dropping out AFTER Tuesday is a bad move. Bernie and Biden are the only two who have a path.

  44. Mister Bluster says:
  45. CSK says:

    It’s interesting, because according to ABC, anyway, Steyer came in third after Biden and Sanders, and Warren placed fifth behind Buttigieg. But there’s been no word from her about suspending her campaign.

    Rock and a hard place for Warren. Is it more crushing to drop out before you lose the state you represent in the senate, or run there and lose?