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:

    My healthcare brother and his healthcare wife have both tested positive for Covid.

    Happy fucking new year.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hundreds of thousands more US Covid deaths possible amid vaccine chaos

    More than 10,000 people died in the US in the last three days of 2020 alone, to bring the national death toll close to 350,000 so far, including the worst 24-hour toll of the whole pandemic when more than 3,700 people died last Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

    So vaccines are the big hope for fighting the outbreak. But experts are warning that hundreds of thousands more deaths are possible if the inoculation process doesn’t get quickly and solidly on track.

    “Basically, the federal government is botching the vaccine rollout,” said Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s school of public health. “They thought their job ends when the vaccine arrives in the states, and there’s really no well-delineated plan.” He added: “What America is suffering through is the consequence of incompetence in federal leadership – the entire pandemic has been marred by a group of people, not just Donald Trump – who don’t understand how things work and can’t get something to work effectively.”
    If the rollout continues at the current pace, Jha said, it could take “many, many months and years” to fulfill vaccination goals for the nation.

    And if this delay continues for months, it could cause the US to lose “several hundred thousand more people”, he warned.
    “The vaccine looks like it can reduce the risk of … symptomatic Covid,” said Bruce Y Lee, professor at CUNY graduate school of public health and health policy in New York. But he warned: “Every week, two week, three-week delay, while the cases are pushing up further, is costing lives – and especially if we’re talking about healthcare professionals.”

    Misery hasn’t even begun.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    My Bing facepage informs me that today is Isaac Asimov’s 100th Birthday. I thought some of our neighbors here would find that interesting.

    And Ozark, most amazing thoughts and prayer for your brother and sis-in-law. My family is overrun with Doc and Nurses and we know the anxiety of wishing them health.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rex ChapmanHorse racing@RexChapman
    Happy New Year, everyone…

    Hehee, as somebody else said, accurate as fuck.

  5. CSK says:

    Damn. Sorry to hear this.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:



  7. sam says:
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Abby Stein@AbbyChavaStein
    I am speechless (an understatement)!
    This (likely) is the Shofar my great-grandfather smuggled into, and blew in Auschwitz!!!!
    I grew up with this story. He writes about it, but we THOUGHT THE SHOFAR IS LOST.
    The @MJHnews has had it for a while, NOT KNOWING WHO IT BELONGED TO.

    Yesterday, as I visited the @MJHnews in Manhattan, I came across the Shofar, and this is what it says next to it: “We do NOT KNOW by whom, and we do not know who blew it.”
    I felt like I was gonna faint, reading it, and seeing it!!!

    This is what my (maternal) great-grandfather writes about it:
    “Shofar Blowing in Auschwitz: By the great mercy of God and with miracles, I managed to bring in 1 Shofar into the camp. ON ROSH HASHANAH DAY I WENT FROM BLOCK TO BLOCK, WITH THE SHOFAR IN MY HANDS, TO BLOW IT.”

    Here is a bit more of what he writes about that Rosh Hashanah in Auschwitz:
    INCLUDING THE ROSH HASHANAH SERMON HE GAVE IN THE DEAD CAMP. And a story of the last word of 1,400 teens he got to blow Shofar to before they were gassed.
    Will maybe translate later if I have time.

  9. Moosebreath says:


    Ouch! Sorry to hear that.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Immigrant Neighborhoods Shifted Red as the Country Chose Blue

    Across the United States, many areas with large populations of Latinos and residents of Asian descent, including ones with the highest numbers of immigrants, had something in common this election: a surge in turnout and a shift to the right, often a sizable one.

    The pattern was evident in big cities like Chicago and New York, in California and Florida, and along the Texas border with Mexico, according to a New York Times analysis of voting in 28,000 precincts in more than 20 cities.

    Right after the election, I wondered what drove the disparate results in FL & TX v. AZ & CA. One point I noted, was that in AZ & CA, past or current R led state governments had singled out the Latino communities for harsh treatment and that wasn’t the case in FL & TX, plus R’s actively sought Latino support in FL & TX. While in FL a large part of the Latino community came as refugees from places like Cuba, Venezuela etc. Latin American countries that were dictatorships hiding behind proclaimed socialism, making those ripe for attacks on Dems as socialists.

    On its face, the Times analysis of voting patterns should be good news for Rs and a cautious tale for progressive Dems. There is likely truth to the R contention that socially conservative communities of color maybe more comfortable as Rs than Dems, that also should include the reality that most immigrants come to the US for economic opportunity and if Dems are seen as stifling that, we’ll lose those voters as well.

    Except among activists, the whole discussion about Intersectionality maybe lost on the broader community of minority voters who don’t necessarily see their interests and concerns lining up with the interest in concerns of other groups. The Bernie argument that Dems should lead with economic issues is likely correct, as economics is a common concern of all.

    The analysis of this data over the coming years will be interesting and whether Dems adjust their positioning to reflect the new information. Though I suspect, much like the Rs have doubled down on white supremacy after the analysis of Romney’s loss in 2012 recommended the party broaden its outreach, progressive Dems will double down on social justice sloganeering.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry

    One of these puppies could power our community that has about ~12,000 residences and given that it is a resort community about a third are short term rentals or second homes.

    Also saw an article that claimed that there are no bidders for the Arctic Wildlife Refuge drilling leases, with the article speculating that the speed of growth in renewables along with more efficient production from existing wells, makes the finances of exploration and development, daunting.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Sleeping Dog: One of my oldest friends just died of the Covid on the 21st, so I’m not feeling so sanguine about it.

  13. CSK says:

    I don’t blame you. My best wishes to your brother and sil both.

  14. Teve says:


    So if there were 54 Republican Senators and 247 house members right now as there were in 2015 is there a) any reason to believe they would not vote to overturn the results? and b) what would happen then?

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    Understand, this is a horrible time.

  16. Teve says:

    Just canceled NYT and subscribed to WaPo.

  17. Barry says:

    After four years, it’s only on his way out that the GOP found the b*lls to override a Trump veto.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Prediction: by the end of 2021 WaPo will be completely back to bothsiderism and “Republicans say up is down. Some Democrats disagree”.

  19. CSK says:

    The Trump Fan Club refers to the Post and the Times as “the WaPoo” and the “NYSlimes.”

  20. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve read NYT for 25+ years and there are many things I love about it. But their idiot political editors are soaked in Both Sides much worse than WaPo lately. I’ve taken opinions on this for weeks. I’ll try them for a year. If I weren’t currently jobless and cautious with cash I’d have them both.

  21. Teve says:


    As the sun sets on the 1st day the year, may we begin ‘21 with 2020 hindsight and insight towards a meaningful blessed year: stronger, healthier, better, more meaningful and more joy!


    As the sun sets on the a one term presidency yes we will be stronger, healthier and we will have an honest broker in the White House. Good riddance to 2020 and the worst President ever.

  22. Teve says:

    Policies supported by Democrats are often treated in the press as “extreme,” even if they’re supported by a majority of the country.

    In the battle for the Supreme Court, media call Republican hypocrisy savvy while treating Democrats as extremists

  23. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m so sorry. Hoping they recover well.

  24. Monala says:

    Another Republican politician has died of Covid, this time VA state Senator Ben Chafin.

  25. gVOR08 says:


    But their (NYT) idiot political editors are soaked in Both Sides much worse than WaPo lately.

    True. I struggle to understand NYT. They profess to be struggling to understand what they got wrong in 2016 (while scrupulously avoiding any mea culpas over HER EMAILS!!!). My best theory is that they see themselves as the voice of the Eastern Establishment (“socially liberal and fiscally conservative”, i.e., conservative) and they’re unable or unwilling to see the extent to which the Establishment really has screwed up and screwed over most of the country. They don’t want to call Trump voters racist and they can’t admit they have legit grievances, so to them it’s a puzzle. But apparently their business model is working, so what do I know?

  26. Teve says:

    @Monala: when that news broke Parler went frantic with hypotheses about how Democrats are murdering Republicans with the virus. There’s no other possible explanation.

  27. Teve says:


    They don’t want to call Trump voters racist and they can’t admit they have legit grievances,

    ok, your first ‘they’ is probably NYT, but who are the second and third ‘they’s?

  28. gVOR08 says:


    Another Republican politician has died of COVID, this time VA state Senator Ben Chafin.

    Harking back to James post of a day or two ago, how dare you dance on the grave to politicize the unfortunate man’s death? /s

  29. CSK says:

    Is there any word yet on why Steven Brandenburg deliberately left the Covid vaccine out to be rendered useless? He’s admitted he did it knowingly, but not what his “reasoning” was for so doing.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Sorry, NYT and Trump voters respectively. People have been screwed over by our establishment. Endless, pointless, wars. Recessions. Gross wealth disparity and lack of opportunity. Lousy health care. Opioid addiction for profit. Mismanagement of a pandemic. Trump voters, and the rest of us, have legitimate beefs. How voting for a lying sack of spit Manhattan “billionaire” fixes any of that escapes me, but they do have legit grievances against the Establishment. And I don’t think NYT wants to admit it. But I’m open to other explanations for NYT’s pathology.

  31. Teve says:

    @CSK: not yet

  32. CSK says:

    Thanks. I looked, but I thought I might not have looked hard enough.

  33. Stormy Dragon says:


    The police say he has admitted that left the vaccine out to become ineffective and then injected people with it, because he wanted people who thought they were vaccinated to get COVID19 and make people think the vaccine didn’t work.

  34. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I generally stand firmly against stringing people up by their thumbs, but in this case I’m persuadable.

  35. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Sweet Jesus. Why did he want people to think the vaccine doesn’t work?

  36. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that’s insane. The numbers would be too small to work.

  37. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Where did you find this? Everything I’m looking at says Brandenburg’s motive is still unknown.

  38. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I hope for the best for your brother and sister-in-law.
    @Sleeping Dog: The large turbines sound great but I noticed the authors lightly skimmed their use in areas of “rough weather.” What do you think would happen to one of these in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Eastern Seaboard?

  39. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: I read it today on the NPR news site.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Given that there are multiple wind farms in the North Sea, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, I suspect they’d be just fine off the East Coast and the Gulf. Their are preliminary discussions about a wind farm off the town I live in to replace the local nuke plant that’s 40+ years old.

    I’m not an engineer, but I would expect that would be in the design criteria.

  41. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    Yes I read the same piece (I think) as you, in which Brandenburg is quoted as saying that he knew people would think they were vaccinated when in fact they weren’t, but that doesn’t tell me why he did this. Did he want people to get sick and possibly die? What?

  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    Ted Cruz and Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).

    To oppose Biden’s election certification.

  43. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I hope they become common I was just curious how they can stand up to a hurricane. Maybe they can be locked in place with two arms acting like aircraft wings and the other parallel to the support post which can rotate into the wind.

  44. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: Ah, I see what you meant. Maybe he’ll say at some point but I imagine it only makes sense to himself.

  45. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    You’d think that if he had some history of screwing up prescriptions, deliberately or inadvertently, he’d have been caught before this.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ow! Sorry to hear that. I wish them a full and speedy recovery.

  47. Monala says:

    @Teve: Yet another Republican has died, PA State Rep Mike Reese, at 42 of a brain aneurysm. He tested positive for Covid last month, and Covid does cause vascular issues. It’s unknown at this point whether his aneurysm is related to Covid.

  48. JohnSF says:

    My best wishes for them.

  49. Stormy Dragon says:


    Where did you find this? Everything I’m looking at says Brandenburg’s motive is still unknown.

    Rogue Pharmacist Arrested After 57 People Get Compromised Vaccine

    In a press release, Grafton Police said the pharmacist “intentionally removed the vaccines from the refrigerated storage and left them to sit out overnight, rendering about 570 doses of the vaccine ‘useless’ according to health officials.” The former employee is said to have told investigators that he “knew the spoiled vaccinations would be useless and that people who received the vaccinations would think they had been vaccinated against the virus when in fact they were not.”

  50. Teve says:

    Lotta people on Parler excited about murdering us Libs in a new Civil War.

    Clearly Libs like myself need to empathize and relate to them more.

  51. Mikey says:

    @Teve: Those fools don’t know this particular lib is a military qualified expert marksman on both rifle and pistol, along with considerable experience on several different personal and crew-served weapons.

    I’m also a marathon runner, so maybe they can run, but I can run longer, although looking at most of them I’d wager the furthest they run is to the fridge to get a beer.

  52. Teve says:

    @Mikey: i missed rifle marksman by one goddam point! And I just left the gym. I think I’ll be ok against Meal Team Six. 😛

  53. Teve says:


    i don’t see you understand this as anything other than the republican party making “Democrats are not allowed to win elections and hold power” its official position

    the fact that it will be a “hard” vote for a republican lawmaker to acknowledge the results of the election is just a sign that we are counting down the days until a Democrat wins the presidency with a GOP congress in control and that Congress just tosses out the results

  54. flat earth luddite says:


    I’d wager the furthest they run is to the fridge to get a beer.

    That let’s us know where to set up the sniper blinds, eh?
    Although as I commented a couple of days ago about the Proud Boys, I suspect they’re all going to be really, really surprised when they roll into ANY inner city USA and discover themselves , outmanned, outgunned, and generally on the losing end… again.

  55. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I know. Mr. Prosser and I talked about that above. But why? Why did he do it?

    I know what result he wanted. But why? Was he an anti-vaxxer? Psychotic? Evil? What?

  56. Michael Cain says:

    Boston Dynamics’ newest robots dancing. Fourteen years and a couple of weeks ago, Honda’s little humanoid robot screwed up walking slowly up a small set of steps at a press conference.

  57. Mr. Prosser says:

    @flat earth luddite: We’ll all be up against the Elite Stroke Force.

  58. JohnSf says:

    @Michael Cain:
    I still have a weird idea re. public transport a.k.a mass transit.
    If you’ve ever tried to travel a long distance by train with luggage the real b@tch is when you want to transfer between e.g. Euston and St. Pancras in London, or between Gare du Nord and Gare du Lyon and hump you luggage along.

    Take a look at a railway station photographs from the Victorian era; in a lot you may see large numbers of porters and carriages to handle the luggage of (wealthier) passengers.

    If robotics/AV’s plus standardised “mini-containers” could handle luggage, it could make mass transit a lot more convenient than it is now relative to automobiles.

  59. Gustopher says:

    I watched the most recent episode of Star Trek Discovery, and just wanted to share two things:

    1. Michael Burnam did not make the same exact mistake she has made over and over and over again. I would say that it was character growth, but it really just seemed out of character.

    2. There was an excellent line about someone else: “There may be more to her than she appears to be, but she is also exactly who she appear to be.”

    Also watched the New Years Special for Doctor Who, and it was very mediocre. Which I think made it one of the best outings for the Jodie Wittaker Doctor — she has not been well served by the writers.

    I kind of miss the Christmas specials, when they would awkwardly and painfully shoehorn in as much Christmas stuff as possible — murderous Santas, Christmas Trees Of Doom, angels throwing their halos to decapitate people, etc. I get the desire to be a bit more inclusive, but couldn’t they achieve the same goals by making other pseudo-religious traditions into preposterous weapons? Menorah battles, and maybe a sound weapon based off the islamic call to prayer? Explore the planets that Mormons are supposed to get when they die? At least highlight the simple truth that Hanukkah is a celebration of miraculous fuel efficiency?

    Ok, that sounds offensive and terrible when applied to non-dominant religions. But, isn’t that more reason to call the Christmas Special (often featuring the Doctor committing genocide) inclusive? We can all point and laugh at Christmas symbolism being twisted like this.

  60. Teve says:


    One thing right-wing aligned dictators learned in the last decade how to hack democracies and install rightwing dictatorships in all but name. They did it in Hungary, Russia and Poland.

    And they’re doing it here in America, too. /1

    In most cases it involves a combination of stacking courts and rigging the constitution until you functionally can’t lose elections as long as you hold onto an older rural religious authoritarian base. /2

    In America it looks like using existing apartheid iniquities in the Senate and electoral college, and then multiplying those injustices by devolving presidential elections to statehouses that are themselves rigged by gerrymandering. /3

    The end result will be that rural white religious conservatives will never be able to lose no matter how badly they are outnumbered, and the more they win the more they can stack the courts to keep it that way. /4

    Stopping this would take major constitutional reforms. And that’s functionally impossible.

    On the other hand, millennials and GenZ aren’t going to take all of this lying down. So…

    Bumpy road ahead, and I don’t see how the system survives like this. /end

  61. Gustopher says:

    YouTube’s algorithms have decided that what I want to see next is fun, catchy songs with ridiculous over-the-top moments. It’s wonderful. I look up an exercise for my bad knee, and then watch twenty minutes of videos with songs about how “I just came to the party for the drugs (drugs) drugs (drugs) drugs (drugs)”, or how “I’m sorry you have to have a body”, or “Space Girl, I saw a lunar eclipse, looked like how I feel about your lips”.

    A little research has shown that there are songs beloved by the Tik Tok Teens.

    Are these being recommended to everyone, everywhere, or has Youtube somehow decided a 50 year old man looking up physical therapy videos for 50 year old man problems is obviously a 15 year old who spends their days on Tik Tok?

    I’m not complaining, I’m just confused. And I want to share.

    There are so many bad YouTube recommendation spirals to fall down. I am delighted that YouTube picked this one for me.

  62. Teve says:

    “Fascism has indeed come to America, and, as once predicted, it is wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    -Steve Schmidt

  63. Teve says:

    Appeals court just told Gohmert to get lost.

    I changed my sentence to ‘lost’ to be family friendly.

  64. CSK says:

    Why? All the little kids have probably been tucked in bed by now.

  65. Teve says:

    @CSK: i was just funnin’.

    Anyway the funny thing is, The appeals court basically said, the lower court took the same position as the Department of Justice and we agree.

  66. Mikey says:


    The die is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th in much the same way the Whig party was destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The act unraveled the Missouri compromise and allowed for the westward expansion of slavery. 1/
    The party could not survive its factionalism. There could be no more accommodation, compromise and partnership between pro-slavery and anti-slavery Whigs. A new political party was born, the Republican Party. That party will divide into irreconcilable factions on January 6th. 2/
    The 6th will commence a political civil war inside the GOP. The autocratic side will roll over the pro-democracy remnant of the GOP like the Wehrmacht did the Belgian Army in 1940. The ‘22 GOP primary season will be a blood letting. The 6th will be a loyalty test. The purge 3/
    will follow. Does anybody doubt the outcome of the @IvankaTrump vs. @marcorubio primary in Florida? Anyone willing to make a bet on @robportman? It turns out JFK was right. The problem of trying to ride the tiger is the likelihood of winding up inside the tiger. The poisonous 4/
    Fruit from four years of collaboration and complicity with Trumps insanity, illiberalism and incompetence are ready for harvest. It will kill the GOP because it’s Pro Democracy faction and Autocratic factions can no more exist together then could the Whig Party hold together 5/
    The abolitionist with the Slave master. It won’t happen over night but the destination is clear. The Conservative party in America is dead. It may continue to bear the name “Republican” but it will be no such thing. Fascism has indeed come to America and as was once predicted 6
    It is wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. This movement must be defeated. It cannot be appeased, accommodated or negotiated with. It must be recognized for what it is and we must all recognize the new age of American politics it has wrought. It has reset the debate 7/
    Entirely. There are only two sides in American politics now. There is the American side and the Autocratic side. May God help us all if we falter, flag or fail in defense of American democracy. 8

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I didn’t get it either, but the Space Girl group had really good balance between the lead and back up singers considering that I didn’t see any mics for the back ups. WA!

    The third link wouldn’t let me in because I don’t have a Google account. What kind of trash are you linking up to on the intertubes?

  68. Teve says:


    That thing that is brewing for Jan 6 is so asinine and craven and un-American that I’m too angry to tweet about it.