Sunday’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:

    If DeSantis or someone else bests TFG in the 24 R primary, he could have an in place landing spot heading the Libertarian ticket.

    How the Libertarian Party Became the Reactionary Arm of Trump and Trumpism

    Even among ideological libertarians, the Libertarian Party has long been viewed with a mix of disdain and embarrassment. To the degree anybody else is aware of the LP, it’s from the 2016 presidential campaign of former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, whose poll numbers briefly broke into the low double digits before collapsing to a desultory 3.3%. Other than that, the party has languished for five decades, usually getting 1% or less of the vote for president every four years and electing only a tiny smattering of local officials around the country.

    But the LP’s lack of electoral relevance does not mean that its recent takeover by a reactionary and populist faction is a politically inconsequential event. The party’s core active membership is in the low five figures, somewhere between the Proud Boys and the Democratic Socialists of America. It has a decent organizational infrastructure with a chapter in every state and in many local precincts too. And it has a history of mobilizing resources in a targeted fashion to pass ballot initiatives and organize protests.

    If it decides, for example, to aid election subversion efforts in 2024, it could turn out people in support of Jan. 6-style rallies or worse around the country. This is not a far-fetched possibility given that the new national leadership either minimizes or sympathizes with Jan. 6 rioters, and several state party chapters have made statements in support of the riot.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To the surprise of absolutely no one,

    The Secret Service’s account about how text messages from the day before and the day of the Capitol attack were erased has shifted several times, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security told the House January 6 select committee at a briefing on Friday. At one point, the explanation from the Secret Service for the lost texts was because of software upgrades, the inspector general told the panel, while at another point, the explanation was because of device replacements.

    The inspector general also said that though the secret service opted to have his office do a review of the agency’s response to the Capitol attack in lieu of conducting after-action reports, it then stonewalled the review by slow-walking production of materials.

    After the inspector general raised his complaints, he then discussed the feasibility of reconstructing the texts. But the issues so alarmed the select committee that the panel moved hours later to subpoena the Secret Service, according to participants at the briefing.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘He could be a good president’: is Tucker Carlson the next Donald Trump?

    No, I didn’t read it. I have only so many brain cells left and I’m not about to waste them on such delusional drivel.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Interesting article, and here’s a section that could have been written with Stephen in mind:

    How did this happen? Why would a party that found its greatest success in offering a sensible classical liberal alternative to Trump’s GOP end up being taken over by Trumpists and worse?

    There are two reasons:

    The first is the party’s unique structure, an oversimplified emulation of how the Republicans and Democrats operated over 200 years ago, which made it highly susceptible to hostile takeovers, as I explained here. For example, the party’s national delegates are selected at state conventions that are attended by a small number of highly motivated members willing to spend money out of pocket to show up for a weekend at a local Marriott. They generally don’t represent the views of the vast majority of members or libertarian donors, let alone libertarian voters. But just because they show up, their votes on key LP matters carry the day. This means that it was not at all hard for a group like the Mises Caucus to gin up resources to flood state conventions with its members and select national delegates who could then vote in LP officeholders sympathetic to its views.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “The results of our investigation … are disturbing … revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant – and rapidly growing – amount of carbon emissions,” the letter states. “It is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts.”
    The lawmakers solicited information from seven of the largest US cryptomining companies, including Stronghold, Greenidge, Bit Digital, Bitfury, Riot, BitDeer and Marathon, about their energy sources and consumption and the climate impacts of their operations. The data revealed that the industry is using a substantial amount of electricity, ramping up production and creating significant carbon emissions at a time when the US needs to drastically reduce emissions to combat the climate crisis.

    Emissions data from three companies, Bit Digital, Greenidge and Stronghold, indicated their operations create 1.6m tons of CO2 annually, an amount produced by nearly 360,000 cars. Their environmental impact is significant despite industry claims about clean energy use and climate commitments, the lawmakers wrote.

    “Bitcoin miners are using huge quantities of electricity that could be used for other priority end uses that contribute to our electrification and climate goals, such as replacing home furnaces with heat pumps,” the letter states.

    “The current energy use of cryptomining is resulting in large amounts of carbon emissions and other adverse air quality impacts, as well as impacts to the electric grid.”

  6. MarkedMan says:

    I saw a headline last night about Steve Bannon’s contempt trial and it occurred to me that if there ever a Trump insider who turns on him, supplying real evidence, Bannon would be a likely candidate. He’s a bomb thrower, but also a venal man, constantly on the lookout for a chance to grift. He also strikes me as someone who might be willing to spend a few months or even a year in jail, but if it ever looks like serious time he will cut a deal in a heartbeat.

  7. CSK says:

    Well, I read it. I liked this quote from a fan: “He’s got the biggest cable show in America right now. I’d definitely vote for him.”

    What a superb qualification.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: You are a braver soul than I.

  9. CSK says:

    I feel it incumbent on me to keep an eye on the nitwits.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Thank Dawg for that, now I don’t have to.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Elephant and baby saved in dramatic rescue from manhole in Thailand

    Veterinarians and park staff have pulled off a dramatic rescue of a pair of elephants in Thailand that involved the use of a boom lift, a digger and the resuscitation of an unconscious mother by three people.

    The rescue took place in the pouring rain in central Nakhon Nayok province on Wednesday when a one-year-old elephant fell into a roadside drainage hole. The distressed mother stood guard over her calf, according to national park staff, but also fell in shortly after she was sedated.

    Rescuers used a truck-mounted boom lift to pull the mother out before climbing on top of her to perform simultaneous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a digger cleared away earth so the anxious calf could climb out from the slippery mud.

    The calf began suckling its mother, who soon regained consciousness, and both returned immediately to the wild.
    Chananya said it was “one of the most memorable rescues we’ve done”.

    I would guess so. It’s gonna be hard to top that one.

  13. CSK says:

    At your service.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    Balloon Juice quotes a Vanity Fair piece on Val Demings, the Black, female, ex-police chief running to replace Marco (Water Bottle) Rubio as FL senator.

    Her handling of the case is what her husband, Jerry, a former Orlando police chief, believes caught the attention of the national Democratic Party, because afterward, the couple was invited to D.C. to meet with its leaders, including then Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Jerry told me the meeting felt like recruitment for future party leaders. He sensed they were “somewhat strategic in identifying the talent to replace them. They want authentic individuals who have intellectual abilities, the charisma to be able to do the job. And because I mean, they are all 80-plus years old, so they got to fold it soon.”…

    Maybe the party elders, and I do mean elder, are doing something about the future of the party besides holding onto power with their fingernails. And maybe parties can exercise some level of control over who wears their label if they want to.

    The Balloon Juice post is headed with a picture of Demings on her Harley visiting small towns in FL.

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: The Mises Caucus? Should we be looking for JKB to “suddenly” discover his inner Libertarian at some point in the near future?

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And yet, one of our American ideals is that every citizen is entitled to vote and that methods to ascertain that any given citizen has the necessary facility to vote intelligently/wisely/sanely/whatever are anathema to our system.

    [CRT Trigger Warning!!!]

    Of course, I also understand how our resistance to voter qualifications–both past and present–have been come by honestly because of how our local and state governments have tilted the playing field against specific groups. It’s a knotty problem.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve remarked before how all organizations, liberal, conservative, or apolitical, inevitably attract people who set themselves up as the purity police. These self appointed watchdogs are primarily executing a dominance play over people within the group, taking a low risk but highly aggressive tactic of “Enforcer of the Rules”. How can you challenge someone who is enforcing the rules? Doesn’t that make you a transgressor, an outcast, a fair weather friend? If these individuals proliferate or gain too much power, they will suck the joy out of social or religious groups, and neuter cause based groups.

    Earlier today, I was trying to remember the name of the comedian who played George HW Bush so effectively on SNL (Dana Carvey) and inevitably found myself tooling around on the inter-tubes. I came across this skit of Carvey’s church lady, and realized it was the perfect example of the purity police. Plus, having served my 12 in Catholic schools, I can confirm he absolutely nails the mannerisms and dress of the real church ladies I met. (Fortunately, there were very few of them.)

  18. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    As Mr Jinks almost said, “I hate Mises to pieces!”

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Libertarians: never were so few so sure, yet so completely wrong about everything…

  20. JohnSF says:

    Interesting how the meaning of libertarian has changed over the years (and across the seas).
    I was re-reading The Oxford History of Britain yesterday, and in the foreword, written by Kenneth Morgan in 1983, there’s the following:

    “The Levellers, Daniel Defoe, William Cobbett, William Morris, R.H. Tawney, George Orwell, all in their time emerged as passionate libertarian opponents of the social inequalities and political imbalance of their day.”

    I know which libertarians I prefer.

  21. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    This reminds me of what one of the few women writers on the early Saturday Night Live said about the qualifications for the women on staff: “The guys had to be able to spell ‘cat’ and we had to say when the Edict of Nantes was revoked.”

  22. Tony W says:

    On the topic of “What are the police for, anyway?”

    The timeline is the stuff of nightmares.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    Kevin Drum is railing about the dearth of information about Monkeypox. How many people have active cases in which countries? How many deaths? How many people have been vaccinated? He is sorta kinda blaming the CDC or other Feds for his inability to call up the information via Google.

    Welcome to the pre-COVID world for every disease. Virtually every advanced country set up special, massive, and expensive reporting and tracking systems for COVID. For all other diseases these systems are normally much smaller. Further, what information they produce, while not deliberately withheld from the general public, has never been targeted to us. Prior to COVID the people that accessed the CDC information were most likely state and local health department officials that had accounts and are used to entering information and statistics as well as looking for alerts and data.

    I’ve found that 90% of “The FDA/CDC/Biden Administration is really screwing this up” is just the disorientation of the general public suddenly being exposed to the actual early stages of a disease response. The reason the Feds don’t give clearer, more precise guidance is because there isn’t clearer and more precise consensus at the the moment.

    One other factor is that very few people understand the difference between a public health campaign and a piece of personal health advice. Using masks as an example, there is good evidence that nurses, doctors and other hospital workers were protected form COVID contagion by the protocols they followed, including wearing an N95 or better mask. As far as I know there is no strong evidence that the public campaign of mask wearing moved the needle at all. So – personal safety advice? Religiously wearing an N95 mask is almost certain to reduce your likelihood of catching COVID. But a Public Health campaign is a different thing, and is predicated predominantly on whether something will actually work with the general public, not whether it is technically true. And a health agency knows they only have the ability to initiate a small number of public health campaigns. If any given campaign is not going to be effective, you can’t use your ‘allowance’ up for it.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Tony W: Whoa. And the police spokesman: “We did everything right. It’s not our fault the woman died, despite the fact that at least a half dozen people called us over a 12 hour period that she was being attacked.” Uvalde-lite.

  25. Tony W says:

    @MarkedMan: When I saw that they didn’t discover her body until the next morning, I was dumbfounded.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    I just received a campaign flyer for my local Sarasota area FL state senate race. It describes candidate Michael Johnson as a “Trump sycophant” and “MAGA radical” who will indulge in “Islamaphobia, petty grudges, election denial, and fearmongering and limiting COVID-19 vaccine access”. “Sarasota can’t afford to be hit by MAGA Michael Johnson!” It has a picture of Johnson in a MAGA hat. This mailer follows one showing Johnson in a MAGA hat with a clown nose. Seems pretty blunt.

    These ads were paid for by the REPUBLICAN Party of Florida, which is chaired by one Joe Gruters. Johnson is running in the GOP primary against the incumbent, guess who, Joe Gruters. Gruters is a hardcore Trumper, organized three busloads of attendees at the 1/6 rally, and is endorsed by Trump. The ads have been selectively mailed to Democrats in the district. As there is no Democrat in the race, under FL law Ds can vote on the GOPs for this office. And indeed, my “official primary election ballot, Democratic Party” absentee, mail in or drop in a dreaded drop box, ballot lists Gruters and Johnson. Gruters is trying to discourage Ds from voting against him.

    Johnson is running over some inside the GOP grudge against Gruters. He doesn’t even live in the district. (I’d explain how that works if I had any idea.) I don’t know if Gruters is doing this to reciprocate the grudge, because he has money to spare, because he’d be embarrassed by votes against him, or whether he has some fear he could lose. Whatever, I think I’ll accept his judgement and vote against him. OK, there’s a risk Johnson could win. But that’s like Trump/DeSantis. Of two MAGAt assholes, I’d prefer the incompetent. I also think I’ll send a letter to my local semi-pro newspaper to let the GOPs see what GOPs are saying about each other.

  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @gVOR08: Early ads have looked good… Some theme of ‘Send a Cop to Washington…’

    I think she still has an uphill battle to take down Rubio. Their MAY have been enough Southern Migration here to offset the Cuban voting block but I don’t think so…yet.

    She’s playing the only card she has to win by putting boots on the ground outside of the Tourist areas of Florida where Republicans are unchallenged. These aren’t high population centers…but there’s a butt ton of these Counties that are R+30 and up. Democrats live in these areas but largely don’t vote because no one engages them.

    Theyve been orphaned by the Party

  28. gVOR08 says:


    This reminds me of what one of the few women writers on the early Saturday Night Live said about the qualifications for the women on staff: “The guys had to be able to spell ‘cat’ and we had to say when the Edict of Nantes was revoked.”

    Serendipity. I have Ghostbusters on the TV. The 2016, funnier, female version. They did the bit where Chris Hemsworth is applying for the dumb secretary job. He asks if he could bring “my cat” to work, it has anxiety issues. Melissa McCarthy says she has a bad cat allergy. He replies that “my cat” is a dog. “You call your dog my cat?”, “That’s his name. Mike Hat.” “Mike Hat?” “For short, it’s really Michael Hat.”

  29. de stijl says:

    I watched Fargo on a whim earlier for probably the 47th time.

    I had a new insight.

    Minnesota Nice. It is nice and pleasant and comforting if you are in with the in crowd. A comfy blanket.

    If you get your dander up and blatantly disagree with someone in public it is a huge fucking deal.

    Social interactions are expected to be sociable and not unpleasant or jarring or confrontational and everyone is nice and behaves properly and remembers the rules.

    Being unintentionally rude is really, really bad and you must apologize profusely and immediately. Being intentionally rude is “you could be banned from the community for this behavior”. It almost never happens, but the threat is there always. Everyone pretends it didn’t really happen and agrees to ignore it.

    It is extraordinarily maddening and very sane. Confrontation is very passive-aggressive. Breaking up with a romantic partner is incredibly convoluted and deeply painful. Been there on both sides. Ouch.

    The rules aren’t written. Yet you are expected to abide by them. You pick them up by osmosis. I hate your stinking guts and hope you die, but you say “I have to go now. Have a great day.” You don’t mean it but you say it. You say it in a way that subtly conveys your vast displeasure at the whole interaction.

    Everything is very subtly conveyed. The words you say are as much a screen and a distraction as they are a true measure of what you feel. You learn double-speak at an early age.

    Newcomers are rightfully confused. “Why is everyone so fucking nice to me all the time? It’s fucking creepy.”

  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    Human beings aren’t loyal to abstract philosophical principles, only to other people. Anyone who describes themselves as an “ideological X-ist” either doesn’t understand their motivations or is being dishonest.

    “Libertarians” break down into several groups:
    1. “Hipster” Republicans – They vote Republican in every election, but can’t bear to call themselves a Republican, so they pretend to be a Libertarian so they can be special
    2. Haute Bourgeois – They’ve been wildly successful in life and are resentful that this means they’re expected to help the rest of society
    3. The iconoclast – They’re just against everything and claiming to be a Libertarian means they’ll never have to be for anything and just forever be on the sidelines throwing spitballs
    4. The militant – When they say the government is too big, what they mean is that it’s big enough to deter them from using violence to force their neighbors to comply with their whims

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tony W:

    At that point, dispatch records show the call was upgraded to a higher priority, and officers started staging at a parking lot nearby. About 45 minutes later, they arrived at Connie’s condo and knocked on the door.

    I’m not sure why, but I’m wondering if these are officers who ended up in San Diego because they couldn’t get hired at Uvalde. Yikes!

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I disagree. Not Uvalde-lite because San Diego is purportedly a significant-sized American city whereas Uvalde is essentially a rural farming/vacation destination community. We should expect more from a “metro” police department.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think you just about got it. Just add, “5. People who think “Atlas Shrugged” was brilliant and well written, to boot!”

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The number of people describing themselves as libertarian went up a lot late in the second Bush the Lesser administration. It became uncool to be Republican, but of course they couldn’t be Democrats, that’s for the little people, so libertarian became an escape hatch.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    Christ. It’s being reported the new Uvalde report says there were nearly 400 cops on the scene before anyone actually did anything. Someone on Twitter mentioned “jet ski pay”, that a cop who responds to an emergency call gets overtime, even if he just hangs around. Sounds to me like the lack of organization goes way beyond the Uvalde school district cops.