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. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Defense of Ukraine

    Ukraine government organization
    In the past week, the #UAarmy received thousands of tons of ammunition as a gift from the Armed Forces of Please note that we do not accept gifts from murderers, torturers, looters, or rapists. In the coming days, we will return everything, right down to the last shell.

    As David Simon said, “Strong Twitter game to match everything else.”

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:


    You won’t believe it, but Russian ambassador to UN called for UNSC extraordinary meeting to discuss Ukraine’s “illegal takeover of Russian arms and techniques in Kharkiv province.”

    I hadn’t heard this, wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true.

  3. Kathy says:

    The power’s back on!

    This experience left me wondering how people passed the time at home in the past. They must have been bored out of their minds.

    It also gave a bit of empathy with those who hated lockdowns.

    I had plans for the weekend the blackout ruined. I was going to cook, and write. I couldn’t because there was no water and no PC. I did manage to resurrect the work PC, but not to get Word to work (long tedious story involving the Office365 account and updates; turns out it’s impossible to update without WiFi). I could read files, but not modify them. I couldn’t download a Word alternative (there are a few compatible ones).

    Well, it was just one day, and it’s in the past (fingers crossed).

    Today I need to do some grocery shopping, and then off to the office to get the work laptop up to speed.

  4. Mister Bluster says:

    They must have been bored out of their minds.

    I have often wondered what the pioneers did as they crossed the fruited plains in their covered wagons without their cellphones.

  5. CSK says:

    This is how Martha’s Vineyard reacted to the migrants:

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: This experience left me wondering how people passed the time at home in the past. They must have been bored out of their minds.

    How far back in the past are you talking about? Which class of people definitely bears on it too.

    There was a time when everything we used we had to make and they were made in the down time around the fire or hearth. Need a spoon? You carved it. Arrows for the hunt? You made them. Fishing hooks? Them too. Need rope or twine? Get busy. Hoe needs a new handle? Yep. Harness needs repairing? Grab a needle.

    More recently, my wife remembers her grandfather mending his fishing nets, and repairing his boat. My grandfather worked 12 hr days at the steel mill while grandma was always baking bread and canning stuff and keeping track of 10 kids.

    If one was better off and had candles to burn, they spent their down time reading. If you weren’t, you told stories. Oral histories were passed down every day.

    I suspect boredom is a more recent malady as most people just didn’t have time for it.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I spent two years living in a one room flat when I was in the Peace Corps, in a village without electricity or running water. I read a lot, wrote hundreds of letters (and was lucky to have the foresight to ask my correspondents to keep them and give them back to me when I got back, rather than toss them in the trash after they read them). I spent more time cooking, and taking care of my things, and visiting my neighbors. My schedule became very regular and I got proper amounts of sleep every night. I don’t remember being bored. Hot, yes, so hot, all the time. But not bored.

  8. Just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: They worried about what they would do when their provisions ran out and/or their clothes wore down to rags.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Here’s how FOX covered the story,
    Yesterday’s story was similar, wealthy liberals didn’t open their homes.

    I see people saying DeSantis stunt failed. It only fails if the MAGAts he’s pandering to find out the truth about it, and they won’t.

  10. Kathy says:


    One reason I’d love to have a time machine, is to see how the average people lived in ancient times.


    “I find that hard to believe” 😉

  11. MarkedMan says:


    I find that hard to believe

    Which part? That I wasn’t bored? I can’t conclusively say I wasn’t bored, just that I don’t remember being bored. It’s been 32 years though…

  12. Michael Cain says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I have often wondered what the pioneers did as they crossed the fruited plains in their covered wagons without their cellphones.

    Walked. A lot. Often barefoot. Horses and oxen can only pull so much. Water, provisions, and equipment for homesteading are all more important than people, so the people largely walked. Imagine being an eight year old, arriving in Oregon, after walking something over 2,000 miles.

    Scavenge for fuel for fires (across the Great Plains, bison dung). Scout for where to camp next. Find/catch anything edible — a nest of eggs is a days’ worth of protein and extends the supply of provisions. If you killed a bison (or deer or elk), dress it, preserve what you could, and catch back up to the wagons that didn’t stop.

  13. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha:..rags

    Thank’s guys. Even though I watched I Wagon Train and Rawhide back in the ’50s when I was in grade school I had no idea life could be so rough.

  14. Skookum says:

    Our Internet was out for about three days recently. A reminder of how dependent society has become on electronic communications.

    I, too, thought of my youth–no TV, no radio, few neighbors.

    But we visited frequently with the neighbors we had. Read books galore. Played games. Livestock that needed tending. Swimming. Cooking. Gardening. Handcrafts and sewing. School. And such marvelous conversations about life and politics. What I would give to live in such paradise again.

  15. CSK says:

    The only wealthy and famous person I know of who lives on Martha’s Vineyard year round is Carly Simon.

  16. Skookum says:

    @Skookum: We also put on family plays. Went on drives and had frequent spur-of-the-moment picnics. Music (piano, guitar). Christmas caroling. Celebrated every holiday, even minor ones.

    Must close so I can do something online. Ha ha ha!

  17. Skookum says:

    Wish I seen this during the discussions over that last couple of days about those libs who don’t care about immigration unless its to score political points. The link feature isn’t showing so I’m just pasting the URL.

    New model to enlist regular Americans to resettle refugees

  18. Kathy says:


    It’s like when people say they enjoy math, or understand quantum mechanics, or like fantasy, or like loud noise they claim is music. I don’t think they are lying or mistaken, I just find it hard to believe.

  19. Skookum says:

    This article reminded me of the ugly times when Russia invaded our social media in the 2010s. I ended many friendships after friends re-posted Russian propaganda that was unpatriotic and ugly, e. g., showing a graphic of Putin and saying he was a real leader compared to Obama, horrible photoshopped graphics of Michelle Obama.

    It unmasked a hatred in these people’ that I could never have dreamed of–and forever changed my relationship with them. Even if I remained friends to avoid drama, I tuned them out emotionally.

    How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step

  20. Kurtz says:


    One reason I’d love to have a time machine, is to see how the average people lived in ancient times.

    I’ve often thought about that, as well. I think it could be cool if there was a significant trend in cinema to do period pieces about regular ass people rather than palace intrigue of inbred royal courts.

  21. CSK says:


    The studios would tell you there’s no “story” there. No high concept.

  22. Beth says:


    or like loud noise they claim is music.

    I went to a rave in an old warehouse in an industrial part of Chinatown last night. The Lyft driver was scared to leave us. It was old school Detroit techno. It was amazing. The DJ kept layering songs, building tension, then teasing us, then building more tension and then exploding everything. It was hypnotic and loud enough to rattle every cell in my body*. I had been having a bad day and a bad week and the sound just boiled away all the negative feelings and stress. I love it.

    *I made a conscious choice to use hearing protection when I started going to raves. My hearing was already shot from my youth but these have been a goddess send. The music sounds better and I don’t wake up the next day with a screaming ear ache.

  23. DK says:

    New York Times: “Majority of Latino Voters Out of G.O.P.’s Reach, New Poll Shows”

    …Republican dreams of a major realignment of Latino voters drawn to G.O.P. stances on crime and social issues have failed to materialize, according to a new poll by The New York Times and Siena College.

    The poll — one of the largest nonpartisan surveys of Latino voters since the 2020 election — found that Democrats had maintained a grip on the majority of Latino voters, driven in part by women and the belief that Democrats remained the party of the working class. Overall, Hispanic voters are more likely to agree with Democrats on many issues — immigration, gun policy, climate. They are also more likely to see Republicans as the party of the elite and as holding extreme views (emphasis mine). And a majority of Hispanic voters, 56 percent, plan to vote for Democrats this fall, compared with 32 percent for Republicans.

    Hmm. I was assured LatinX tweets and student debt relief would doom Democrats forever with voters of Hispanic descent.

    What happened?

  24. JohnSF says:

    Is DeSantis primarily concerned with revving up the headbangers for primary votes for presidential run?
    Then probably a “win”.
    But in terms of the general election?
    More doubtful; also for R.s generally perhaps in Nov., but the amazing lack of party discipline among US politicians is a given, I suppose.
    And what about his governorship re-election?
    Will this cause him damage there?
    Is he now so committed t the White House run he’s willing to write of some damage to his Florida vote?

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    Next graf:

    But the survey also shows worrying signs for the future of the Democratic message. Despite that comfortable lead, the poll finds Democrats faring far worse than they did in the years before the 2020 election. Younger male Hispanic voters, especially those in the South, appear to be drifting away from the party, a shift that is propelled by deep economic concerns. Weaknesses in the South and among rural voters could stand in the way of crucial wins in Texas and Florida in this year’s midterms.

  26. DK says:

    Writeups on the same poll…

    Bloomberg: “Biden’s Approval Hits 45% in NBC Poll Showing Gain for Democrats”

    The Hill: “Trump’s favorability rating drops to new low: poll”

    NBC News: “Poll: Abortion, Trump boost midterm prospects for Democrats”

    Democrats have pulled even with Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections, fueled by six-in-10 voters who disapprove of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, by President Joe Biden’s approval rating improving to its highest mark since October and by Donald Trump’s favorability rating dropping to its lowest level in more than a year.

    Yet what maybe stands out the most from the survey are the two starkly different issue campaigns the parties are running, with the Republican Party holding all-time high advantages on the economy, crime and border security, versus Democrats’ all-time high on abortion and double-digit edge on health care.

    “We often think about wave elections,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.

    “But this year, we may think instead about a ‘waves’ election where unprecedentedly strong crosscurrents push voters in different directions, with an end result that may not be what we expected.”

    McInturff, the GOP pollster, agrees.

    “There is a campaign about the economy, cost of living, crime, and border security, and Republicans are winning this campaign,” he said.

    “But there is a second campaign on abortion, democracy, and climate change, and Democrats are winning that campaign.”

    In this new poll, Democrats enjoy advantages among Black voters (77%-8%), those ages 18-34 (57%-33%), whites with college degrees (58%-38%), women (53%-40%) and Latinos (46%-42%).

    Republicans, meanwhile, have the edge among men (53%-39%), whites (54%-41%), independents (43%-37%) and whites without college degrees (64%-31%).

    You would think educated whites’ unprecedented and increasing hostility towards the GQP should see more ink spilled. As should the implications of Republicans, who were winning a a majority of youth voters in the Reagan era, having to stare into the abyss as two generations of youth voters turn irrevocably against the right.

    But ‘Democrats in disarray’ gets more clicks, I reckon.

  27. JohnSF says:

    Recall a study from the 1920s (?) from the western isles of Ireland.
    Evenings were taken up, as Ozark say, with lotsa maintenance work, if the light was good enough.
    And, storytelling.
    The advantage of which was, adults could listen while still getting on with sewing and darning etc.
    A good storyteller had a LOT of social prestige.
    Weekends, round to a place for music and drink.

    Also: sex.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:


    I don’t see how this stunt helps DeSantis for reelection in Nov, given he’s only about +3 over Crist. The money for the stunt(s) is coming from Covid relief intended to help Floridians, not Texas, Venezuelans in FL, even Rs aren’t happy that their countrymen are being abused as props, and you have to wonder if other ethnic groups are watching this and thinking that he could do this to them as well.

    If DeSantis blows reelection he can kiss his 24 chances for the R nomination good-bye. Let’s see if Crist and the Dems can take advantage of this gaffe.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:


    Latinos (46%-42%).

    Rather in conflict with the poll showing the GOP failing to seize the Hispanic vote. In polling terms that’s margin of error, effectively 50/50 until/unless we get more datapoints. Recall that the notion of some great Democratic majority was based in large degree on the assumption that we’d hold the Hispanic vote with something like the range we have in Black voters.

    That’s evidently not happening.

    The new version of the theory is that we’ll be saved some day, eventually, by the generational shift. I suspect this is true. But I also thought we’d own the Hispanic vote.

    38% of Americans have a college degree, and we have them by 20 points. 62% of Americans do not have college degrees, and the Republicans have them by 33 points. Those are not a good numbers for us. Those are very bad numbers.

    Because of structural realities the rule of thumb is that Democrats have to be polling better than a 5% advantage in order to stand even. Finally, any time you give voters a choice between pocketbook and ideals, guess which one wins.

    This is not a happy poll.

  30. DK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “Florida deserves a governor who is focused on bipartisan governing and on Florida, not on partisan division and running for president” should be an easy and potent argument to make, but I don’t see Crist making it. Is he?

    I think DeFascist will win easily. The Florida Democratic establishment seems to rival California Republicans in lack of inspiration.

  31. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    This is not a happy poll.

    Yes, we know the impervious narrative, fixated on and cherry-picked from any narrow data point found, while stubbornly ignoring/dismissing the overall picture and anything else that contradicts the signature intransigence. Ergo, Latino voters hate Democrats and love Republicans. Everything is bad. Nothing’s changed. Democrats are failing and losing and doomed because of tweets, and LatinX, and slogans. Gloom gloom gloom, negative negative negative, Boomer Boomer Boomer, grumpy grumpy grumpy.


  32. Kathy says:


    No high concept.

    Lower Decks in Ancient Egypt.

  33. JohnSF says:

    I think I said something in comments here a while back about the possibility that Ukraine has a home-grown long range precision strike system?
    I always take consolation in learning I’m not just an outlying nutcase.
    Original BBC report re. Sapsan project, not available in English that I can find.
    Linked to google translate of page.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    You’re the one with the impervious narrative; I’m reading numbers.

    Nate Silver has us with a 71% chance of holding the Senate, and a 29% chance of holding the House. Biden was at one point 20 points underwater, and now he’s only 11 points underwater. NBC has the generic Congressional number exactly tied. That’s not a picture of disaster, but our odds of keeping the House are the same as their odds of taking the Senate.

    What we need to hope is that the polls are under-counting Democrats. A case can be made for that, but a case can also be made that they are over-counting Democrats. I’m hopeful we’ll pull it off, but I wouldn’t bet my house on it.

    I’m sorry if that’s not cheerleader enough for you, but the numbers, while less-than-dire are still fairly grim. We lose the House and keep the Senate the only consolation prize is judges and Supremes. There will be no further legislation. Two years during which Dems will not even get a piece of legislation on the agenda.

    This country is poised on a knife’s edge, electorally. Race after race will come down to 1 or 2 points. Now, you want to pretend that Democrats yelling, ‘Defund’ had zero effect, you’re also arguing that ‘Defund’ had, well, zero effect. Which begs the question of what the fuck the point was.

  35. CSK says:


    That’s high concept right there. But it certainly isn’t about everyday lives. It’s sci fi.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I don’t think they are lying or mistaken, I just find it hard to believe.

    Sounds to me like you believe it, you just can’t wrap your head around it.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Skookum: A whole lot of people showed their true colors when that black man stole their WHITE House.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DK: Give it another couple of election cycles. The progs are gonna drive away EVERYBODY. 😉

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The studios would tell you there’s no “story” there. No high concept.

    Are these the same studios that are in the midst of making their 37th Superhero movie based around the same basic plot lines as all the others? Or making yet another Bourne/Bond movie? Or yet another Alien/Predator movie? Last night my wife had a movie on that I had never seen before but deduced within 5 minutes what the plot line was and how it was going to end because they keep recycling the same tired old shit in new clothes with prettier faces.

    Lots of “high concepts” among the hoi poloi and a billion different story lines too. But I suspect I am preaching to the choir.

  40. JohnSF says:

    The thing I’ve noticed since the 2010’s and has really accelerated since the attack on Ukraine:
    Tankie bolshevik nostalgists, diehard Maoists, ultra-libertarians, neo-fascists, paleo-cons, white nationalists, ultra-greens, Qanons.
    All raging against rationality and evidence, and basic communal decency.
    All at war with history, and trying to deny reality.
    Whatever the price.
    Trying to assert their independent enlightenment.
    “I’m an independent thinker.”
    “I’m free of bourgeois brainwashing”
    “I see the things the sheeple do not.”
    “I do my OwN ReSeArcH!”
    “I don’t believe the lamestream media!”

    Racism is PART of it, on the right.
    But there’s an overall psychology that is common to the far left and far right, and reminds me of some strains of religious enthusiasm: justification; the righteous redeemed.
    And resentment; that people dismiss their opinions as daft: just because they are daft!
    Oh the injustice!

    (Plus: yes, damn stupid racism.)

  41. CSK says:


    Predictable, sure. But…loaded with action! Adventure! Disaster! Villains!

    Superhero is the high concept.

  42. Pete S says:

    On a lighter note, I think all Ohio politicians should thank Trump for the market research he did last night on holding an event opposite an Ohio State game. I saw a couple of lowlights, and those camera shots seemed to have stayed awfully tight to avoid showing all the empty seats.

  43. Kathy says:


    Any depiction of the lives of common people in ancient times will be largely fiction, or at least speculation. Most records were left by the wealthy and powerful.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Some Jan. 6 defendants accused of other crimes since Capitol attack

    The least surprising headline since “Sun Rose Right on Time This Morning”.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Dawg, it is so tiresome. But originality is not something Hollywood is known for. Being original means taking a risk that people won’t like it and if they don’t like it they won’t pay for it and if they won’t pay for it… The bigwigs might have to go out and get real jobs. Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster for the Sundance’s of the world.

  46. CSK says:


    Yes, but it’s boring. Too boring for cinematic purposes, unless something dramatic happens, which is in itself high concept.

    By the way, there are many good nonfiction books about everyday life in ancient or medieval times.

  47. JohnSF says:

    There are some indications from relatively literate, and not radically horizontally split, cultures: ancient Egypt, classical Rome, some periods in China, late-medieval/early modern Europe.
    And matching that to 18th century onward ethnographic investigations.
    The overall pattern is long periods of stasis for the peasant majority.

    Same ol’ same ol’, day after day, year after year.
    In some case, for vast stretches of time.
    Interrupted by very unpleasant, but short term events: plague, climatic excursion and crop failure famine, invasions and wars.

    Indications of village cultures barely above “Malthusian trap” subsistence a lot of the time.
    Massive level of coercive surplus extraction by dominant groups tending to increase over time of civilization stability.

    The annales school of historians in Europe tried hard to reconstruct outlines of everyday life.

    Problem is, from a narrative point of view: peasant life is boring.
    Unless you are a very gifted writer.

  48. Gustopher says:


    Or yet another Alien/Predator movie?

    We’ve had Alien vs Predator, twice if memory serves, but how about an Alien+Predator romance, like Romeo+Juliet?

    Or a buddy movie with an Alien and a Predator going across country on a killing spree, with the Alien going on about body counts and the Predator complaining about the thrill of the hunt being ruined by wanton slaughter? (I know Charles Grodin is dead, but that’s the Predator I am thinking of) (I’m thinking the Predator would have lines like: you’re supposed to stalk your prey, know your prey, become your prey — it’s intimate, the most intimate connection you will ever know… not just eviscerate them on sight)

    Alien v. Predator, a legal drama, although I don’t know about what.

    My Fair Alien, in which a Predator attempts to get an Alien to be accepted in upper class society. There can be a touching moral about it being what’s inside that counts — a ruthless killing machine.

  49. Kylopod says:

    Once upon a time there was a group of voters. The Democrats won this group handily, but in the next election their margin of victory among this group slipped slightly. In the election after that, it slipped even more, and in the election that followed it slipped yet again, making the Dems’ margin with this group mere single digits.

    Was this group of voters on the brink of being captured by Republicans?

    What I am referring to is the elections from 1992 to 2004, and the “group of voters” were the voters of California.

    As we know, the state trended hard toward the Democrats after 2004, despite the seeming incremental trend toward the GOP in the previous four elections.

    Am I making an analogy between California from 1992-2004 and the Hispanic vote in the past few cycles? No, I am not. The Republican trend of California in that period had far more basis. Trends can reverse themselves–that happens all the time–but with the recent Hispanic vote, there’s a much weaker case there even is a trend.

    Here are the facts. In 2012 Romney won 27% of the Hispanic vote. In 2016 Trump won 28%. In 2020 it went up to 32%. (Source: Roper Polls.)

    That’s it–a 5% shift toward the Republicans over three cycles. And still well below the 44% Bush received in 2004. A tiny percentage-shift within a minority. Is this something that should concern Democrats? Yeah, a little. Elections happen around the margins, particularly when it comes to specific states such as Florida.

    However, anyone who believes this is evidence of the beginning of a massive nationwide shift among Hispanics toward the GOP is simply delusional. It is the very definition of making a mountain out of a molehill.

  50. JohnSF says:

    Put’s me in mind of a story I’d really like to see made into a film:
    Thor Meets Captain America by David Brin.
    Thor is an evil bastard, conjured up by the Nazis, and “Captain America” is just an ordinary soldier (sort of) who ends up dying, screaming defiance against the “gods”.

  51. JohnSF says:

    Also, to cross the streams:
    Peasant societies folk-tales were the original superhero literature.
    Read some versions of the Irish cycles of Cuchulain, or Finn and the Fenians.
    Or Robin Hood. Or the Water Margin. Or a lot of the stories of the Grimm’s.

    If you’re living a rather marginal life, where you are decidedly at the bottom of the pile, hero stories may be very attractive.

    Also reminds me of a speculation, as to why lord/peasant relations in late-medieval/early-modern England differed quite a bit from other European societies: the English “culture of the longbow”.
    That is, if you know J. Random Dirt-Serf just might be capable of using a weapon that could shoot you, and all your silly relatives, clean out of the saddle, you might tend to be a bit more polite than otherwise.

  52. JohnSF says:

    My lad, I think you are one of the few people I have met with a more baroque imagination than myself.
    *doffs cap and bows*

  53. Kathy says:


    Not with the Lower Decks concept.

    Take a regular Cassius, Agathokles, and Thutmose recruited to the legions of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra in Egypt, and assign them to some backwater unit no one cares about. They sometimes interact with the Centurion, and maybe even the General, but mostly have adventures fighting Octavian’s third-rate forces at the margins of the rise of the Roman Empire.

    Of course, in the end they’ll lose the war.

    That’s the twist ending, like the original Rocky film, that sets up for a sequel to undo it, then more movies because now there’s a franchise.

  54. Matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Well my experience with young southern hispanic voters who vote for the GOP is that they are basically indistinguishable from the uneducated white base you’re used to. They are pro gun, anti-immigration (despite being the second or third generation offspring of illegals), and whatever else the GOP and their apparatus tell them they are. They buy into the standard GOP propaganda organs as the white rural base. Some of them I could have a reasonable chance of reaching occasionally the rest were hardcore partisans.

    How do you reach a person who thinks illegals are destroying the country when their father or grandfather arrived illegally? Some of them being gun enthusiasts used that as the jumping off point for their indoctrination into the GOP’s bullshit.

    Of course this is all anecdotal evidence of someone who lived near the Mexican border for 13 years.

  55. Kathy says:


    I think most lives would be 80-90% boring for an audience. Would anyone apy to see someone type data into a computer for 8 hours, taking a few breaks and a lunch hour? Then watch them commute home, then watch them watch TV, then fix dinner, then call some friends, then go to bed?

  56. CSK says:


    Kathy, that’s by definition high concept. Kurtz wanted to see movies about ordinary people doing ordinary things. I was responding to that idea.

    You’re proposing high concept by transposing Lower Decks to ancient Egypt. This is not ordinary people doing ordinary things.

  57. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Now, you want to pretend that Democrats yelling, ‘Defund’ had zero effect, you’re also arguing that ‘Defund’ had, well, zero effect.”

    Really think you should read the NYT article on how Russian troll farms took minor divisions between people on the left and hyped them up until all hope for unity fell apart. Sometimes one is so busy being “savvy” one becomes a prime target for this kind of thing.

  58. JohnSF says:

    But what about ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things?
    That is a lot of the core of more modern (rather than medieval/folk) fantasies; (pre-moderns they were far more into extra-ordinary people; because you knew that YOU crossing the Lord was a one way ticket)

    Of course, you could have the other genre of extra-ordinary people doing ordinary things.
    Superman’s struggles to get underwear that fits!
    King Arthur’s problems with truculent peasants!
    Dr Doom tries to get a TV that doesn’t short out when he changes channels!
    Thanos has problems with cabbage white butterfly caterpillars!

  59. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “However, anyone who believes this is evidence of the beginning of a massive nationwide shift among Hispanics toward the GOP is simply delusional.”

    The shift seems to be coming mostly from young Hispanic males without a college degree. Which says to me not that Hispanics are turning Republican, but that many of them are assimilated enough that their socioeconomic position outweighs their ethnic origin when it comes time to vote.

  60. JohnSF says:

    Avoiding direct comment on US politics; but I still think,unless things have radically changed, elections are won in the shift-able middle.

    Enthusiasts on both sides in both UK and US tend to go:
    “Oh, no, this time it’s different!”
    Usually because they want it to be: they want their “rev the base” policies to be adopted.
    Therefore, those policies must be a winner.
    Because this time, it will depend on getting out the enthusiastic base vote!

    Well: the Corbynites tried it, crashed and burned.
    Now Starmer and the centrists are back in the saddle; and guess what: Labour are at 40% and north in the polls.
    Cue the Momentum mob:
    “Corbyn would be at 50!”;
    “What does it matter if we don’t get SOCIALISM?”

    Magic Grandpa stans can GTF.

  61. JohnSF says:

    Also, Biden campaign.
    “He obviously can’t win from the Centre!”
    “Where’s the enthusiasm?”
    “This won’t get out the vote!”
    “We need a radical agenda!”

    *sniggers Bidenly*
    “What’s this malarkey, lad?”

  62. wr says:

    @JohnSF: From what I can tell from over here, Corbyn was a particularly charmless and unpleasant person, and an unreconstructed Stalinist revolutionary. Even if his policies had been popular, he would have made them unpopular — possibly on purpose because of his contempt for the bourgeoisie.

    How he seized control of that party is something that mystifies me, unless there was such universal disgust with Blair’s many betrayals and then his successor’s failures that the only people who cared about Labor at that moment were the ones who’d been completely ignored since the Hitler and Stalin signed that non-aggression pact.

    Keir seems like a competent technocrat, but with any particular charisma. I guess after being burned by Blair Labor is afraid of following anyone with political skills, but it would be nice to see someone smart and personable leading Labor…

  63. Jay L Gischer says:

    @JohnSF: I like your list, don’t get me wrong. But I think superheroes go all the way back to the Greeks: Hercules, Bellerophon, Theseus, and so on.

    I don’t know much about Chinese mythology, but I bet they have this sort of thing, too. And yeah, it makes for great entertainment for someone who’s near or at subsistence level.

  64. CSK says:


    Again, ordinary people doing extraordinary things is something else entirely. Kurtz was talking about ordinary people doing ordinary things.

  65. Jax says:

    @CSK: Isn’t that what “reality tv” was supposed to be about? First, ordinary people living in a very large house. And then it (blech) spread from there, and ruined the world and tv as we know it.

  66. JohnSF says:

    I differ a lot on Blair.
    He failed on foreign policy primary because he trusted Bush, understandably but mistakenly.
    But that’s marginal to national (rather than in-party) judgements.
    His main failure was to tackle the house property-centric investment pattern, and the dominance of the City.
    But Brown failed equally; and at least Blair made some attempts to upgrade the training/investment aspect re. industrial and craft/service skills.

    Corbyn benefited from several things in seizing power in the party:
    – there was a residual core of resentful Bennites since the 80’s
    – several key unions had a hard left leadership esp. McCluskey in UNITE.
    – Ed Milliband’s idiotic £3 membership scheme
    Which was essentially “Hey swuppies! Hi tankies! C’mon join the fun!”
    And Momentum gleefully exploited the chaos.
    Then the Parliamentary Party “invited” JC to stand; in order to scotch the Left when he crashed and burned, as they thought.
    Damned fools.

    If it wasn’t for hard Left inability NOT to overstretch, they’d still be in the saddle now.
    But they just couldn’t help themselves.

    IMUHO Starmer is a good leader.
    But then, arguably so were Clem Attlee, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Ernie Bevin etc; and I’d have happily followed their banners.

    Charisma is a bit overrated IMUHO.
    (And funny thing is, Corbyn was the epitome of a certain type of cod-intellectual bourgeoisie type.)

  67. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Even further than that, likely.
    A lot of the folk tales of Europe have echoes going back at least centuries, probably millenia.
    Traced roots of the Celtic tales seem to go back at least as deep as the Greek myths.
    Which seem themselves to have been “upper class” rewrites of peasant legendariums,
    Similarly, the Hindu legends of the Ramayana and Mahabharata: folk tales transformed by more elite interpreters.
    It’s a great pity we don’t (AFAIK) have much on the folk tales of the Egyptians.
    Except to indicate they were rather happier folks than the gloomy Mesopotamians. 🙂

  68. Mikey says:

    Today marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of the U. S. Air Force. I served for 20 of those years. Are there any othe USAF retirees in this esteemed company?

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: What mystifies me about the trend is what Republiqan policy has for uneducated males of ANY ethnicity. I wouldn’t think “gee, SUCKS to be ME” would have any long-term appeal.

    And I’m going to need to change my story about what people in my hometown (Seattle) make doing the work that I did when I was younger (produce warehousing). Turns out those jobs don’t exist in Seattle to any measurable degree anymore. Supermarket distribution centers? Gone. Large independent produce distributors? Gone. Small family-owned produce distributors? Gone. Even the company that bought the company I worked for has been sold to someone else–for only 3 or four hundred million more than they paid to buy us —almost 40 years ago. Yikes!

  70. DK says:


    Here are the facts. In 2012 Romney won 27% of the Hispanic vote. In 2016 Trump won 28%. In 2020 it went up to 32%. (Source: Roper Polls.)

    That’s it–a 5% shift toward the Republicans over three cycles. And still well below the 44% Bush received in 2004.

    But don’t you know we’re in the ‘feelings don’t care about your facts’ era? Republican support among Hispanics falling from 44% in 2004 to 32% in 2020 means…*checks notes*…Democrats are doomed and Latinos love Republicans, obviously. Down is up. Losing is winning. Night is actually day, and wet is actually try. #LatinX #dEfUnDtHePoLiCe

    I feel sorry for all American teachers, but especially math teachers. I just don’t know you deal with a people who believe what they want no matter the reality. It’s actually frightening. And explains a lot.

  71. wr says:

    @JohnSF: I really don’t have a strong feeling for Starmer either way. I hope that he wins, I hope that his vision for the country succeeds, and I hope he routs the Tories back to the stone age.

    And it’s quite possible that personal charm — that is, personal charm as conveyed through the media, not actually in person — is not as important in a PM as in a President.

    As for Blair, I think the problem is that he presented a really wonderful vision and made people believe, and then he turned out to be just another pol out to line his own pockets. If he hadn’t done such a brilliant job of selling Cool Britannia, I suspect no one would care either way about him today.

  72. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “What mystifies me about the trend is what Republiqan policy has for uneducated males of ANY ethnicity.”

    Apparently, license to hate.

  73. JohnSF says:

    IMUHO essential Blair problem is he failed to tackle the UK intersection of “financialised corporatism”, City dominance, hollowing out of ind/tech capacity, and the house price inflation basis of a superficial middle-class prosperity.
    But, thing is he, and a lot of Labour, wanted to focus on using gains of the wealth generation
    engine to fund NHS/local govt./education/infrastructure etc.
    And I can see the reasoning.
    But then, people accustomed to that vote for Cons, expecting low tax at no loss; and all the while underlying econ. problems get ignored.

    So, Lab left INSTEAD of addressing those problems of infrastructure, education, strategics industries, City investment incentives, regulatory frames, etc (plus some need to re-nationalise or de-monopolize) wander off into an alternative reality of making everything better via command economy, unlimited fiscal expansion, and “Third World Solidarity”.

    Now we have the problem of trying to reform the economy outside EU for at least medium term, with incipient currency crisis, energy inflation shock, and determination of City to continue “vampire squid model” to the death, and the horrid, frightening, dependence of UK consumer economy on the house price spiral.

    Happy days. 🙁

    And thing is, we need to reform the Tories: because they are not going away.
    There WILL always be be a competitive right-of-centre party in UK.
    We need to get it back to restore it’s heritage to Macmillan/Major/Cameron (not perfect; but a long way better than Johnson/Truss).

  74. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: My uncle served in WWII as a navigator in the AAF. All 5 foot 4 inches of him. Wouldn’t have qualified a few years later.

    Anyway, I’m not clear if he stayed until it became the USAF (and have no one to ask at this point), but he seemed to consider himself part of that.

  75. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: And 20 years? Nice, thank you!

  76. JohnSF says:

    As a matter of interest, what planes did your uncle fly in?
    Because my RAF father said he was convinced B-24s were designed by short people with a grudge.

    I was thinking, in connection with the Queen’s passing, how all that generation are now passing away into memory, like a hand slipping out of touch.
    All the family and friends of my parents generation; and for that matter my older cousins.
    It’s quite humbling; the people I’ve met, or known, and never really even thought of their stories.
    Until you do; until you think about it.
    That people you’ve met walk in the pages of history.

  77. Jax says:

    @JohnSF: It’s the same here in cowboy country. We don’t actually live all of that, all day long, in fact there are weeks upon weeks where nothing exciting happens at all, except drudging toil on fixing everything they broke over the winter…then the home cows get out and fence needs fixed. But when the mountain cows come home and all of the ranchers start sorting shit out… it gets Western….it’s a sight to behold!

  78. wr says:

    @JohnSF: Yeah, Blair and Clinton were pretty much on the same page in a lot of these areas. They had the idea you could fix everything for the lower and middle classes without changing anything for the uppermost.

  79. Franklin says:

    @JohnSF: LOL, I’m not 100% sure at the moment, but the Brits are always good for a quip! I’m sure my uncle could have moved around relatively freely in a B-24. Other people, not so much.


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