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:

    Trump supporter who gave $2.5m to fight election fraud wants money back

    A Donald Trump supporter who donated $2.5m to help expose and prosecute claims of fraud in the presidential election wants his money back after what he says are “disappointing results”.

    Fredric Eshelman, a businessman from North Carolina, said he gave the money to True the Vote, a pro-Trump “election ethics” group in Texas that promised to file lawsuits in seven swing states as part of its push to “investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election”.

    But according to a lawsuit Eshelman filed this week in Houston, first reported by Bloomberg, True the Vote dropped its legal actions and discontinued its Validate the Vote 2020 campaign, then refused to return his calls when he demanded an explanation.

    The founder of Eshelman Ventures llc, a venture capital company, said he asked “regularly and repeatedly” for updates, the lawsuit asserts, but that his “requests were consistently met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises”.

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    ETA I love this part:

    “Our mission is much bigger than just one election. It is about repairing the system for all future elections,”

    The grift continues.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Vala Afshar

    This pianist plays Beethoven for rescue elephants who choose to listen to music versus freely walk away

    (3:08 video)

  3. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins really know how to turn lemons into lemonade. Apparently last night’s loss in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is no big deal, because it means they’re off to the United States Supreme Court, where Amy Coney Barrett will rescue them.

  4. Northerner says:


    Nietzsche said something like “If I appear to be going backwards, it only so I can get a running start on getting over the hurdle.”

    The difference of course is that Nietzsche was a genius who went crazy (apparently they now think from brain cancer), while Trump’s followers are crazy people who are idiots. Trump on the other hand isn’t an idiot (at least in this), he’s a con man who found his marks.

  5. sam says:
  6. ImProPer says:


    Sounds like they are nearing the promised land. Supreme Court cases are very expensive though! I’m sure the call to be patient, and forth coming with donations will be heard from sea to shining sea! Freedom isn’t free, and all that.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have found the theme song for my life.

    Rex ChapmanHorse racing@RexChapman
    Part 1 “No More F*cks to Give:

  8. CSK says:

    A few of them like to quote Sun-Tzu, whom none of them ever heard of prior to Sarah Palin, who’d never heard of him, either.
    Sidney Powell certainly seems to be raking in the chips like a croupier.
    A few of them seem to be getting impatient. I’m not sure what that portends.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: The same as when the mark starts to get antsy about the money the Nigerian prince promised to send him–more promises, more assurances, and more delay.

    I wonder if Trump will get mad at the amount of ca$h that Sidney is raking in for herself?

  10. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    If she’s scooping up vast amounts of cash, I’m sure Trump will feel it rightfully belongs to him.

  11. Mikey says:

    There’s a lot in this Washington Post story.

    20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

    With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America’s democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately…

    This account of one of the final chapters in Trump’s presidency is based on interviews with 32 senior administration officials, campaign aides and other advisers to the president, as well as other key figures in his legal fight, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details about private discussions and to candidly assess the situation.

    It’s pretty long, but definitely worth the time.

    More troubling to Raffensperger were the many threats he and his wife, Tricia, have received over the past few weeks — and a break-in at another family member’s home. All of it has prompted him to accept a state security detail.

    “If Republicans don’t start condemning this stuff, then I think they’re really complicit in it,” he said. “It’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand for righteousness? Are you going to stand for integrity? Or are you going to stand for the wild mob? You wanted to condemn the wild mob when it’s on the left side. What are you going to do when it’s on our side?”

    “I never thought leopards would eat MY face,” sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.

    “If you were a Republican poll watcher, you were treated like a dog,” Trump complained, using one of his favorite put-downs, even though many people treat dogs well, like members of their own families.

    What is it with Trump and dogs, anyway?

  12. CSK says:
  13. Michael Cain says:


    Apparently last night’s loss in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is no big deal, because it means they’re off to the United States Supreme Court, where Amy Coney Barrett will rescue them.

    I’m no longer worried about the SCOTUS this election cycle. The court action up to this point indicates that the only way Trump can win is basically to toss the mail ballots after the fact in enough states. There’s no way to keep such a decision from spilling over to all vote by mail states. Neither Roberts nor Gorsuch will agree to that this time.

  14. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Oh, I think Trump knows he lost. All these shenanigans are just to keep his fan club inflamed. That’s why I’m predicting he’ll hold a rally on inauguration day, and hint that he’ll run again in 2024.

  15. Kylopod says:


    That’s why I’m predicting he’ll hold a rally on inauguration day, and hint that he’ll run again in 2024.

    Who will pay for it? His previous rallies came out of campaign funds.

  16. CSK says:

    You don’t think he’ll find some saps to subsidize it?
    In any case, as a private citizen, he can charge admission.

  17. CSK says:

    Maria Bartiromo will be interviewing Trump on Fox News at 10 a.m. today.

    I’m so excited.

  18. charon says:


    An admission charge?

  19. CSK says:

    That’s what I think.

  20. charon says:

    So now my weekly dive into the Covid numbers.

    Covid data at this site:

    7-day rolling average. new cases/100K:

    U.S. National Totals:: ..

    11/29/2020:   49.4/100K

    11/22/2020:   51.4/100K  

    11/15/2020 :  44.1/100K

    11/08/2020    33.1/100K

    11/01/2020     24.2/100K


    U,S. Midwest states:

    11/29/2020:   79.7/100K

    11/22/2020 :   91.3/100K  

    11/15/2020 :   88.4/100K

    11/08/2020     62.2/100K

    11/01/2020     44.3/100K


    U,S. West states:

    11/29/2020:   46.7/100K

    11/22/2020 : 44.0/100K  

    11/15/2020 : 33.8/100K

    11/08/2020     24.4/100K

    11/01/2020    18.5/100K



    11/29/2020:   53.9/100K

    11/22/202    43.7/100K

    11/15/2020 :  30.8/100K

    11/08/2020     22.4/100K

    11/01/2020    18.5/100K

    Maybe light reporting last few days, but a few of the worst states peaked even earlier – for now at least.

  21. charon says:

    Here is a dishonor roll of current state Covid leaders:

    (7-day rolling average, cases per 100K):

    MT – 191.6

    MN – 120.4

    WY – 118.5

    SD – 116.4

    ND – 106.7

    WI – 104.4

    NM – 100.5

    OH – 94.6

    IA – 92.9

    NE – 91.1

    So Kristi Noem has fallen back to #4, off the pace.

  22. Michael Cain says:


    Who will pay for it? His previous rallies came out of campaign funds.

    Didn’t he file the paperwork for the 2020 campaign before he was inaugurated? Lots of time between now and Jan 20 to file the official paperwork to be running. He gets to carry over any unused campaign funds — assuming there are unused campaign funds — to a new campaign.

  23. sam says:

    How sharper than a serpent’s tooth:

    Donald J. Trump
    .@FoxNews daytime is virtually unwatchable, especially during the weekends. Watch @OANN
    , @newsmax, or almost anything else. You won’t have to suffer through endless interviews with Democrats, and even worse!

  24. CSK says:

    But he’s being interviewed by Maria Bartiromo on Fox News, during the daytime, as we speak.

  25. @Michael Cain: The remarkable lameness of Team Trump’s legal arguments means that I can see no way that the Court could do anything other than rejecting them.

    Plus, even in the most remarkable outcome would not give Trump all the EVs he needs.

    So, I agree, I am not worried about SCOTUS either.

  26. CSK says:

    Well, this is riveting news. According to the NYPost, Melania is “in talks” to discuss writing a memoir of her White House years.

    I’m trying to think of possible titles. I Really, Really Don’t Care; Do U? comes to mind.

    Any suggestions?

  27. ImProPer says:


    “Sidney Powell certainly seems to be raking in the chips like a croupier.
    A few of them seem to be getting impatient. I’m not sure what that portends.”

    Hopefully this transparent view of what Trumpism really is, behind the smoke and mirrors, will do what the election failed to do,
    kill it! The myth of the omni-competent leader, and his uncanny ability to find the best possible people has got to be testing the faith of even the faithful in his flock. Even Job, if he were among them, would’ve bailed by now.
    Hope I’m not sounding Q-ish, but maybe there is a plan by the courts not kicking them out with prejudice, and keeping their true selves in the public eye.

  28. charon says:

    BREAKING: South Dakota records its deadliest day of COVID pandemic with 54 more dead.

    Adjusting for population, that would be like ~20,000 deaths in 1 day nationwide.

    For perspective, deaths from all causes in a normal year in U.S. nationwide: about 7,700.

  29. ImProPer says:


    “Who will pay for it? His previous rallies came out of campaign funds.”

    Captain Obvious here, I can tell you who won’t pay for it, and his name rhymes with chump. Also I can tell you who will get paid from it, his name coincidentally, rhymes with chump as well.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:


    I Signed Up to be Arm Candy and Got This

  31. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    If I Weren’t Beautiful, Would I Be Here?

  32. ImProPer says:


    “Leaving Mar-a-lago, my sacrifice for the ugly people”

  33. Sleeping Dog says:


    We need to consider this as 2 books, the WH years and an after she dumps him tell all.

  34. CSK says:

    @ImProPer: @Sleeping Dog:

    I’d read a tell-all. But the woman seems to be a complete cipher. She once said her days were constituted of reading fashion magazines and doing Pilates. Between that and the perpetual round of facelifts and Botox treatments, what does she have to say about anything?

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    …what does she have to say about anything?

    Well nothing, nothing intelligent anyway. But tell alls, needn’t be good, they only need to be gossipy.

  36. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When I was young and dumb, I bought a Porsche 944 from a gay guy desperate to pay his wife off in cash so he could keep his house. 3 months later the clutch broke. $1600.

  37. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, damn. I was totally looking forward to immersing myself in the very deep thoughts of Melania Trump on the Mundell-Fleming trilemma.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Or the Banach-Tarski paradox.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    You’ll receive her meditation on the correlation between hand size and …., and why that is acceptable if they can be inversely proportional to bank account size.

  40. CSK says:

    According to CNBC, Trump told Maria Bartiromo that his election challenges “probably won’t make it to the Supreme Court.”

  41. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, given that Melania apparently has Trump’s approval to proceed with her memoir, I doubt she’ll have anything to say about his male member except for a discreet hint that it’s YUGE.

    Bigly, even.

  42. ImProPer says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Carl Hiaason would be perfect to do an autobiography when she gets back to Florida. She and the rest of the Trump crew seem as if they were born out right out of one his novels.

  43. Dutchgirl says:

    @charon: what is your number referring to? Deaths in that state? Because that is not the all causes number of deaths in the US.

  44. charon says:

    54 dead in 1 day in SD equates to 61 per 1,000,000 population.

    61 X 330 equates to 20,130 daily if nationwide at that rate.

    2,800,000 / 365 equates to 7,700 daily nationwide in a normal year.

  45. Dutchgirl says:

    Thanks for the clarification, pre coffee brain not computing.

  46. charon says:


    Currently per this site

    nationwide deaths running about 1500 daily as 7-day average.

  47. dazedandconfused says:
  48. CSK says:

    That’s what I suggested, only with an extra “really.”

  49. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Jackpot: My life as a belly warmer for Donald J. Trump.

  50. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Well, that conjures up all sorts of revolting images.

  51. DrDaveT says:


    So now my weekly dive into the Covid numbers.

    Worldwide, the 7-day rolling average daily deaths has now topped 10,000 for the first time.

    Italy is now seeing 800 deaths per day, roughly the same as at the top of their initial peak in late March. This after having reduced daily deaths to around a dozen for much of the summer.

    By the end of the year, US deaths from COVID-19 will surpass Indonesian deaths from the 2004 tsunami.

  52. sam says:


    I think we’d need Richard Condon for the bios.

  53. DrDaveT says:


    By the end of the year, US deaths from COVID-19 will surpass Indonesian deaths from the 2004 tsunami.

    Correction: the US has already passed worldwide 2004 tsunami deaths (roughly 230,000).

  54. DrDaveT says:

    A stray thought about COVID deniers…

    How do they explain the major sports leagues’ obvious acceptance of the pandemic as real?

    The Denver Broncos today played with a practice-squad wide receiver at quarterback, after unsuccessfully petitioning to activate an offensive coach so that someone who knew the offense could run it. They did this because their number three QB tested positive and the other three roster quarterbacks (including the starter) were in close contact with him. All are now quarantined. The NFL is not known for its liberal stances; why would they do this if it weren’t a real thing?

    I assume there is some absurd “explanation” floating around out there, probably involving George Soros. If anyone has run across it, please share.

  55. Michael Cain says:


    The Denver Broncos today played with a practice-squad wide receiver at quarterback, after unsuccessfully petitioning to activate an offensive coach so that someone who knew the offense could run it.

    The local reports (from unattributed sources) are that the Broncos are being punished because the head coach said publicly that keeping the practice-squad QB isolated to the degree required by NFL policy to guarantee he would be eligible was “an unnecessary precaution.”

  56. JohnSF says:


    …Margaret Thatcher in The Crown…If it’s accurate…Maybe JohnSF could say something about this.

    Just came across this while casting an eye over yesterdays forum.
    Quick answer: who knows?
    After all, The Crown is fiction.

    There’ve been contradictory reports over the years re. Thatcher’s relations with the Queen.
    Often by people with reason to shade it one way or the other.
    Also reportage that the relation changed over time as Mrs. Thatcher became more accustomed to power.
    But again, a lot of this is speculative: the Queen is a sphinx most of the time, and their meetings were on Privy Council terms = no records. And generally, no witnesses who will ever speak in public. And Mrs Thatcher certainly never spoke much about the Audiences.

    As to Mrs Thatcher’s class attitudes.
    Well, she was very much a middle-class background (N.B. middle class in UK does NOT mean the same as it does in the US).
    Husband Denis Thatcher was of wealthier origins but also somewhat outside the system (father a New Zealander, non-conformist by religion).
    And she was by all accounts the butt of a lot of upper class disparagement in her rise to power and the first term of office. So she had cause for a bit of resentment.

    Then again some of the high aristocracy are reputed rather look down on the Royals as a bunch of German parvenus (e.g. Diana’s family, the Spencers, are in some respects a lot “posher” than the Windsors), so Her Maj and Mrs T. might bond over that. LOL.
    (Actually, no, just to be clear.)

    As to whether she hated the working class: I rather think not, in her own mind at least.
    But it depends what you mean by “working class”.
    Most accounts I’ve read are that she wanted to assist a (rather theoretical) aspirational, patriotic, “hard working” ordinary folk; and hated the (similarly illusory) “shirkers”, “layabouts”, “union militants”, “lefties” and “hooligans” of middle class demonology.

    That’s my tuppenceworth anyway.

  57. CSK says:

    If you would, discourse for a bit on what middle class means to Brits and Yanks. I know what the difference is, but it would be interesting to read your thoughts.

  58. JohnSF says:

    Well, I may be getting it wrong as to the American usage, so feel free to kick me.
    But here goes…

    It seems to have originated with the Jeffersonian thing of “the sturdily independent yeomanry” …yadda yadda.
    And then became anyone who was “non dependent”; and then anyone who was not dependent on the state or indigent. Perhaps, charitably, what a Marxist might mean by lumpenproletariat.
    But I have a suspicion that what a lot of people meant by it was “OK, working class but WHITE, dammit!”
    But try finding an American who self describes as “upper class” LOL.

    British usage is more socio-economic hierarchy:
    Working class = wage labourers (with sub-divisions !) largely “blue collar”:
    Lower middle class = clerical, junior managers, independent craftsmen, technical, basically “white collar working class”
    Middle class = retailers, middle to upper managers, teachers, administrators, clergy
    Upper middle class = wealthy businessmen, professionals, very senior managers, heirs of such, financiers: they may work, but could often live on capital if they wished; a LOT of overlap with the:
    Upper class = the landowning, and formerly political, elite, subdivided into the untitled gentry and the titled aristocracy; (may or may may not include the financial elite depending on how snobby the nobility are feeling today).

    Then there is the Marxist formulation:
    Working class = anyone dependent for livelihood on the wages of their labour;
    Middle AND upper class = anyone who can live off their capital returns, either passively as an investor or actively as an owner/manager.

    Differentiation being that the upper class were seen as a relict, the old ruling class still largely invested in land/agriculture and vanquished and subsumed by the new capitalist ruling class.

    A Brit will sometimes switch between the “social” and the “marxist” formulations depending on circumstances.

  59. DrDaveT says:


    But try finding an American who self describes as “upper class” LOL.

    I think part of what you’re missing here is the British fixation on bloodlines. In the UK, you can be wealthy but not upper class, because your money is recent/foreign/whatever. If you don’t trace descent from successful Viking bandits who settled in Normandy 1200 years ago, you’re not “upper class”.

    In the US, it’s only money and race. If you’re white, and rich, you’re upper class. (Raises hand.) Even if your great-great-great-grandparents were all illiterate dirt farmers on the frontier. (Raises hand.)

  60. CSK says:

    @JohnSF: @DrDaveT:
    You’re both right. Thanks, although in the U.S. I would draw a distinction between Old Society (old blood, old money) and Cafe Society (new blood, new money).

  61. JohnSF says:

    Two additional points re. British attitudes –
    The finer social gradations are often collapsed into the basic three: working, middle, upper.

    People often refer to “background” or “origins” as a class reference point.
    But it is usually only done as a self-identification, and only in one direction e.g. someone who is well off and plainly middle/upper middle economically and in social circles, will refer to themselves as being “working class” if their parents could be categorised as such.
    Especially true of Labour politicians LOL.
    It doesn’t happen the other way round, because it doesn’t need to.
    No one is likely to mis-identify the background of someone from the upper classes.

  62. JohnSF says:

    Actually you don’t need to go that far back to be upper class: four generations of a title or an estate will do just fine. So long as you mind your manners. 🙂

    And not all the upper class are enormously wealthy. Some are (the Grosvenors, Cavendishes, etc are fabulously wealthy by any standard) but others may have just inherited little more than a freehold farm and/or some investments. Just need sufficient for the basic lifestyle.
    Money has always found the barriers permeable; plenty of titled families these days started as Victorian grocers LOL.

    So long as the new money remembers that Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, is the hereditary Earl Marshal of the Kingdom, and they ain’t.