Thursday’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:

    I can hardly wait for the anti vaxers’ reaction to this:

    The world’s first vaccine for honeybees has been approved for use by the US government, raising hopes of a new weapon against diseases that routinely ravage colonies that are relied upon for food pollination. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine created by Dalan Animal Health, a US biotech company, to help protect honeybees from American foulbrood disease.
    The vaccine, which will initially be available to commercial beekeepers, aims to curb foulbrood, a serious disease caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae that can weaken and kill hives. There is currently no cure for the disease, which in parts of the US has been found in a quarter of hives, requiring beekeepers to destroy and burn any infected colonies and administer antibiotics to prevent further spread.

    The vaccine works by incorporating some of the bacteria into the royal jelly fed by worker bees to the queen, which then ingests it and gains some of the vaccine in the ovaries. The developing bee larvae then have immunity to foulbrood as they hatch, with studies by Dalan suggesting this will reduce death rates from the disease.

    Cue up the outrage machine in 3… 2… 1…

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    After a critical runoff election that helped Democrats cement their majority in the US Senate, Georgia’s status as a political battleground with national influence has become more apparent. Georgia now boasts a highly engaged electorate that continues to turn out in record numbers election after election.

    While various factors contribute to this, many in Georgia point to the state’s grassroots coalition, built over the last decade, that sought to register, engage and educate voters like never before. At the helm of this coalition sits former state House minority leader and two-time gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
    At the close of the 2022 runoff election, Georgia had over seven million active voters, according to the secretary of state’s office. Of that seven million, 18 to 24-year-olds represent the largest voting population.

    While it is clear that Abrams is not the only force behind Georgia’s growing electorate and a renewed focus on voting rights throughout the nation, Cotton said she serves as a “flashpoint” in the history of American politics that many were able to galvanize around.
    Still, as Georgia’s electorate expanded, so grew opposition. After the 2020 election, Georgia took the national stage as Donald Trump refused to accept the results of the election. Abrams was a focus of GOP ire, receiving attacks from Trump and his allies and Governor Brian Kemp and his allies. Following unfounded claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election by Trump and his allies, Kemp and Georgia’s GOP seemingly developed a solution to a problem that never existed. The result was a comprehensive and strict new voter law that impacted everything from who’s allowed to help voters register to where resources can be distributed to voters waiting in Georgia’s notoriously long precinct lines.

    Kemp and other GOP officials also worked to mark Abrams as an election denier because of her claims of voter suppression throughout the state in 2020.

    Nonetheless, Abrams was one of the key players in expanding Georgia’s electorate in 2022, delivering a key democratic victory during the presidential election to the chagrin of Trump.

    Because of the state’s highly engaged voting rights coalition and clear voting rights infrastructure helmed by Abrams, voters and activists alike were equipped to navigate a system that placed new barriers on the path to casting a ballot. They moved in step with uniform messaging, spreading out across the state and guiding voters through the ever-changing electoral landscape of Georgia. And the results were clear. With concerted efforts to encourage voters to vote early to mitigate potential issues this election season, nearly 3 million people cast early votes, a record for the state. The turnout, experts say, illustrates the gradual progress critical to enacting the lasting change necessary for strong political shifts.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    The Hastert Rule has come up several times as a partial cause of Republican Congressional dysfunction, but I don’t think the actual rule was very significant. But due to other things going on it metastasized into something much worse and that has led to a lot of the Republican’s descent into chaos.

    The original rule was simple: a Republican Speaker wouldn’t allow something to come to a vote if a majority of Republican House members were against it. It seems to me the main violation of the norms there was in saying the quiet part out loud. If a Speaker were allowing votes on things his own members were against, well, he wouldn’t be Speaker for long, but despite this they were supposed to pretend they would put country over party.

    The real damage came from e institutionalization of dickishness caused by melding this with Gincrich’s “50% + 1” rule. This stated that any bill that passed by more than one vote was a wasted opportunity, because it indicated you could have got more. In practice, this amounted to adding things to “own the libs” i.e. to drive away Democratics. This resulted in a Hyper-Hastert rule where no bill would be brought to the floor. unless it could pass with only Republican votes. Owning the libs became the grand sport in Republican circles, trained the base that this was the goal, and attracted all sorts of despicable churns to run for office. Voila, I give you today’s Republican Party.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    You may have seen the shimmering greens and pinks of the aurora borealis lighting up the night sky, but have you ever heard them? Rare reports of crackling and whooshing noises accompanying auroras have traditionally been dismissed by scientists as folklore, but data gathered in Finland has shown that under the right weather conditions, auroras can be accompanied by a noise.

  5. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: When it comes to the Hastert Rule, the most important thing to note at the start is that it isn’t a “rule.” (Wikipedia calls it an “informal governing principle.”) When Boehner invoked it to refuse to bring immigration reform up for a vote even after it had passed on bipartisan lines in the Senate, it was just a post-hoc rhetorical device to justify an action he wasn’t in any forced to do but which he believed was to his benefit. It’s the same thing McConnell did in refusing to bring Obama’s SCOTUS nominee up for a vote in 2016: it was something he did because he had the power to do it, but then pretended he did it because he was bound by some preexisting obligation, which he promptly went on to discard four years later to get ACB seated. All this talk of “rules” is just shamelessly transparent attempts to cover their ass when they decide to do the things they want to do just because they can.

  6. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Lost yesterday, because of the clown show in Congress, was Biden’s trip to the Spence Bridge between Kentucky and Ohio. A critical piece of infrastructure, it currently carries double it’s design capacity.
    A truly bi-partisan show with the likes of McConnell, Sherrod Brown, Andy Beshear and Mike DeWine, showing that Government can work for the people.
    The best part of it, for me, was remembering that Trump had stood on the very same spot and promised to fix it back in 2016. He did nothing.
    Thanks, Brandon.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Yeah but, both sides…

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    RENFIELD looks like a fun flick. A good payoff at the very end of the trailer.

  9. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: It’s a start but National Democrats need more marketing like this.

    I’ve been shocked at the ignorance in DeSantistan that people have of what governments actually do. Academics take it for granted as common knowledge–it is not once you get out of metropolitan adjacent suburbs. In these areas, government is what talk radio, pastors, and what the people around the water cooler say it is.

    If national Dems actually cared about these areas (they don’t & neither does national MAGA) it would be relatively easy to shave 2-4% off the MAGA coalition to ensure they don’t win a nation election for a decade. Democrats live in all these areas but are not engaged or energized so only the most political of them bother to cast their meaningless votes.

    But hey, politics for the crowd that calls the shots is mostly a hustle. And the American voter apparently likes to be hustled or they’d never tolerate the ineptitude that is Congress, the bri…errr lobbying, and anything else standing in the way of governance with a vision.

  10. Mikey says:

    Seen on Twitter:

    Q: How many Kevin McCarthys does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A: Well, he needs a house first.

  11. de stijl says:

    Republicans don’t really do politics anymore. It’s all performitive. Craft a soundbite. Deliver it to a mic or, better yet, a camera and the day’s work is done.

    In a weird way kind of a way basically a cargo cult. They build systems and processes that resemble governance. They crudely mimic actions they have seen competent legislators do and think it will miraculously work. They cannot even count votes, for fucks sake.

    It is depraved indifference built upon a house of cards on top of a Potemkin Village on top of a cargo cult on top of inmates running the asylum on top of performative politics.

    They know how to run for office and raise money to run for office. Once elected they are fucking clueless. They are the dog that caught the car.

    I’m all out of metaphors.

  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    If national Dems actually cared about these areas (they don’t & neither does national MAGA)

    Democrats do care about those areas, but are repeatedly blocked from attempts to help, and then get blamed for the results by the people doing the blocking.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32:Re: Dems going after rural areas. There’s a dilemma there and I truly see no way to bridge it. Poor urban and poor rural have tons of stuff in common. Industry leaving. Poor schools. Poor and expensive connectivity in a connected world. Lack of local government officials who are determined and smart enough to get the outside help that is available. Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Life long welfare dependence. The list goes on. So it would be fairly easy to craft messaging and policy that appeals to those common needs. Win/Win! (Crowd cheers!)

    But… animals value status very highly and are very good at understanding it. Humans, of course, are animals. And the first rule of status is to make sure you are not the bottom. How high is a question for a different day, but being the bottom of the status hierarchy can literally be fatal. And poor rural and poor urban recognize that they are fighting each other to get off that bottom rung, so any messaging that says, “Hey, if you guys work together you will have at least twice the impact” will immediately get both groups back up. “We are not like those dumb f’s, and screw you for even implying that!”

  14. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I think dogs that chase cars just want to go for a ride.

  15. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: “Academics take it for granted as common knowledge”

    Jest wondering, have you ever actually met an academic? Because you seem to use the word as a catchall for everyone in the world you imagine to claim great knowledge but who actually have no understanding of how the world works. And spending as much of my life around academics as I do, I’ve never met a single one who comes close to matching your image.

    It’s like you’ve created a cartoon character made up of every trait you sneer at in liberals and named it “academic.”

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: It may all be performative, but they’re doing what their sponsors want. Nothing.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @gVOR08:..doing nothing

    I can relate. That was my major in college.

  18. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: Uh….I’m an academic….as are 97% of my professional and social contacts. I also come from a family of Educators…

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Uh….I’m an academic….

    So are we to assume that you are knowingly going for mischaracterization and ridicule of academics or that you just don’t realize that academics are no more monolithic than any other cohort? (Or should I have used “group” so that I don’t sound like an academic?)

  20. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: They are not blocked from anything. They want to “help” on their terms as long as it fits into their neat little narrative.

    This is why the airwaves were littered with the Amazon union pipedream in Alabama but you heard barely a peep about the actual union coal miners on strike in Alabama. A missed opportunity frankly.

    You can’t help people if you don’t know what being talked about on the streets. Not by the people that consume RW media…but people mostly disinterested in politics..I.E the majority. Literally nothing in the Dem platform meets these people where they are. Whether it’s beneficial or not is a separate conversation. People have to be met where they are or you will gain no traction.

  21. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The academics in this case…are the community of people that actually make decisions about what happens politically. The rest of us are in the stands booing or cheering. I’m sure there are academics on the sidelines that know what to do and would do it well. Well, that group ain’t behind the wheel.

  22. Scott says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self-employed
    I love to work at nothing all day


  23. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: You always have very astute analysis and I think it’s very smart to think of coalition building in terms of rural vs urban and class. However, most of the coalition-building difficulties can be sidestepped through framing in terms that transcend tribal equities.

    For instance, many elderly minorities die each summer from heat stroke….orders of magnitude more than elderly whites. We can approach this problem through the lens of racial inequity…or we can simply say that no elderly person should bake to death in their home and hand out ACs. Different framing, an inequity resolved, and drastically less resistance. More complex problems are a bit harder to frame but that’s the gist. We are in a phase of generational change, the old paradigms that worked will no longer work. The supposed “Adult” party needs to see that and unleash their young members to set those new political contours. Boomer politics and paradigms are on a ventilator

  24. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    It’s the dogma that caught the karma.

  25. Kathy says:

    On my ongoing adventures of the BLUESCREEN ][ software, I got an email from the software (really) with a note from someone in accounting, to the effect that the expense report had been rejected due to it having the wrong date.

    There are two problems with this:

    1) Though I made the report on jan 2nd, the date recorded by the system is Dec. 29. The invoices are from Dec. 26 and Dec. 28

    2) There’s no way to enter a date for the report, only for the individual expenses ebing itemized.

    So, I sent a reply email saying “I’ve no idea what the f**g hell you mean. Can you clue me in?” Of course, worded in a much more polite way.

    I’ve received no response so far.

    I wish the people in accounting would keep in mind all the rest of us forced to use BLUESCREEN ][ are 1) not accountants, and 2) not trained in the use of the program other than the very specific area we do use.

  26. senyordave says:

    Academics, elites, ivory tower – it’s those pointy-headed liberals who just don’t understand the regular people. IMO the easiest way to shave off 2% – 4% off the MAGA coalition would be to start throwing some people partially under the bus. Who is first in line? Trans people, immigrants? The other way is to wait until there is a Republican in the WH and do what the Republicans do when there is a Democrat in the WH: whatever you can to hurt the country, whether its playing chicken with debt extensions or undermining foreign policy.
    One of the major problems that the Democrats have is that they are not willing to cross certain lines, whereas the Republicans couldn’t give a fuck if the country goes bankrupt and everyone starves, as long as they are in power. And this attitude is magnified at the state level.
    There is no easy fix to sway 2% to 4% of the MAGA world, it would involve hard choices.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I would really like to see such pragmatic coalition building. It requires a laser focused messaging effort and a willingness to brow beat the press when it starts parroting opposition spin. Remember when the Obama administration identified the difficulties that people with no phone had in applying for jobs, and offered cheap mobile phones with a minimal plan to those in such circumstances? It applied to anyone whose phone service had been cut off or who had no permanent residence, but the Repubs successfully turned it into “Obama phones for Urbans (euphemism alert) and probably kept many rural whites from getting one.

  28. JohnSF says:

    News relating to Ukraine; possibly very bad new for Russia come spring-time.
    France is sending AMX-10RC (the funny French armoured cars, that are no joke at all; 105mm gun, and Ukr seem to thing they will be well suited to on/off road ops on at southern steppe once it dries)

    Until victory, until peace returns to Europe, our support for Ukraine will not weaken. I confirmed it to President Zelensky: France will provide light combat tanks and continue its support in terms of air defence.

    Germany says it will be sending Marder AFV’s, President Biden has said US will supply Bradley AFV’s

    And UK Defence Minister James Cleverly openly spoke of tanks being the next major supply item.
    It’ s significant in European politics; there’s a co-ordinated move to try to lever Germany into supplying MBT’s, but sections of SPD (the “Neidersachsen Network” = Schroder’s old power-base) are still playing dog-in-the-manger.
    France has always tried to never let daylight show between Paris and Berlin (fixed policy since late 1940s). That Macron is moving on armour is significant in this context.

    It’s also, IMO bloody infuriating that it takes this much bloody effort to cozen Germany into actually stopping bloody dithering like a bloody drama llama (hi Lounsbury!).
    Though to be fair, Ukraine is reporting the German Gepard radar controlled mobile AA is doing very, very well as a drone-killer.

  29. JohnSF says:

    Update to above: German ambassador to the US Emily Haber officially confirms Marder supply as “definite” AND will also send one of its Patriot air defence systems.

    Excellent news.
    Next up: Leopards, guys.
    You know you can do it.

  30. CSK says:

    Kari Lake says she’ll permit “illegitimate” Katie Hobbs to “play governor for a while.”

  31. Mimai says:

    The popcorn meme is stale. Has been for a while. A long while. We need (I prefer) something fresh.

    This study, however, is evergreen.

  32. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: “The academics in this case…are the community of people that actually make decisions about what happens politically. ”

    And you think these people teach in universities?

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Well, that group ain’t behind the wheel.

    And who’s fault is that? Maybe they need to grow some balls (or some fallopian tubes as the case may be)

  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: Of course not. There is a nuance between Academics and Educators… the latter being a subset of the former. Many people in leadership positions behind the scenes in government and politics are highly educated with advanced academic degrees in various management sciences across the spectrum of governance. This is a good thing…I myself have a wall of sheepskins and certifications.

    However, Leaders are paid to evaluate where the science applies and where to deviate from the science and apply some occupational art.

    That last step is not happening….so a lot of the good work that Educators and researchers produce (which is informative and good ways to parse complex problems) gets pulled over into the political area by the Academics working in that sphere without application of the art of navigating human factors.

  35. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Unfortunately for We the People, Political Party’s are going to have a tough time finding talent with the smarts and charisma willing to put up with the WWE that is national politics. This will probably be the case until the Murdoch family is run out of the national news market on a rail. Talented people have options…they can make more money and not have to worry about idiots threatening their lives and family.

    Look at the hucksters and fame chasers the GOP is stuck with. It’s not going to get any better for them.

  36. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: We clearly have different lexicons. To me, an academic is someone working in academia. To you, as I read this (and pardon me if I’m getting it wrong), the class includes people who have passed through academia, been awarded degrees, and moved on into the outside world.

    If that is indeed what you mean, then I don’t really have an argument with what you’re saying, and will endeavor to stifle my reflexive irritation when I think you’re blaming university professors for all the ills of the Democratic party!

  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @MarkedMan: The GOP could only do that because there was no engagement in their areas to contradict them.

    Real Estate and Messaging have one big principle in common: Location, Location, Location. Billboards, Radio Spots, Social Media ads could have all been used to inform non-urban people of Obama phones.

    It’s not enough for CNN to tell the Dems side of the story. Red America doesn’t watch CNN and most of them don’t even watch Fox. They get their information from people that watch Fox and go back to trying to figure out how to squeeze a buck out of a quarter. There is a reason why the Fairness Doctrine had success. The “other side” of any issues had boots on the ground. Once it was ended, media could create monopoly bubbles that are unchallenged…. which the RW has weaponized

  38. @Jim Brown 32:

    Academics take it for granted as common knowledge

    Quite the contrary.

  39. @Steven L. Taylor: But, like, @wr, I think you are using that term rather differently than most.

  40. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: Correct. We are in agreement No beef with Men and Women who educate or research for a living. Major beef with highly credentialed (and often times over credentialed ) technocrats in our government bureaucracy who do not account for culture and psychology in the concept designs they put before politicians to champion as policy prescriptions.