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. Kurtz says:

    I’m well to the Left of the median Dem. I had a shower thought yesterday. I wondered what it would take, in a close election, for me to vote for a charismatic, good faith Republican over a median Democrat.

    Now, this wouldn’t really be a question if the parties were aligned around a reasonable definition of the political center. I would vote for the candidate closer to my positions short of a major competence gap in favor of the GOP.

    Let’s assume:

    1.) Freeze the parties where they are.

    2.) The GOP candidate once in office would be able to take control of the party and move it to the center-right as quickly as Trump turned the party into a total cesspool.

    3.) The candidate would effectively eradicate influence of the crazy, dangerous faction of the party. (Gohmert and Gaetz may hold on to office, but they have no influence.)

    4.) We can trust this candidate is campaigning in good faith–their stated positions are what they believe but also willing to broker deals to move legislation forward and actively work to find solutions to problems.

    I think there is a credible argument to be made that this isn’t just best for the country, but also may be best for the Democratic Party as well.

    Would one almost be duty bound to vote for that candidate?


  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As we leave high school we need to make our voices heard. I was going to get up here and talk to you about TV and content and media because those are things that are very important to me. However, in light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state.

    Recently the heartbeat bill was passed in Texas. Starting in September, there will be a ban on abortions that take place after 6 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. 6 weeks. Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant by then. And so, before they have the time to decide if they are emotionally, physically, and financially stable enough to carry out a full-term pregnancy, before they have the chance to decide if they can take on the responsibility of bringing another human into the world, the decision has been made for them by a stranger. A decision that will affect the rest of their lives.

    I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Every girl here does. We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us. I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant. I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.

    And I’m talking about this today, on a day as important as this, on a day honoring the students’ efforts in twelve years of schooling, on a day where we’re all brought together, on a day where you will be the most inclined to hear a voice like mine, a woman’s voice, to tell you that this is a problem. A problem that can’t wait. I refuse to give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights. A war on the rights of your sisters, a war on the rights of your mothers, a war on the rights of your daughters.

    We cannot stay silent.

    Paxton Smith
    Valedictory Address
    May 30, 2021

  3. CSK says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: You left out a “gold shitting, rainbow farting magic unicorn” from your impossible dream list.

    Would one almost be duty bound to vote for that candidate?

    No. It’s not my responsibility to make Republicans better than they are. They have a choice, they are exercising it. When they voted for t rump they told us exactly who they are and what values they hold. I will always vote for the candidate who’s values most closely reflect my own.

    Not that any of this will ever happen.

  5. JohnSF says:

    I may be mistaken, being an outsider, but I suspect the real problem is with 2)

    “…take control of the party and move it to the center-right…”

    I had previously assumed that the “establishment” Republicans, the professional politicians and staffers and party operatives, and the big donors, would move to purge Trump and his coterie after an election loss.
    Well, I was certainly wrong about that.

    Obviously said establishment is terrified of a Trump-loyal insurgency in primaries and within the party organisations. And also of the potential vote collapse if they defeated the Trumpkins.

    My mistake, perhaps, was in base assumptions derived from a UK party model: except in very unusual circumstances, it is much easier for a party establishment to exert control when they can and do expel dissenters from a party, and where nominations are solely the prerogative of the party. There are no such things as “registered supporters”.

    In this situation it is going to take a whole series of electoral beatings to demoralise the populists, and make the professionals realise they must choose between fighting the crazies or continued losses.
    Even then, it is likely to be messy; there seem to be precedents in your state parties for defeat and decline strengthening the grip of extremists e.g. the California Republicans.
    Perhaps even more when they might have continued state control to fall back on?

    So by the time you get to the point where such a leader would be possible, they would no longer be necessary.

  6. Kurtz says:


    of course it’s impossible.

    Think of it like a thought experiment. I’m curious how people will respond to that choice. Especially around here. It’s more about what people will choose given the set of facts.

  7. Mu Yixiao says:

    Movie recommendation: Boss Level on Hulu.

    It’s a fun action movie that can best be described as Deadpool meets Groundhog Day.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Movement Conservatism pretty much started with Goldwater in ‘64. It has now triumphed, wealthy glibertarians have pretty much taken over the party establishment. They’re pursuing an agenda no one not a billionaire and in their right mind would vote for, and they know it. So they have to campaign on a faux populist platform targeting the most gullible. Fifty years ago income drove voting with the wealthy being reliably R, now it’s education, with the well educated reliably D.

    But this puts a lot of strain on the Party. There’s always been the possibility of the inmates taking over the asylum, and now some of the base are wanting real stuff like health care and jobs, not just blather about abortion and guns. And I see some evidence the craziness is repelling corporations, and that the base is turning actually anti-elite and driving corporations away. Like @JohnSF: says, the only way they’ll reform is if they lose. They may be approaching a crackup, and the responsible thing to do is to help them along.

  9. CSK says:

    I was right. It was Mike Lindell who planted the seed in what passes for Trump’s brain that he’d be reinstated in August. Or at least, Lindell is claiming as much.

    Warning: The article is accompanied by an unusually repulsive photo of Trump.

  10. CSK says:

    I see the edit function is back to according 15 minutes to make corrections.

  11. Jax says:

    Sigh. Yeah, we’re totally letting immigrants apply for asylum because we want them to vote Democratic, not because we want them to have the chance at a better life or anything. They’re onto us, guys, we could’ve had all those extra votes if it weren’t for those meddling Republicans!

    “I’m worried that Biden’s agenda of inviting illegals in order to have them vote Democrat later when they become citizens,” she said. “I worry that’s going to have a horrible effect on America and Americans because they don’t have the same values, they don’t know the constitution and they don’t believe in the Second Amendment.”

    The hotel is not housing immigrants who are in the United States against the law. Migrants arriving at the border have the right to request asylum without being criminalized.

    “I think in taxpayers’ minds, they are illegal immigrants. Biden and Harris may be trying to change the definition of what that means (seeking asylum) in order to gain Democrat votes,” MacMillansaid.

  12. Jon says:


    they don’t have the same values, they don’t know the constitution and they don’t believe in the Second Amendment.


  13. Kathy says:

    Can anyone recommend a book about the immune system? Not something highly technical, or meant for medical students or professionals.

    I was thinking about the pandemic as it was like last year. One development by then was monoclonal antibodies. The hope was they’d serve as an effective treatment, and also as protection for those uninfected. this was salient, because it was thought perhaps vaccines would take far longer to develop, and not prove very effective.

    I don’t know how good they are at the latter, but they haven’t proven too useful for the former, notwithstanding high profile cases like the Orange Turd or his pet lawyer.

    We can simply conclude, “oh, we had it exactly backwards.” But why then is there so much buzz about the antibody production by vaccines as a measure of efficacy, and as a measure of how effective they may be against variants. For the latter, lab tests include taking antibodies from vaccinated subjects, and exposing SARS-CoV-2 cultures to them.

    I need to learn more about the subject of immunity. It’s far more complicated than antibodies.

    Like, how does the body or the immune system know whether an antibody works or not? Your lymph nodes don’t make just one type of antibody that will take on the pathogen. They make many, most of which won’t work at all.

  14. Kathy says:


    “And we’re too bigoted to admit immigrants so later they will vote Republican.”

  15. Teve says:

    Amazon will stop testing most employees for weed

    And they also say they will lobby for legalization.

  16. CSK says:

    You could try In Defense of Self, by William R. Clark.

  17. Teve says:

    Bobby Lewis

    On Fox & Friends, the Governor of South Dakota says a federal judge denying a fireworks permit for Mt. Rushmore is “part of The Radical Left’s agenda” to attack American freedoms with “critical race theory” and “the 1619 Project.”

  18. Jen says:

    @Kathy: An Elegant Defense, by Matt Richtel.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: I think the biggest problem is that the candidate you’re looking for to fill such a slot is already being excluded for higher positions in the party at the state or county level. The parties are pretty good at screening out the potential public servants in their ranks. After all we don’t want anybody who’s not already bought and paid for by special interests at Congressional level, do we? By the time voters are getting to governor on the ballot, the parties know who the whores are and keep everyone else out.

  20. Scott says:


    Warning: The article is accompanied by an unusually repulsive photo of Trump

    That is just Trump’s “No! I don’t want to eat my peas!” look.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:


    “they don’t have the same values, they don’t know the constitution and they don’t believe in the Second Amendment.”

    Where as he has only one value: IGMFY, probably has never read the constitution, and no doubt couldn’t quote the whole 2nd Amendment.

  22. CSK says:

    Yeah, but it’s in triplicate.

    I’m always amused by Trumpkins who claim The Former Guy isn’t overweight; it’s just that all the body armor he has to wear makes him look bulky.

    So how do they explain that 9-pound bag of lard he has suspended beneath his chin?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Veteran’s microphone cut off when he discusses Black people’s role in establishing Memorial Day

    HUDSON — What at first blush appeared to be a short audio malfunction at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in Markillie Cemetery turned out to be anything but.

    A ceremony organizer turned off the microphone when the event’s keynote speaker, retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter, began sharing a story about freed Black slaves honoring deceased soldiers shortly after the end of the Civil War.

    The microphone was turned down for about two minutes in the middle of Kemter’s 11-minute speech during the event hosted by the Hudson American Legion Lee-Bishop Post 464.

    Cindy Suchan, who chairs the Memorial Day parade committee and is president of the Hudson American Legion Auxiliary, said it was either her or Jim Garrison, adjutant of American Legion Lee-Bishop Post 464, who turned down the audio. When pressed, she would not say who specifically did it.

    Suchan said organizers wanted this part excluded because it “was not relevant to our program for the day,” and added the “theme of the day was honoring Hudson veterans.”

    Kemter said he wanted to use his speech to share the history of the origin of Memorial Day. Afterward, he noted, he received “numerous compliments” from attendees who told him “it was nice to hear the history.”

    “It was well-received,” Kemter said, adding many people told him, “I never knew that.”

    You can’t make this shit up.

  24. Kathy says:


    Don’t you know “the right to arm bears” is how you said “get an AR-15” in the XVIII Century?

  25. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What utter nonsense. These people are so f*#%ing fragile.

  26. KM says:

    @Kurtz :

    Would one almost be duty bound to vote for that candidate?

    Hell no! Simply because they would eradicate Trump’s rot means they would at best put the party back where it was pre-Trump…… meaning it would be exactly the same as the people who choose him in the first place with all the underlying problems and ideological flaws ready to be exploited again. The GOP was toxic for decades before Trump got here so unless your hypothetical person can move the party back to pre-Moral Majority and FOX days, they’re useless. Moving the needle to “slightly less lethal” means it’s still lethal.

    Additionally, they’d still be conservative – meaning they’ll enact conservative legislation and ideals instead of the presumably liberal ones you’d be interested in. Does it matter if the POTUS Roe dies under and proto-Gilead arises is Trump or a “better” RINO-type? If more voting rights die under the guy that swore up and down he’d protect them but his party had other ideas, does he get a cookie for not being fully fascist? Him being less Evil than his predecessor doesn’t make him the lesser of two Evils.

  27. Kathy says:


    thanks! I’ll check them out.

  28. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He was obviously an Alinskyite BLM antifa rioter false flag Soros.

  29. Kathy says:


    from the link:

    “Once that evidence is unveiled, in Lindell’s telling, the stunned justices will rule 9-0 to return Trump to the presidency.”

    That’s so cliched, I’m sure these people do believe movies are real life.

  30. CSK says:

    I know! That quote from the article stuck with me as well. Exactly what is this “evidence” that would stun the justices?

  31. Mikey says:

    The Fake History of the Filibuster Won’t Die

    In sum, the Founders did not create the filibuster. It emerged accidentally, was changed repeatedly, and was not “designed” for any purpose, and most certainly not to give the minority party a veto. It’s no more true than George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. It’s a story people made up to rationalize a system that nobody invented because nobody ever would create a system like this on purpose.

  32. Kurtz says:


    I’m not sure there is a crack up coming anytime soon. I’m also concerned about what that crack up brings with it.

  33. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s an assumption. Assume those things are true. The point is to see how you would respond to those things being true.

    We are not looking at the plausibility of the scenario here. I’m interested in how people would behave as a voter.

    If you think it would be bad for the Dems, why?

    If you think, as @KM does, that it doesn’t matter because conservatism is bad. Fine.

    But I’m interested in whether any of you would be willing to pull the lever for that candidate.

  34. Kurtz says:


    Fair enough. But note that in my hypothetical, the party moves to what would be considered center-right.

  35. dazedandconfused says:


    This one is written so everybody can understand it. He almost makes one feel one is reading a good science fiction novel in spots.

  36. Kathy says:


    I’ve put it on the list.

    The odds on favorite will be the one available as an audio book.

  37. Teve says:
  38. KM says:


    If you think, as @KM does, that it doesn’t matter because conservatism is bad. Fine.

    I don’t think conservatism is bad; I think the current version entrenched in the US is. Face it, we haven’t had a functioning conservative party for decades. They’ve openly embraced conspiracy theories and hate since the 90’s at the very least. They haven’t come up with legislation that benefitted America in my lifetime but rather have actively impeded everything from raising min wage to infrastructure repairs. They’re not traditionally conservative as we know it even but rather reactionary and borderline fascist; conservatives want to preserve what they have (ie democracy), not eliminate it because it’s inconvenient to their insane rule.

    We need conservatives just like we need liberals; two sides of a coin to help flesh out legislation and think through complex solutions. We do *not* need FOXbots science-denying the planet into a grave and crying for gunowners instead of victims at every Tues mass shooting. I want to see your candidate thrive in the GOP – I truly do but as @OzarkHillbilly noted, unicorns don’t exist. The Anti-Trump doesn’t exist and if they did would likely resemble someone like Romney with charisma or Obama with Liz Cheney’s ethics and political stance. You are asking if we’d vote for those folks and the answer remains: hell no. The Dems can and would field someone better in virtually every hypothetical so the vote says D.

  39. Teve says:

    We do *not* need FOXbots science-denying the planet into a grave

    In the early 2000s I went to all the news sites, CNN, ABCNews, NYT, etc., and maybe it’s different now but the only one that had no science section was FoxNews. If you searched the site for science all you got were these occasional pieces by a crank named Steven Milloy, whose column was titled Junk Science and was all about how Global Warming was fake, cigarettes don’t cause cancer, pollution is Awesomesauce, etc.

  40. Monala says:

    LGM has the story of how the Stanford Federalist Society attempted to prevent a law student from graduating in retaliation for a satirical flyer the student posted around campus, where the Stanford chapter was hosting Josh Hawley speaking on the topic of “the Originalist Case for Insurrection.” Even though the student posted said flyer in February, the Federalist Society brought a “defamation” complaint against him in May, just in time to screw up his ability to graduate.

    As some commenters noted, as with the Hannah Jones situation, rich, conservative alumni probably put pressure on Stanford to punish this kid. But Stanford received enough negative publicity and pushback that they backed down, with a mealy mouthed announcement that their legal counsel had informed them that satire is protected free speech.


  41. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: you see where this is going? The current right wing attack on CRT and the 1619 Project is going to label anything that mentions racism at all in US history, or even as in this case, black contributions that might remind white people of our racist history (since it was former slaves honoring Union soldiers who died) as CRT and therefore forbidden to be spoken of or taught.

  42. @Kurtz: Let me reformulate what I think you may be asking here.

    Does your scenario boil down to this: If elected a given moderate Republican could magically realign the GOP to a reasonable center-right party, would you be willing to vote that candidate into office, even to the harm of the Democratic agenda, so as to reform the GOP?

    (Shorter version: would you vote for a 4-year term for a Republican if it could, somehow, reset the GOP into a pro-democracy, reasonable center-right party that would ouster the Trumpkins, QANONites, etc.?)

    Is that what you are positing?

    (Even shorter: would you trade away 4 years of a Democrat presidency in exchange for a sane party of the right?).

  43. CSK says:

    @Monala: They’d better repeat law school if they don’t understand that satire is protected free speech.

    P.S. The offer of a GrubHub coupon was a laff-riot.

  44. @Steven L. Taylor: In other words, your scenario has nothing to do with likelihoods, or how things really work, but just as a thought experiment?

  45. JohnMcC says:

    @Kurtz: Well, I believe that the reality of so-called-conservative ‘principles’ that the R-side put up as their ‘platform’ or ‘ideology’ or any expression of ‘conservativism’ failed to win enough votes to ensure the interests of the power brokers who NEED the R-party for tax and business reasons.

    The person you are hypothesizing would resemble Paul Ryan. Who knows he’ll never win another primary in his own party. And that if he won that primary his chances in a general election fairly & openly held are from-zero-to-none.

    And if by some amazing quirk of fate this Paul Ryan clone won the White House… The forces within the R-party would have them governing in a fascist-adjacent way that we know so well.

    So, that’s my take. Thanks for making me more depressed! (smiley face emoji)

  46. @Monala: I think the current attack on CRT is part of a long-running attempt at finding buzzwords to attack and it will move on to something else at some point.

    While I do not like, not one bit, state legislatures and other politicians trying to micro-manage curricula, actually being able to accomplish that outcome is harder than it seems.

    Even if, for the sake of argument, they ban teaching CRT (whatever they think that means), are they also going to ban teaching about the legislation to ban to CRT? (As just one example of the absurdity of the whole thing).

  47. just nutha says:

    @CSK: And how is it that such convincing evidence was overlooked up to now? The fix must really be in tight if even the Republicans wanted it suppressed.

  48. Monala says:

    @CSK: commenters also pointed out that it’s probable that the highly paid administrators making these decisions don’t have law degrees, and are unwilling to listen to law school faculty explain it to them.

  49. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You nailed it. Yes. That’s what I get for trying to be slightly less obvious about what I was getting at.

  50. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: it doesn’t mean the attempts won’t have a chilling affect. For example, attempting to erase this man’s benign attempt to recognize Memorial Day’s origins in former slaves’ ceremonies to honor fallen Union soldiers, first by editing his speech and then by cutting his mike. Or the professor in Oklahoma whose long standing class on race and ethnicity was recently eliminated, with administrators claiming CRT as the reason.

  51. just nutha says:

    @Kurtz: In that case, no, I wouldn’t. Continuing along the path we’ve been on for the last 30 years would not be incentive enough. We need a different path–which is why Perot, Greens, LP, and FG get traction in the first place. The reason FG didn’t have any appeal to me was because I know that he’s a liar and an incompetent. He wouldn’t have been capable of implementing any of the positive stuff he was saying even if he’d intended to do it–which he didn’t.

  52. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yes. A poorly explained thought experiment.

    Ignore likelihood. I probably made a mistake with the “freeze the GOP” line.

    I’ll wait for responses to your clearer prompt before I explain any further.

  53. Scott says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Dumb laws like banning certain kind of teaching or curriculum can lead to absurd results. I can see some teacher engaging in what I call “malicious obedience” on a requirement to teach both sides of an issue (as in a Texas bill). Like a discussion about the Holocaust: Good Idea or Bad. Slavery: Pros and Cons

  54. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: LGM just posted another article about the Memorial Day speech, that addresses this issue:

    Having spent some time studying the invention of the idea of “political correctness” in the early 1990s, I’m fascinated by the current reboot of the very same by now incredibly tired tropes as “cancel culture” and “wokeness.” Just as was the case with the original complaints about PC culture, this is all a massive case of projection by the proponents of the original and still by far most dominant form of political correctness in this country, which is simply white supremacy in all its guises, overt and covert.

    That form of PC/Cancel Culture is based on the fundamental axiom that making a white person feel bad about being white is the very worst form of racism there is — in fact it’s pretty much the only real form of racism that still exists — and that we must stop that from happening by any means necessary.


  55. @Monala: Trust me, I am not saying that it isn’t a negative thing, because it is.

    I was just cautioning not to take the consequences to an extreme.

  56. flat earth luddite says:


    But I’m interested in whether any of you would be willing to pull the lever for that candidate.

    No. Quite simply, no.

    Not for reasons of D or R. Simply because once a dog’s bitten me, I don’t give him/her/it a second chance. The real party of your imaginary friend (excuse me, candidate) has spent my entire life screwing over, belittling, and generally running roughshod over those they perceive as lesser.

    But you go ahead and propose “unicorn rainbow cotton candy” candidates. Dream on, but meanwhile the stable’s still full of something, and there ain’t any sparkles in it.

  57. Mu Yixiao says:

    Interesting cultural observation today.

    The mask mandate in the county where I work expired yesterday. The company is now “mask optional”. We have a significant percentage of Asians (mostly Hmong) working here. The Asians are about 80% masked. The rest of us are about 20%)

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..edit function is back to according 15 minutes

    While I am grateful for this return to a more useful function now let’s see if the EDIT key can be made to appear when each post is made. Also I still think that the EDIT key should be available til the end of the day.
    ETA: Had to reload the page one time for EDIT key to appear.

  59. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I don’t know how such compelling evidence of Trump’s win in 2020 was overlooked. Lindell says that he “spoke about it with [his] lawyers, and they said they should have something ready…to bring before the U.S. in Supreme Court In July.”

    Lindell says now that he “hopes” Trump will be back in office in July.

  60. MarkedMan says:

    @Kurtz: No. The Republican Party is dead and irredeemable. Better to work on creating support for Dems and Independents.

  61. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Does your scenario boil down to this: If elected a given moderate Republican could magically realign the GOP to a reasonable center-right party, would you be willing to vote that candidate into office, even to the harm of the Democratic agenda, so as to reform the GOP?

    Dems get asked this sort of thing all the time: why won’t they change or sacrifice themselves to benefit the GOP? “Saving the GOP” should not be on the minds of any other party’s voters just like “saving the Communist Party” wouldn’t even be a glimmer of thought for MAGAts. We’re expected to be the adults once again in the scenario and save them from the natural consequences of their actions under the aegis of preventing them from wrecking things or themselves further.

    It’s the same scenario wherein liberals are asked why they can’t nominate GOP-Lite so that might attract the momentary gaze of moderate conservatives. Everyone knows nobody’s pulling the lever for that DINO because they’re not R-Anything but the suggestion gets floated constantly. Only the GOP can change itself – if it cannot reform from within, no amount of help from the outside short of a complete teardown will work. If the Anti-Trump cannot survive in that political environment, what the hell are they doing running a “conservative” anyways? They’d have better luck trying for the D nomination to snag the coveted “middle of the road” spot…… kinda like how Trump jumped ship when it became clear the GOP was the place he could thrive and gain power.

  62. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    My edit function generally vanishes in the early afternoon. As of 2:11 p.m., it’s still here.

  63. @Mu Yixiao: I have noticed that the Asian students on campus are still mostly masked (although, the sample size is small since most of our classes are online this summer). The mask mandate ended here just under a month ago.

  64. Kathy says:


    I don’t know how such compelling evidence of Trump’s win in 2020 was overlooked.

    Ever hear of spectral evidence?

    I’d be willing to bet the pillow guy hasn’t, either. But this is about the only “evidence” left for fraud.

  65. dazedandconfused says:


    I wonder how much Mike’s lawyers are charging him, and how many hours it will take for them to build this case.

  66. @KM: It’s not my thought experiment, so I don’t take full responsibility for it.

    Still, I think a lot of folks, perhaps yourself included, are missing the point of the question.

    I would note:

    1. Yes, I would sacrifice four years of a Dem in the WH if that meant, due to some mystical arrangement, that we could have a sane GOP. (I would stress “mystical” and my use of “magical” above before someone tells me how unrealistic I am being since I am literally making reference to unreality).

    2. I think a lot of people are illustrating here, however, that their objections aren’t really to the Trump GOP, but rather to the GOP IN general, even if it is the GOP of GWB or even Eisenhower.

    But if #2 is the case, then that really blunts the justification for dramatic concern over Trump. Further, it validates what a lot of people who rationalized supporting Trump said back in 2016: the critics say they are upset about Trump, but they really just don’t like the GOP (or they said: Dems called Reagan and Bush Hitler, too, so the Trump critiques are the same old same old).

    There is lot to criticize the GOP for, going back decades. But I still think Trump is qualitatively (and quanatitvely) worse than anything that came before.

  67. @Mister Bluster:

    Had to reload the page one time for EDIT key to appear.

    In my experience, a refresh always gives me an edit function. I don’t worry too much about it because I have other author-level powers if I need them.

  68. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    You must use these powers wisely.

  69. CSK says:

    “Spectral evidence” is a new one on me. But given that Trump is always raving about witch hunts, perhaps he believes in it.

    You’d think Lindell’s lawyers would be busy trying to get a handle on the one billion dollar Dominion lawsuit.

  70. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah, yeah, rub it in Oh Mighty One. 😛

  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kurtz: the party moves to what would be considered center-right.

    Just exactly what does that mean? I can almost guarantee you that it means something different to you than it does to me, and I can absolutely guarantee you that it means something different to Repubs than it does to either of us.

  72. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: I appreciate your trying to create a hypothetical to explore whether under some circumstance it would make sense to strategically vote for a Republican for prez to reform the Party. Others have pointed out that your assumptions are strained. But even if I accept your four assumptions, they are insufficient to cause one to vote R.

    3.) The candidate would effectively eradicate influence of the crazy, dangerous faction of the party. (Gohmert and Gaetz may hold on to office, but they have no influence.)

    This would have to be rewritten. Gaetz, should he survive the next year, may be a dangerous crazy, but not Gohmert, or, say, Taylor Greene. You also have to stipulate removal of the crazies that have actual influence, the remaining Koch Bro, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelson’s widow, and the rest of the Billionaire Boys Club, including the seemingly hundreds of big car dealers. And you also have to remove their various foundations, think (sic) tanks, the Federalist Society, the Club for Growth (sic), and the rest. And if they go, a big chunk of the Party’s funding goes with them.

    But beyond that, it’s not enough that your four conditions be assumed true. There is a separate and distinct 5th condition that must be met, that we believe them to be true.

  73. dazedandconfused says:


    $300 million AND incredibly gullible…it don’t grow on trees.

    Can his lawyers say “mother-lode”? Of course they can.

  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There is lot to criticize the GOP for, going back decades. But I still think Trump is qualitatively (and quanatitvely) worse than anything that came before.

    t rump is the perfect distillation of everything the GOP was becoming when he rode down the escalator in 2015. He can’t be worse than the house he was so warmly welcomed into. And by the GOP, I don’t mean the Rubios, Cruzes and Bushes who thought trump was just an upjump line cutter, but the voters they’d been feeding red meat rhetoric to for decades. It was inevitable that sooner or later the base would demand something a little more substantial than just empty words. Besides, FOX told them that trump was the chosen one.

  75. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Braggart.

    FTR, there are times when refreshing the page gives me the edit function about 80% of the time. Other times when I get it automatically, and then there are all the times when no matter what I do I can not get one. These times all vary w/o rhyme or reason.

  76. Jax says:

    Ha! Hahahahahahaha!! From the National Review, no less. The Orange Guy is gonna be MAD at Charles Cooke and say mean things about him.

    The scale of Trump’s delusion is quite startling. This is not merely an eccentric interpretation of the facts or an interesting foible, nor is it an irrelevant example of anguished post-presidency chatter. It is a rejection of reality, a rejection of law, and, ultimately, a rejection of the entire system of American government. There is no Reinstatement Clause within the United States Constitution. Hell, there is nothing even approximating a Reinstatement Clause within the United States Constitution. The election has been certified, Joe Biden is the president, and, until 2024, that is all there is to it. It does not matter what one’s view of Trump is. It does not matter whether one voted for or against Trump. It does not matter whether one views Trump’s role within the Republican Party favorably or unfavorably. We are talking here about cold, hard, neutral facts that obtain irrespective of one’s preferences; it is not too much to ask that the former head of the executive branch should understand them.

  77. flat earth luddite says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    FWIW, I have learned the hard way that when I hit refresh and get an edit button, IF I change anything and then save it, the entirety of my comments vanishes into the bog under the bridge, never to reappear. However, as so many others have noted here, mine is not the only mileage that varies.

    But despite the bugs/features, I appreciate the opportunity to interact with people of varied backgrounds and expectations. I don’t always (or even often) agree with some/most/all of the contributors, but there’s always something to think about. Even though none of you appreciate the wisdom of us flat earthers (snark eyeroll emoji insert) – just wait until the cat pushes all you unbelievers off the edge of the disc!

  78. just nutha says:

    Testing, testing, 1…2…3… Check, check check.

    ETA: Edit function activated after one reload at 3:52 EST.

  79. just nutha says:

    @CSK: @dazedandconfused: As much as I’d like to believe that he’s getting sheared like a sheep, all this bs about his lawyers and July is just for the consumption of the faithful. And his lawyers are probably only working on what it will take to get the suit dropped without fatally embarrassing FG, Kraken girl, and Pillow entrepreneur.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @flat earth luddite: Ooh ooh ooh… You just reminded of another quirk in the system. Sometimes I will post something and get an edit button right away. BUT…. if I actually attempt to us it, the comment I want to edit is not the one that shows up in the box, it is some previous comment I made. It’s like the Edit function is trying to tell me,

    “Hey, are you sure you meant to post this embarrassing bit of drivel 20 mins ago? I’m telling you, you really want to delete it.”

  81. wr says:

    @CSK: “he “spoke about it with [his] lawyers, and they said they should have something ready…to bring before the U.S. in Supreme Court In July.””

    I keep seeing this quote around. But isn’t the Supreme Court out of session from late June until the first Monday in October?

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: They’ll make an exception for him.

  83. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I think you’re right. The question of whether Trump believes this July-August bullshit is a slightly different one. Of course it boosts his monumental yet extremely frail ego to believe he’ll return in triumph to the Oval Office this coming August. But even he must realize that Pillow Guy, Kraken Girl, and L. Lin Woodenhead are the crackpottiest of crackpots.

    On the other hand, if suggesting that he’ll once again become president helps to fleece the rubes, then…

  84. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:..the entirety of my comments vanishes into the bog under the bridge, never to reappear.

    That sequence of events did happen to me at least once however it was maybe a month ago. More recently my comments vanished a week or so ago when I tried to post them for the first time. I thought that the moderation monster hooked them but did not get that notice.

    @Jax:..Yeah, yeah, rub it in Oh Mighty One.
    I question the wisdom of testing the goodwill of our host.

  85. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Jax is no longer with us. 🙁

  86. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Exactly. FG is different qualitatively and quantitatively, but he’s not different by kind or sort. He’s simply the most worst example.

    So far…

    ETA: Request for edit granted twice in a row. First time in several months that’s happened.

  87. CSK says:

    The Supreme Court is typically in recess from late June or early July till the first Monday in October. So Lindell better urge his lawyers to hurry.

  88. @OzarkHillbilly:

    He can’t be worse than the house he was so warmly welcomed into.

    If that is true then all the pro-Trump defenders are right: anti-Trumpers are just engaging in ever-escalating hyperbole and they really don’t mean it, up to and including the criticism of the 1/6 insurrection. If Trump=Reagan (or GHWB or Eisenhower or whatever) then that means all the freak-out over Trump is just the latest in performative hysteria.

    Are you really wanting to stake out that position?

  89. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Still, I think a lot of folks, perhaps yourself included, are missing the point of the question.

    We understand the point of the question; it doesn’t change the answer. Even in the thought experiment, if the GOP can only be restored to “sanity” by Dems and Independents deciding to sacrifice their candidate for a bunch of ill-defined maybes backed only by promises (for instance how long would the sanity hold? Is it just at the national level?), then it’s not worth it when we can get a POTUS who would align with our values and attempt to enact our preferred legislation. If the GOP can’t heal from within without assistance, there’s no guarantee any move to the center will hold. Change must come from within in order to be sincere and last; you can force people to rehab all you want but unless they are willing to engage, you’re just perpetuating a cycle of relapse that’s unsustainable. If the Anti-Trump can’t get power from his own base without Dems, then he can’t move them towards the center and keep them there the hypothetical posits. Any gains would be quickly lost to those who recapture the attention of the base and we’re back to square one.

  90. CSK says:

    Where’d she go?

  91. gVOR08 says:


    I’m not sure there is a crack up coming anytime soon. I’m also concerned about what that crack up brings with it.

    As I said, the GOPs “may” be headed for a crackup. It sure feels like things can’t continue as they are, that somethings got to blow. But it’s felt like that for some years now, so I’m not at all sure it’s going to blow, and if it does, it may not be soon. At a minimum they’ll carry on for some time in many states. And yes, I’m also concerned about how a crackup might go. Even if the GOPs don’t do some last ditch Trumperdammerung, like, say, making voting difficult and giving state leges the ability to overturn elections, Ds without effective opposition might become as entrenched and corrupt as Rs are now.

  92. Here’s a hypothetical:

    The choice is a Trumpesque (corrupt, rude, racist, talks about not respecting the election results, etc.) Democrat (promises to raise taxes on the wealthy, appoint pro-choice, pro-LBGTQ Justices to the SC, etc.) versus a George H. W. Bush-style Republican.

    Who ya got?

  93. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    The problem is that I can’t conceive of a Democrat who fits this description. It’s hard to think of a Republican (maybe Marjorie Taylor Greene) who does. Even the loathsome Gaetz is more civilized.

    That’s the problem with trying to find a Trump clone. Trump is sui generis.

    His utter boorishness can’t be equaled.

  94. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There is lot to criticize the GOP for, going back decades. But I still think Trump is qualitatively (and quantitatively) worse than anything that came before.

    While Trump is certainly personally worse than any previous GOP president, it’s not at all clear to me that he took the party to a worse place. He might simply have removed the camouflage from the place they already were.

    As for the original thought experiment… I guess I don’t see that having a successful party dedicated to the protection of wealth and privilege is of noticeably more value to America than the current GOP is. Wealth and privilege don’t need the help.

    Now, would I trade 4 years of bad governance for a future in which the surviving parties were a center-left party and a progressive-labor party? Absolutely.

  95. CSK says:

    A lot of the people who purport to adore Trump have also stated that he’s the first G.O.P. candidate who truly represented them, although they’re forgetting they said the same thing about Palin. They settled grudgingly, they say, for both Bushes. And Romney, whom they abhor at present. Now they claim to have hated McCain. Even Reagan seems to pale in comparison to Trump.

  96. @DrDaveT:

    it’s not at all clear to me that he took the party to a worse place.

    Just spitballin’ here, but no previous GOP president encouraged an attempted insurrection.

    Or, tried to suborn electoral fraud.

    (And I am not defending the GOP’s honor here, but this is really an empirical question).

  97. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: 1. – I too cannot see that happening to Dems. But if it did (2. -), your GHWBush clone person. Of course.

  98. Kathy says:

    This note is interesting and puzzling. United has placed an order for 15 supersonic Overture jets from Boom*.

    I wouldn’t say it’s big or earthshaking, though, Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines placed orders for the Overture, and have invested money, years ago.

    What’s puzzling is the piece quotes a cruising speed of Mach 1.7. I distinctly recall Boom’s Scholl, the founder, said over Mach 2.2 when the project launched, and ever since then. Concorde, for reference, flew above Mach 2.

    * I still think “Boom” is the absolute worse name for an airplane manufacturer, and doubly so for one developing a supersonic jet.

  99. @CSK:

    A lot of the people

    I realize I am poking the bear, so to speak (I am just acknowledging that I am needling a bit here to make a point) but at the end of the day this not much better, from a systematic point of view, than prefacing a comment with “a lot of people are saying…”

  100. Jay L Gischer says:

    The number one thing that Democrats can do to reform the Republican party is to win elections. Losing is the only message we can send that will get them to change.

    (Crossover voting in primaries is another thing altogether…it’s a very risky thing, though, and I don’t recommend it.)

    In order to win elections, we have to appeal to a majority. Frankly, with all the structures that favor Republicans, we need to appeal to more than a majority. This means we need to live with people like Joe Manchin. This means that while I wish blessings on Bernie and Elizabeth, Joe Biden was a better candidate. That’s not the same thing as “Republican Lite” in my book, but to some it seems to be.

  101. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Well, I’m basing my comment about “a lot of people” on what I read at I don’t know whether they believe that Trump is our greatest president ever, but they certainly say it a lot.

    But seriously, can you dispute what I said about Trump being unrivaled for his boorishness?

  102. Kurtz says:


    My prompt was muddled. I should have been more careful when posting. I wanted to get it in early and sacrificed clarity. Totally on me.

    I would dispute that Koch, Mercer, et al are crazy. They aren’t. They are rational if one accepts their philosophical priors.

    Whether those assumptions are rational, I know where you and I stand. And I, of course, think our objections are correct.

    I’m not ready to give my take on the hypothetical and explain why I posed the question just yet. Probably in the open thread tomorrow.

  103. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I can only speak for myself but that’s not my position. Yes, The GOP has been in decline since Party officials crafted the Southern Strategy during Goldwater’s campaign. They made a deal with the devil: Leave the Dems and we we will tacitly support you in your Jim Crow governance. But that didn’t immediately turn the Party as a whole into what they are today. There were still many decent Republican leaders. And even then, they could have pulled back in’68 when Nixon ran. Instead Party officials decided to double down. Same with Reagan, who introduced a new poison: Don’t expect a competent government. On and on. Republican Party leaders came to a number of forks in the road and always chose the worse path. Up until the Tea Party, when they lost control. Party leaders no longer can get in front of the mob. When Trump showed up every “powerful” leader of the GOP did everything they could to stop him, only to find they no longer had any power.

    At this point the party literally stands for nothing. January 6th saw crazed racists get inside the Capitol and briefly seize control, shitting on the floor and urinating on the desks. But since the Tea Party those shambolic goons have been inside the Republican Party, despoiling the institutions and attracting more and more wing nuts to their mob.

  104. Jax says:

    @CSK:(Giggling) I’m still here, they were just messing around cuz I was teasing Dr T about his “author-level” editing ability that’s unavailable to us peons who would make many sacrifices to the WordPress Gods for a regularly functioning Edit button. 😛

  105. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Which came first: trump or the GOP?
    Was trump so almighty powerful a persuader that the GOP was an entirely sane organization before his campaign but by the end of it he had convinced them all to go over the edge?

    Steven, the GOP was fertile ground for the noxious weed that is trumpism long before he ran. FOX news had prepared it quite well.

  106. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: The gods do not take kindly to dares. s//

  107. Mister Bluster says:

    F. Lee Bailey has died.

  108. Mister Bluster says:

    F. Lee Bailey has died.
    Yahoo News

    (No EDIT key this time)
    ETA Make a liar out of me squirrels…

  109. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    but no previous GOP president encouraged an attempted insurrection.

    I think you are conflating the party leadership with the party itself. Today the party pays no heed to those leaders. In 2021, the party IS the goons. It is the gun toting spittle flecked mob that stormed the Michigan legislature. It is the Tiki torch gang. It is the Arizona legislature and their clown car audit. Anyone who couldn’t stomach has gone to the sidelines or actually left the Party. The self castrated “leaders” that remain aren’t the Party. They are allowed to be the house mothers in Animal House, cleaning up after the crazies and handling the paperwork, but only on the condition that they crawl to Trump and stroke his ego.

  110. Kylopod says:


    That’s the problem with trying to find a Trump clone. Trump is sui generis.

    His utter boorishness can’t be equaled.

    It’s also that what makes Trump Trump encompasses a variety of things, so when people talk about some hypothetical “Democratic Trump,” it’s not clear what they have in mind. Sometimes they mean a celebrity who enters politics with no prior experience. The rumors about Oprah running for president were premised on the idea that she could be a Democratic answer to Trump. I’ve heard some people compare Bernie Sanders with Trump, because he’s a “populist” or a “cult of personality” or some such nonsense. Sometimes I’ve used the analogy of Louis Farrakhan winning the Democratic nomination; I know it isn’t remotely plausible, but at least it gives a picture of what a racist demagogue seizing the party might look like.

    Or how about a Democrat who’s shamelessly corrupt or guilty of sexual harassment and/or assault? There are plenty of those already.

    The word “boorish” strikes me as inadequate in summing Trump up. It’s not just that his boorishness is off the charts, it’s that it’s only a slice of what has made him such a grotesque and corrosive figure. LBJ was a boor. LBJ would never survive in today’s Democratic Party, but the point is that you can be a boor and still do great things. Trump isn’t capable of doing great things, not just because he’s incompetent, but because his essence is inherently destructive–literally the only thing he knows how to do is take advantage of other people by tricking them into accepting him in roles for which he’s blatantly unqualified. That’s what he’s been doing his entire life.

    The only sense in which there could be a Democratic Trump is an alternate history where Trump himself decides to run for president as a Democrat–though even there, it’s inconceivable he’d have gotten very far since that’s just not what the Democratic Party was ever seeking.

  111. CSK says:

    Sure. “Boor” was just my shorthand for what Trump is. “Malevolent, proudly and profoundly ignorant, corrupt, bigoted churl” might have encompassed it.

    The point is, I can’t think of anyone like him. That’s why I say he’s sui generis.

  112. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Just spitballin’ here, but no previous GOP president encouraged an attempted insurrection.

    As I said, Trump is personally contemptible, beyond any prior GOP president. But I don’t see how this rebuts my point. When he encouraged an attempted insurrection, how did the rest of the party react? Not, in general, with horror and indignation. They were already there ahead of him; he just brought it into the open. I find that hypothesis much more plausible than that Trump’s force of personality caused Republicans who had until then been opposed to sedition (by Their Team) to turn their coats.

  113. Kurtz says:


    OT, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your profession?

    I was trying to figure it out, because I think I had the impression for a long time that you are a physicist or biologist? But I have no idea why. More recently, I thought, “wait, I think he’s a physician.”

  114. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Easy peasy. If the Dem is Trumpesque, then I have to assume that his word means nothing, and he’s incapable of carrying out whatever agenda he’s promising out of rank incompetence. G.H.W. Bush may well be the last honorable Republican–as pathetic as that level of honorableness may be–we’ll ever see.

    My choice? I’ll still look for a credible third party candidate knowing that he or she won’t win and can’t govern even in victory (Just like I did in 1988 and 1992, btw.) BUT, in a ranked choice voting scheme, I’ll vote for Bush clone second rather than leave my ballot blank after one round.

  115. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    No edit button this time (8:16 EST). Please add, “On the other hand,” to sentence three, paragraph one.

  116. Teve says:

    44 years with no tatts. But I’m kinda thinking my 45th birthday in 3 weeks may deserve one.

  117. Mu Yixiao says:


    44 years with no tatts. But I’m kinda thinking my 45th birthday in 3 weeks may deserve one.


    If you’re thinking about getting a tat, create the design (dear gods, don’t pick one off the menu!) and then tape it to your bathroom mirror or fridge door. Leave it there for 6 months. If you still want it, find a competent tattoo artist and get it.

    If you can’t look at it on the mirror/fridge for 6 months, you won’t want to look at it on your body for 60 years.

    Never get a tat on a whim.

    (I have about 60 hours under the needle)

  118. Jax says:

    @Teve: Funny you should mention that. I just found a bunch of tattoo’s I designed myself 25 years ago and I think I finally might be ready to do it.

  119. DrDaveT says:


    OT, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your profession?

    Applied mathematician, though I’m more analyst than number cruncher these days.

  120. Kurtz says:


    I don’t think you considered those designsong enough. Add another 10 years.

  121. Kurtz says:


    Okay. So I struck out swinging.

    I’ll go sit in the dugout now.

  122. Kurtz says:


    I may request to pick your brain at some point in the next couple months.

  123. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: I don’t know, I kinda like the “tribal fire” tramp stamp from when I first started “drawing to what they wanted”. I ran out of tattoo artists I trusted. I just found another one, the “Scales of Justice”, for a back piece….I might need to finish that one as a full grown-up. I forgot I used to draw that much.

  124. @CSK:

    I’m basing my comment about “a lot of people” on what I read at

    Yes, but that is not exactly a representative sample, nor a good way to truly understand much of anything (save what commenters on think).

    And yes, Trump is incredibly boorish. But that isn’t his worst quality, nor is it what threatens our system of government.

  125. Christine says:

    @Teve: I left the restaurant business in 2000 and have never looked back. The days of depending on the kindness of strangers to pay my bills as a server in an upscale restaurant was perhaps the most stressful thing I have ever experienced even with crappy schedules, zero healthcare, the physical toll and sexual harassment. Each week was a nightmare struggle.