Tuesday’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. Kathy says:

    Remember claims that self-driving cars would be much safer and lead to less traffic?

    Well, actual self-driving cars beg to differ.

    I’m struck by this line: “In a tweet, Cruise said that the music festival caused issues with the cell phone networks the vehicles rely on for connectivity, and that it is “actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again”.”

    So, knowing that large events in city locations will 1) require a concentration of vehicles at such locations and, 2) will affect traffic in the area, didn’t anyone think of associated conditions like bandwidth constraints in cell networks?

  2. Kingdaddy says:

    Bad gun news of the morning: a company is making an AR-15 for small children. The marketing is repulsive all on its own, and I encourage you to watch the linked video.


    Good gun news of the morning: remember how conservative justices on the Supreme Court said that gun regulations should adhere strictly to the views of lawmakers in the early days of the country? Turns out that those same lawmakers didn’t have problems writing lots of gun restrictions into law.


  3. Scott says:

    A quick followup from Sunday’s post about the Argentina primaries:

    Argentine peso plunges after rightist who admires Trump comes first in primary vote

    Javier Milei rocked Argentina’s political establishment by receiving the biggest share of primary votes for presidential candidates in the October general election to decide who leads a nation battered by economic woes.

    Milei, 52, wants to replace the peso with the dollar, and says that Argentina’s Central Bank should be abolished. He has said that climate change is a lie and has characterized sex education as a ploy to destroy the family. He has also said that the sale of human organs should be legal.

    Gun ownership is severely restricted in Argentina. Milei proposes the “deregulation of the legal market” for weapons and “the protection of its legitimate and responsible use by the citizens,” according to his party’s electoral platform.

    Why does so much of the news around the world feel like its from the 1930s?

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Good gun news of the morning:

    Not to worry! The Supremes are experts at law. They will find the grounds they need to reverse themselves at the first legal challenge to their current view. 🙁

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Why does so much of the news around the world feel like its from the 1930s?

    Because people who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

  6. Scott says:

    @Kingdaddy: Even kids with toy guns get themselves shot. See Tamir Rice.

  7. de stijl says:

    I do not get why Rs seemingly want Trump to be their candidate.

    He is obviously an idiot. He is a super obvious sore loser, a bad loser, and as a general rule, America hates a pouty sore loser.

    Trump is the Tonya Harding of contemporary American politics.

    He is a bully. A rich bully, who inherited his huge stake from his dad.

    He looks like a crook if we put any weight into indictments, and we will see how it plays out.

    If this were a movie he would be the obvious villain. The rich, dumb, entitled asshole who wanted more power, unlimited power.

    A healthy portion of the electorate wants Donald Trump to be President again. He is a proven loser. You want that chaotic moron in the big chair again? Why? To spite the rest of us? That is so stupid!

    I don’t get it. On policy he is so incredibly ignorant. My cat would be a better President.

    Do they think this will usher in a new age of forever reactionary politics? If so, they are sorely mistaken.

    I think a lot of folks are pining for a new revolution in which they come out on top and then they get to tell us how to think and behave. That is not going to happen.

    No matter who wins in 2024.

  8. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    The MAGAs think Trump is just like them. They refuse to see that he holds them in total contempt.

  9. DrDaveT says:


    didn’t anyone think of associated conditions like bandwidth constraints in cell networks?

    Given that even the US military has sometimes failed to foresee the possibility and implications of bandwidth bottlenecks, it’s not surprising to me that a developmental prototype autonomous vehicle system would not have spent any time thinking about that.

  10. gVOR10 says:

    @de stijl:

    I do not get why Rs seemingly want Trump to be their candidate.

    Depends on which Rs. I think it was Atrios who said that GOP pols all want Trump gone. Adding that the political press all know this but won’t say it. They want him gone, but he has such a hold on the base voters that they don’t want their fingerprints on the knife. Dr. T talks about weak parties. This is a demonstration. In an era of smoke filled rooms he’d never have been the nominee.

  11. Bill Jempty says:

    Just had a process server at my doorway along with our HOA President. The former was looking for a person who rented here before I and the wife moved in. We moved in March 2019, bought the condo in February 2021.

    Seems the ex-resident was in an auto accident and is being sued. We sometimes get mail for this person but of the junk mail variety.

    Told all this to the process server who went on his way.

    Dear Wife and I don’t plan on staying here till we die. We’ve talked about moving to New England. Sometime after she can retire and we are both eligible for medicare. At present our health insurance is through dear wife’s work.

    I also received a phone call from an insurer concerning my flying bidet nozzle incident. Much ado about nothing.

  12. Bill Jempty says:

    @de stijl:

    Trump is the Tonya Harding of contemporary American politics.

    Stop insulting Tonya.

  13. Kathy says:


    I’m under the impression Cruise depends on a third-party cell network, or more than one, for their vehicles’ connectivity. If so, and knowing mass events can affect bandwidth locally or regionally, they should have anticipated it.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl:

    I do not get why Rs seemingly want Trump to be their candidate.

    I don’t pretend to understand what goes through the MAGA mind, but FWIW I think you have the causality backward. Given who the MAGAs/Tea Party-ers are, it was inevitable that they would find someone that talked and acted like Trump to be like catnip (or, perhaps more aptly, meth). I’ve always contended that if Trump didn’t emerge, someone just as obnoxious and out there would be in his place. Unwind to the Pre-Trump Tea Party days, and you may remember Repub politicians returning home from Congress and trying to host a town hall. In the past it would have been a struggle to fill enough seats so it wouldn’t be embarrassing, but suddenly they found a room full of angry and uniformed conspiracy theorists calling them traitors and RINOs and screaming in their faces. Trump didn’t do a damn thing to change the party, except perhaps (perhaps!) accelerate its descent.

  15. MarkedMan says:


    they should have anticipated it

    Maybe they did anticipate it, but couldn’t do anything. If your system requires connectivity, it requires connectivity.

  16. CSK says:


    Before Trump they had “Our Lady Sarah.” (That’s what they called her.) Then Trump emerged, and he was Palin on steroids.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    “Tales From the Generative AI Crypt: Part 228”
    So every day I get four emails from four “different” people, meaning the names and email addresses are different every day. The emails are all informing me that I have been approved for a very specific line of credit always between $450K to $500K ($488K, $472K, etc). I’ve been sending them straight to “Junk” for the last two weeks but my Apple Mail junk algorithm hasn’t figured them out, so I still get them like pseudo-randomized clockwork. I assume they are using Generative AI to stay one step ahead of the algorithm.

    Michael, I know you just think this is an annoyance, but I shudder to think what I will be getting when this is prevalent enough that they start mining my specific information. I’m thinking of the woman who got a phone call from her daughter, which turned out to be a clone of the daughters voice harvested from her social media and used to pull the “I’m in trouble and I need money right away” scam.

  18. de stijl says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Tonya nailed the first triple axel in competition. She was incredibly skilled.

    I wouldn’t trust Trump to drive to the store to fetch a half gallon of milk. He would fuck it up somehow and it would three years of bad, nasty litigation.

    I wouldn’t trust the man to polish and shine a pair of shoes.

    He is utterly incapable. Of anything. Except instigating lawsuits which his minions take care of.

    I doubt he can flush his own toilet.

  19. de stijl says:


    If you live in Iowa you get endless texts from scam shops sending you spam junk texts for President wanna-bes.

    This week from Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley again, Perry Johnson (I don’t even know who that is), the RNC, DeSantis, fake Census Bureau, Ron DeSantis, DeSantis again, fake Census Bureau, political survey, DeSantis, Haley, Trump, Trump, Haley, DeSantis, Desantis.

    7 day window. It is insane. I never open any of them, delete them unread, and block the number.

    I still get a dozen or more texts per week with pics and vids.

    The DeSantis ones are the most egregious. They are purportedly miss-sent to someone named Irvin and I just happened to get it by accident. One “miss-sent” text was addressed to “Almo”. ALMO??!!

    I haven’t voted for a Republican in at least 35 years. Why are they sending me texts?

    I am a registered voter. I vote in nearly every election even low stakes local elections in May or January. I try to be a good citizen.

    Do not even try to watch TV. You will be overwhelmed by the plethora of really bad political ads for every candidate on the block. It is insane!

    Who the fuck is Perry Johnson? I’ll have to look him up. I literally have no idea who that is.

  20. dazedandconfused says:


    Yes, Trump, like the Tea Party, is the expression of the enormous sense of entitlement to power in the white “trash” demographic. The election of a black POTUS happened perhaps two generations before this country was ready for it, spawning a reactionary movement which can’t admit what it is fighting against. Note how fast the Tea Party dropped Glenn Beck when he called for the obviously racist signs to be banned.

    Trump’s appeal is the appeal of a bully, De stgil. It is a feature, not a bug. I think Christy is the only guy running against him in the primaries who knows there is no defeating him without publicly humiliating him in person so he is daring Trump to debate him now using appropriately nasty challenges to Trump’s courage. Unless perceived as a capitulation a bully may withstand even multiple defeats to the “others”, not a even one to an Alpha peer.

  21. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Being “first in the nation” sucks hard and has gotten intensely worse since I first moved here.

    It is nigh insufferable. Crikey freaking Moses!

    The local TV stations make big bank. 75% of ad breaks are political ads.

    It will be thus until the caucuses in January.

    It is insanely obnoxious.

  22. MarkedMan says:


    Unless perceived as a capitulation a bully may withstand even multiple defeats to the “others”, not a even one to an Alpha peer.

    Truer words…

    Christie has surpassed Desantis for 2nd place in NH, and I’m sure it’s exactly for that reason.

  23. Kathy says:


    As soon as I posted, I began to think of several contingencies at work we have no plans for.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I give Christie big time credit for having a plan. He knows what he is doing and where he is going with it.

    I also give him credit for knowing he can’t win but doing it anyway, because I suspect he knows what a trump victory will mean for the country.

    eta: not that this absolves him of his previous sins, but they are mitigating factors.

  25. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    The first election I saw here was 2004. The Rs were stuck with Bush.

    The Ds had a meaty slate.

    There was a standing, ongoing protest directly outside the courthouse about a block and half from where I lived (I lived downtown) from the Westboro Baptist Church. Fred Phelps’ bunch. Those slack jawed idiots who sported the “God Hates f*gs!” signs. Those chuds.

    I’m not, but it truly pissed me off those idiots soaked up media attention every day.

    I had friends. I had acquaintances. I knew people who knew people. We counter-protested those Westboro fools relentlessly. I bought a bullhorn. My friend Jenny thought up the most absurd, brilliant dada-esque protest chants.

    “What do do we want? Tacos! When do we want them? Tuesday!” She was fucking genius!

    The purpose was to not let the Westboro Baptist slime-balls be the only protesters in the background of stand-up live shots for local and national news. I wanted a tangible, seen presence utterly openly mocking those folks.

    It was glorious! It was fun!

    At the time I might have been in a semi, proto relationship undefined thingie with a reporter from the Des Moines Register, and I might have (definitely did) shared plans to her that she subsequently reported on. That wasn’t kosher for either of us.

    One day we showed up several hundred strong. Hey, don’t come around here no more.

    It was spectacular. 40, maybe 50% of the mob was cis and straight, just hated seeing their siblings, their friends, their loved ones disrespected and dismissed so very rudely and wanted to push back. I dig that!

  26. steve says:

    When Westboro protested at our church we baked cookies for them and offered them Bible classes where they could learn about Jesus.


  27. de stijl says:


    You are more Christian than me.

    Which makes sense because I’m not. I wanted counterbalance. More. I wanted to mock them out of existence. They offended my soul. I hated them.