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. Scott says:

    Dealing in reality is a continuous problem in this country and seems to always lead us down a wrong path. Here’s one example: crime.

    Is there more crime in the US than a year ago? 78% yes
    Is there more crime in your area than a year ago? 38% yes

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: People always think crime is worse than it used to be. I can’t help laughing at them because for so many, crime is just a thing they read about or saw on TV.

  3. sam says:
  4. wr says:

    And just as a kicker to the weekend’s long lectures about how icky progressives are destroying Democrats’ chances because everyone hates them and everything they say, the new Des Moines Register polls finds that 56% of Iowans are opposed to the ban on teaching CRT, while on 34% approve. In fact, only 57% of Iowa Republicans are in favor. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/2021/06/29/iowa-poll-law-targeting-critical-race-theory-schools-ban-teaching-some-racism-sexism-concepts/7720792002/

    So maybe when you find progressives annoying and find yourself turning against even your own beliefs because of them… quite possibly you aren’t actually speaking for the entire country, but just for yourselves.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: Not sure if you are including me in there, but I was part of that discussion, so I’ll bite.

    You have completely twisted what was being said. You went from the reality, “The way a minority of lefties interact with people who believe in their causes is counterproductive, and calls into question what those lefties are actually trying to accomplish”, to a total fabrication, “These so called allies will drop their beliefs if they feel mistreated.”

  6. CSK says:

    Nikole Hannah-Jones has declined the position at UNC-Chapel Hill, and will instead accept a journalism chair at Howard University.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    For those amused at watching Rod Dreher’s antics, Our Dante Boy has managed to pancake himself totally with a hysterical rant about the US women’s basketball team supposedly “disrespecting” a U.S. veteran which a) got everything ass-backwards and b) was fisked into oblivion by almost every commentator.

    Considering the number of times that Our Dante Boy gets things wrong and has to back down, you’d think that he would have learned to actually check to see whether the clickbait he so gullibly swallows is in fact true before showing his lack of cross-checking to the entire internet. Remember Stalin’s comments about “useful idiots”? Dreher is the epitome of such. No wonder he stopped being an actual journalist and now spends his time burbling about how wonderful Victor Orban is and How Everyone Should Buy His Next Book.

    (Oh, and Dreher has now finally come out of the closet and admitted “soft authoritarianism” is what’s needed to Fix America.)

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: That’s a boss move

  9. CSK says:


  10. de stijl says:

    I was out for a nice long ramble this morning pre-dawn to post-.

    I happened upon an urban bunny licking at a discarded beer can around sun-up. After a minute of amused watching I decided to walk into her/his circle of prey anxiety and walk on.

    It was a can of Lagunitas IPA leaking backwash in the gutter. Lil bunny friend was not just a booze hound, but a relatively high-falutin’ one. And at sun-up too. Hard-core.

    I decided that was a superb time to listen to Beer For Breakfast by The Replacements.

    I always greet my morning bunny and squirrel friends and wish them a good day. The occasional opossum pre dawn.

  11. Kathy says:

    Brazilians are cherry-picking vaccines.

    I can’t say I blame them. Had I gotten any of the Chinese vaccines, I’d probably later gone to Vegas or san Antonio for one or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. But amid scarcity, you take whatever shot you can.

    I wonder, too, whether people are getting third shots, too, say after two doses of AstraZeneca. Or second shots after taking the J&J vaccine.

    On a related note, I read a few months back that no pandemic has ever been ended by a vaccine. This is debatable, but we can say none has been thus ended in the initial outbreak of pandemic. the reasons are: 1) there were no vaccines at all (think the plague of Justinian in the 540s CE), 2) the outbreak burnt out before vaccines were ready (H1N1 in 2009), 3) it burned out without vaccines and/or no vaccines could be developed (SARS).

    Now, though, we have the combination of an insidious pathogen, vast numbers of uninfected targets, and vaccines developed in record time. So we’d expect the trump pandemic to be ended with vaccines.

    Alas, 4) not enough vaccines to go around, and 5) too many people won’t take the vaccines.

  12. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Dreher was never an actual journalist.

    A dyed in the wool polemicist.

  13. de stijl says:


    Good on her! The UNC-Chapel Hill situation and the way if unfolded was the epitome of bullshit major donor big-foot meddling.

    Why would she grin and bear it? They officially withdrew the offer due to donor mishegoss.

    Even today, major institutions demand that black America be gracious, compliant, and ever-forgiving.

  14. Kathy says:

    I finished season 2 of Discovery, and I confirmed something I’d noticed the firs time around.


    Proceed at your own risk.

    So, seeing they can’t erase or destroy the sphere data Control is after, and how they can’t stop Control, our intrepid heroes try to send the data into the future, out of Control’s reach.

    Fine. And I liked the idea of moving the series setting to the far future.

    But they completely destroyed Control just before Burnham figures out the future jump required. The danger was over, the data secure, and there was no longer any reason to do a one-way trip to a different millennium.

    The other thing is that as Discovery prepared to jump into the future to keep the data safe from Control, they had Control aboard their ship all along.

    It’s kind of like the writers ran into a singularity where the laws of narrative break down…

    Also, did anyone else think Good Evil Georgiou should have told Control “Missed it by that much!”?

  15. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (Oh, and Dreher has now finally come out of the closet and admitted “soft authoritarianism” is what’s needed to Fix America.)

    So, fascism. JFC these stupid assholes.

  16. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: ““These so called allies will drop their beliefs if they feel mistreated.””

    That is the message being sent by MR… constantly.

  17. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: just went to Dreher’s site.

    The thing is, as an Orthodox Christian, I don’t believe that this is only something we impute to material objects. I believe that a priest is the channel through which God’s grace is mediated in a particular way, but the grace is an actual spiritual force. I know that the divine is truly present in some things and places, and not in others. I also believe that the demonic is likewise present in some things and places. I once interviewed a woman who could not get books to stop flying off her shelves in her house until she burned and buried the ashes of two little humanoid wooden figures she and her late husband had bought at a bazaar in rural Indonesia on a vacation. She had not imagined it, but those objects had been used in some kind of wicked ritual. When she placed them on her bookshelf, she would wake up the next morning to find all the books splayed on the floor.

    If you have ever been part of an exorcism or a deliverance rite, you know that holy water is not the same thing as water that comes out of the tap. People who are demon possessed, it burns them. A couple of years ago, I was in Manhattan visiting friends. The wife of the family is (or at least was at the time) possessed, and under the care of an exorcist. When her husband brought out a blessed object he had concealed, she reacted badly, her face changing, and a voice not her own coming out of her, cursing the presence of this object. I saw this with my own eyes. The poor wife apologized, and said, “I’m sorry, that’s not me.” [I wrote about it here.]

    So he’s a complete loon.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: My suspicion is that anyone who loudly proclaims his adherence to a top-down, traditionally organised religion claiming jurisdiction over anyone has little difficulty in carrying the mindset over to How Society’s Government Should Be Organised as well. After all, can’t let those horrible unwashed peasants actually have a say in who rules over them….

    (There’s some other articles on TAC which go down the reactionary bolthole. Never knew there were so many would-be monarchists on the internet. Of course, most of them intend–if such a society were to come back into existence–to be at the top or very near the top. Not for them the position of being a helot….)

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: I never actually counted, but Dreher seems to write a thousand words plus for TAC per day. Taking Sundays off. It’s highly repetitive, of course, but with that kind of quantity you can’t expect quality.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Or second shots after taking the J&J vaccine.

    I’m thinking about it.

  21. Teve says:

    The GOP chair in Oklahoma is supporting a primary challenger against Sen. Lankford, because Lankford didn’t try to stop Biden’s certification. These stupid assholes are 100% going to try to steal the election in 2024.

  22. de stijl says:


    Dreher is in major need of an editor.

    He writes thousands of extraneous words daily self-indulgently.

  23. mattbernius says:


    Nikole Hannah-Jones has declined the position at UNC-Chapel Hill, and will instead accept a journalism chair at Howard University.

    UNC’s board fucked around and found out.

  24. sam says:

    @de stijl:

    He suffers from scriptorrhea.

  25. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:

    So, fascism.

    Not necessarily.
    A lot of other countries are, in various different ways, a lot more “socially authoritarian” then is the United States. And the degrees of social and political coercion vary semi-independently (US historically quite low on political coercion, but at least in some areas fairly high in social conformity enforcement).
    Some countries are so socialy coercive as to be abhorrent, some not.
    (And what gets coerced changes over time)
    The overall trend temporally, in most cultural areas is to greater “liberalism” in the sense of personal autonomy.
    But the US is still rather an outlier of the spectrum, in some respects.

    Japan, for instance, is by all accounts much more coercive culture than the US.
    But fascist?

  26. Teve says:

    Apparently Fox News is going to launch a new weather channel. They’ll probably have hour-long investigative journalism stories about how we need to burn more carbon to fight Global Cooling.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: Extraneous words seems to be the style of all the other writers at TAC too, except Bacevich. They all need an editor.

  28. gVOR08 says:


    Japan, for instance, is by all accounts much more Japan, for instance, is by all accounts much more coercive culture than the US.
    But fascist?

    I happen to be reading Ian Toll’s Pacific War trilogy. He talks about Japanese society up to and through the war. It turned not Fascist, but more totalitarian than Germany, very easily.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: It’s not hard core-ness; it’s that bunnies live by the line from Stumptown:

    Drink, Dex? I mean, it must be 9 am somewhere in the world, right?

    As to drinking IPA, well, to each their own, but I suspect the bunny of being more opportunistic than discriminating.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: As someone who lived and worked in Japan for over 10 years, I’m always somewhat bemused about people trying to shoehorn Japanese social/political mores into anything Western. It just….ain’t. (I also have a rant about Japanese teachers trying to map Japanese grammar onto Indo-European grammar, but let’s not get started.)

    It might be, um, somewhat unkind, but if you think of Japan as a bunch of coordinated goldfish all swimming in one direction, then the shoal suddenly changes direction when a rock gets plopped into the water, you’ll get a better idea of what’s going on. Japan tries on things. Enthusiastically. Look at the beginning of the Meiji period, when it managed to catch up on hundreds of years of isolation and technologically surpass other countries (Russo-Japanese war, anyone?) in a very very short time. So in the 1920s Japan tried on Western facism/colonialism/stupid war attacks, got pounded into the earth with the added bonus of two atomic bombs dropped on them, and decided “well, let’s not do THAT any more…”

  31. CSK says:

    Demon-possessed? Seriously> Dreher can write that with a straight face?

    Where was this published?

  32. JohnSF says:

    Quite a few European countries can be authoritarian in their own ways, too.
    e.g. the burqa “bans” in France, Demark, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland etc.
    Or the comparative limitations on freedom of speech.
    UK had anti-blasphemy laws until 2008; Ireland until 2020.
    Or abortion; which is often much more limited: in the UK it could be said there is no right to abortion in law (practice is a different matter).

    And let’s not even begin to start on gun laws.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s not about ‘the whole country,’ it’s about the 5% to 10% of voters who might be moved one way or the other.

    Here’s a poll with a very different read on the issue.

  34. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    But also in Japan, sometimes some “subschools” of fish can get a separate groupthink going, and try to redirect the whole shoal, sometimes quite violently.
    See the “Politics by Assassination” of inter-war Japan, when a fishy school of officers decided that the govermnet must be coerced into more enthusiatic militarism.
    Or the diehard nature of the Japanese Communist Party; they could really get their streetfight on, for time.

    Japanese society is rarely very individualistic, but is often “groupistic”. (I’m sure there’s a technical term in sociology but damned if i can remember it)

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr: @MarkedMan:

    That is the message being sent by MR… constantly.

    No, it’s not, as @MarkedMan points out.

    You’re a Hollywood guy teaching film to New York college kids. You seem determined to keep up on the woke treadmill, and good luck with that, but I DGAF about college kids from Park Slope, I’m concerned that we hold the House by a hair and the Senate by even less and the 2022 election is a huge hill for us to climb. We’re probably 17 months away from being neutered politically. Do you not understand that? Do you not understand that our job is not pandering to self-satisfied elites but holding on to enough power to help actual people in the real world?

    Do you think spending the next 17 months arguing over issues generated by the Brown University Liberal Arts Faculty is going to get us to where we can help people living in tents? Every day that the social media and MSM debate is about some fucking academic’s theory is a day when we aren’t talking about homelessness or reforming the police or reducing economic inequality or climate change or getting 100 million morons vaccinated. That is our goddamn job as Democrats, not debating the past, or arguing over which new euphemism is the right euphemism, or whatever the tedious solipsists of academia come up with next week.

    Priorities, FFS.

  36. Jen says:

    @Teve: I wondered when something like that was going to happen. The Weather Channel features plenty of articles that either focus on entirely, or mention in passing, global warming. It’s probably seriously triggering for the Faux News crowd to encounter.

    A weather channel without those articles but straight-up forecasts could probably generate a fair amount of revenue through advertising, especially if they keep any of their loons from including commentary and keep it straight-up weather forecasts only.

  37. de stijl says:


    I have at most spent a few dozen hours in Japan. I have zero claim on any authoritative view.

    From outside looking in, they handle sub-cultures better than the West does. It is deemed as a minor fetish, a fancy.

    If you want to cos-play as Elvis Costello downtown on weekends that is your fancy and we as a society can accept that. No harm. No foul. Go back to work Monday morning.

    That is pretty adaptive and free-thinking compared to other societies. In other regards Japan’s consideration of the rights, privileges and prerogatives of women are not what I consider acceptable.

  38. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I like Stumptown a lot.

  39. sam says:


    Japanese society is rarely very individualistic, but is often “groupistic”

    Many years ago PBS in Boston put on a Japanese film festival. Edwin O. Reischauer introduced each film. One of the films, a very beautiful film, was The Harp of Burma. The movie is about the aftermath of the surrender of the Japanese forces in Burma to the British forces. A small Japanese unit is a hold-out, but one of its members has been captured by the British. He tries to convince his fellows to surrender, but they refuse. They finally agree when a detachment of British soldier sings to them. After the surrender, the unit is awaiting repatriation to Japan and the soldier who tried to convince them to lay down their arms and come out tells them he will not be going home with them. He intends to remain behind and dedicate himself to giving all the dead Japanese soldiers he can find a proper Buddhist burial. His fellow soldiers try to convince him to join them, he is set on his course. Reischauer said that this was, for the Japanese, extremely powerful, emotionally powerful, as it went against the group ethos that was so strong among the Japanese of that time.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: There was an essay I read quite a while back about how the Japanese Army kept “indulging” their junior member hotheads (Junior officers would do something without the authority of the chain of command, then their higher-ups would claim oh no they had orders to do such) which is how a heck of a lot of the stuff in China etc. before WWII got “authorised.”

    And a lot of people probably don’t know that there was an attempted coup d’etat right before Japan’s surrender by a group of those same junior hotheads trying to keep the Emperor’s broadcast from being transmitted. Luckily they couldn’t find support (at last!) from the higher-ups and the attempt crumbled.

  41. Joe says:

    (I also have a rant about Japanese teachers trying to map Japanese grammar onto Indo-European grammar, but let’s not get started.)

    I spent a year in Japan, grumpy realist, among other things studying Japanese. It took me about 4 months before I rebelled from the attempt to map Japanese to western adjective, verbs, adverbs grammar. I drafted a one-page flow sheet explaining Japanese grammar as I understood it (it didn’t really differentiate much between verbs and one subset of adjectives). My teacher seemed impressed (read: was polite) and asked to borrow it. But I never saw it again. This is all a long way of saying, “I agree with you.”

  42. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:

    Japan’s consideration of the rights, privileges and prerogatives of women are not what I consider acceptable.

    That would be our view; but in a broader perspective Japan is probably closer the “liberal” end of attitudes to women than many (most?) societies in the past.
    And perhaps even today.

  43. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Yes, I’m familiar with that.
    My university dissertation was on the wartime and post-war politics of atomic weapons, largely in relation to US/UK/USSR relations.
    And in the process I also learnt a fair bit on the attitudes of the various Japanese groups in 1945.

    And looking at Japanese civil/military relations in the 1920’s/30’s is enough to make most people think “WTF?”

    That’s what I meant about “groupsistic” as opposed to either “individualistic” or “collectivistic”; Japan seems to have a pattern of quite ferocious, even bloody, contests, between groups of various sorts (religous, clan-based, political) and often involving sponsors with “implausible deniability”.
    Out of which an overall Japanese consensus somehow emerges.
    That’s the part that totally baffles me: how and by whom is consensus determined? The switch from bitter contest to (relative) unanimity.

  44. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    As an outsider I’ve said before; the 2022 elections are important.

    Things will go a lot better in 2024 if the Republicans do not hold congress and decide to invalidate an election they dislike.


    Dear Democrats:
    You do not have permission to screw this up.
    Yours sincerely,

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Dreher is in major need of an editor.

    An editor can’t fix what’s wrong with him, he needs therapy.

  46. de stijl says:


    Womens rights are human rights.

    Japan and SK needs to catch up on this.

    This is me claiming authority over which I have zero say so on.

    I am uncomfortable with the way Japan and S Korea treats half of its citizens. It bugs me and will continue to bug me. I am not cool with it.

    I want a better world. Sue me.

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The guy is just going deeper and deeper into loony-toons territory

  48. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Oh, I agree with you.
    Think is, we have to realise that, certainly historically, and arguably globally today, we are the exception.
    And that a very large percentage of the world simply doesn’t care what we think.

  49. de stijl says:


    We can continue to nudge them in the right direction.

    No harm in that. In fact, I consider it my duty. Not assholish, but insistent and consistent.

  50. Kathy says:

    Remember all the stories that Republican officials secretly hate trump, and would renounce him once he was out of power?

    Well, the opposite.

    I guess that’s what happens when a trumpectomy is not complete. Maybe we can try exorcism next.

  51. Teve says:

    Raw Story says that as of 2:00 p.m. today Fox news had mentioned critical race theory 123 times.

  52. Teve says:

    I’m reminded of that study that showed that people who watch Fox news score lower on a news quiz than people who watch zero news.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Bend the arc of history, as some wise men have said.

  54. Teve says:

    Hospitals in Springfield Missouri are starting to run out of ventilators due to Covid deniers. Derpity derp derp.

  55. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “That is our goddamn job as Democrats, not debating the past, or arguing over which new euphemism is the right euphemism, or whatever the tedious solipsists of academia come up with next week.”

    And to your list I’d add “whining about what progressives say on Twitter.” Because that’s pretty much your entire contribution to the glorious struggle here.

    And I’m pretty sure you are completely missing the point — it’s not that we should listen to and debate the issues of Bennington sophomores. It’s that we should not be spending our time and energy talking about how terrible they are, since that only reinforces their message.

  56. CSK says:

    Mike Lindell says that Trump will be reinstated by the morning of August 13–and a number of senators will be evicted and replaced–and that this event will be “the talk of the world.”

  57. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    How are opossums still extant?

    They are unperceptive, slow, easy prey. Yes, they can “play possum” but predators eat dead prey yes?

    Nevertheless, every instance I meet I call them Blossom and wish her or him well.

    Where I used to live had wild grape vines growing up around the porch and up the window frames and screens. Come late August to early September my porch was Possum central. I would hang out and watch them get their munch on. It was pretty awesome, possum! Blossom.

    I would be feet up on the sill smoking a ciggie and sipping a beer and possums would climb up for ripe wild grapes that taste like crap (I tried one as a self-dare).

    Five feet away. My feet inches away.
    Music playing. Candle burning. They loved them some ripe sour grapes.

    Gotta respect that. Urban animal adaptation behavior.

  58. Kathy says:


    I know he’s a recovering addict, but I must ask: What’s he been smoking?

  59. CSK says:

    I was wondering the exact same thing.

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I can’t read him. I don’t know how people do.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Misery: “Hold muh beer! Watch this!”

  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: In honor of you ‘possum soliloquys today, I gift you with 5 pounds of ‘possum.

  63. de stijl says:


    Dreher could make a succinct point with an editor.

    Without one, a newbie has to read 4000 words before she nods to “He’s a reactionary golden age fetishist.”

    An editor saves time.

    Have you seen a Dreher post? It is 29 unrelated paragraphs about grievance.

    Greenwald makes Dreher look wordy. Birds of a feather.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Have you seen a Dreher post?

    Yeah, not only that, I read it. That’s how I know I need never read another one.

    ETA: seriously tho, the man has several unhealthy fixations on sex. I worry for his wife.

  65. de stijl says:



  66. de stijl says:


    I worry for his kids. Wife signed on in good conscience as an adult.

    Kids are shanghaied into daddy reverence until 14 when they revolt and start punk bands.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Yeah, the kids. But adults do stupid unhealthy things too because… “love is blind.” While not quite true, it does cover the bases.

    Case in point, me. My ex was/is… sick. I didn’t see it because… tbh I didn’t want to see it. We all tell ourselves lies, some lies cost more than others. I paid. And paid. And paid. And paid. And paid. I paid when my ex went to prison. Both times. I paid more when she got out. What was I gonna do, dump it on my sons? Nope.

    I know others who paid a lot more than I did. My wife, the love of my life, with her ex for one. He only tried to kill her, twice. A neighbor, not as lucky, who bled out on the tavern stoop while I picked up the shattered remnants of her children from the sidewalk.

    None of which is to say Dreher is any more of a physical threat to his wife than my ex was to me. But the mind fuck? It took me years to get my mind right again, and there are times when I still wonder if I have.

    When my eldest got married, I told him I wanted nothing to do with his mother. I wanted to sit far away from her. I didn’t want to do any parent pictures with her and me in them. I wanted nothing more than to not interact with her in any way shape or form. That might seem over the top, but you don’t know my ex, and you don’t know me*. I wanted my son and his wife to have the marriage they deserved and continue to have the life together that they deserve. As such, those restrictions still apply.

    * I have my own demons, best to keep a lid on them.

  68. de stijl says:


    Knowing what you want and where your boundaries are is good. Healthy.

    I hope your kid was okay with it. Weddings force unwanted fake reconciliations for the sake of a picture no one actually wants to see ever. In the history of mankind no one ever actually wants to see your wedding album pictures I fucking guarantee.

    People overvaluate pictures as reconciliatory gestire and object. It never works. It never reconciles. It usually is just grist for a new grievance.

    There is a picture of me and my mom semi-hugging and smiling. It is fake. She hated my presence when I was her responsibility. I actively disliked her.

    As an adult with a long view I understood she was likely profoundly manic and depressive throughout my formative years in ways not entirely her fault. I understand that. It does not make growing up in her direct care retroactively easier.

  69. DrDaveT says:


    So, fascism.

    Ah, but it’s soft fascism. Like a plush grenade.

  70. DrDaveT says:


    I’m thinking about it.

    Um, have I missed something? What’s wrong with the J&J vaccine?