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. Kylopod says:

    A little walk down memory lane: The 1994 gubernatorial race in Maryland when Democrat Parris Glendening narrowly defeated Republican Ellen Sauerbrey (soon to earn the moniker “Sour Grapes”), who immediately challenged the results in court, claiming massive voter fraud was responsible for the outcome. Being from Maryland, I vaguely remember the episode when it happened. I was 17. But reading about it now, I was struck by the parallels to the present day.

    Sauerbrey’s suspicion that the election had been stolen began shortly after the polls closed on Nov. 8, 1994. She had taken the lead in the vote count early and held it throughout the evening, but as the night wore on, Glendening votes started rolling in. By the time a dejected Sauerbrey left her headquarters about 2 a.m., her lead had vanished, thanks to late-arriving votes from Baltimore City.

    On the drive home from her victory party, Sauerbrey turned to her husband, Wilmer, and said, “I won that damned election, and all we have to do is prove it.”

    Sauerbrey had carried 21 of the state’s 24 jurisdictions. But the three places she lost are the most populous — the City of Baltimore and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — and rumors abounded among staunch Sauerbrey supporters about alleged Democratic chicanery.

    There were rumors about a “lost precinct” in downtown Baltimore and the “100 percent precinct,” where everyone eligible voted. Bizarre conspiracy theories were rampant among GOP loyalists, including “the Kennedy precedent”: Hadn’t John F. Kennedy stolen the 1960 election in Chicago, and wasn’t Glendening’s running mate, Kathleen Townsend Kennedy, a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy?

    Because she couldn’t demand a recount, Sauerbrey geared up for a lawsuit, a process that dragged on virtually to the eve of Glendening’s inauguration more than two months after the election.

    She raised more than $400,000 — $25,000 of it from the National Rifle Association — to finance the costly legal process. At a fund-raiser in Baltimore, then-Senate Majority Leader and soon-to-be presidential nominee Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) said, “The battle’s not over yet. If we stand for anything in our party, it’s integrity at the ballot box.”

    To prepare her appeal, Sauerbrey turned her headquarters in the Baltimore suburb of Timonium into a two-story bunker, requiring photo IDs to enter. The walls were filled with posters — “One Man, Five Votes,” “Ellen Sauerbrey IS Governor” and, next to a picture of a ghost, “I Voted Too.”

    More than 900 volunteers worked round-the-clock for two months, amassing and photocopying nearly half a million voting records, comparing them against lists of the dead, prisoners and others who should have been purged from the rolls. They vented their frustrations by smacking a three-foot inflatable doll adorned with Glendening’s face. They slept, if at all, in nearby motels.

    Several of Sauerbrey’s original lawyers quit after she spent $100,000 to hire a New Jersey lawyer and election specialist with a national reputation for aggressive tactics in uncovering election fraud to supervise the investigation.

    On Thanksgiving eve, when the official canvass was announced — Glendening was declared the victor by 5,993 votes, out of 1.4 million cast — Sauerbrey released a one-sentence statement that summed up her view: “Everybody knows that turkeys weren’t the only thing that was being stuffed in Baltimore city this month.”

    Two days after Christmas, when Sauerbrey’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, they alleged that nearly 50,000 votes had been cast illegally. The suit sought either that Sauerbrey be installed as governor or that a new election be ordered.

    But by the start of the week-long hearing, on Jan. 9, 1995, the credibility of her more sensational charges had eroded. She had charged that 37 dead people had voted, but in just two days, Washington Post reporters found 18 of them alive. Sauerbrey also had to back away from charges of fraud, and instead concentrated on sloppy election procedures; the number of challenged votes was cut to just 3,600, not enough to change the result of the election even if all the contested ballots were thrown out.

    A gleeful Glendening attorney derided the suit as “the incredible shrinking case.”

    Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Raymond G. Theime Jr., a Democrat who made public that he had voted for Sauerbrey, ruled that about 1,800 votes had been cast by Baltimore City voters whose names should have been purged from voting rolls. But he said Sauerbrey had provided no “clear and convincing” evidence that procedural errors, much less fraud, had materially affected the “purity of the election.”

    Nonetheless, a defiant Sauerbrey reiterated afterward that “this election was stolen and the ballot boxes were stuffed” and vowed she would “never, never, never” give up. “This is the end of Round One,” she said. That night, 500 Sauerbrey supporters raised $100,000 for an appeal, but the next day, one of her attorneys convinced her that the odds were against prevailing.

    So Sauerbrey finally gave up, still declaring, “I will always believe we won the election. The problem is, we weren’t able to prove it in the time we were given. . . . There comes a time when your head has to rule your heart.”

    She ran against Glendening again in 1998 and lost handily.

    At least she never encouraged her supporters to storm the Maryland capitol building.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about: Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists

    The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said.

    Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread. The study concludes that chemical pollution has crossed a “planetary boundary”, the point at which human-made changes to the Earth push it outside the stable environment of the last 10,000 years.

    Chemical pollution threatens Earth’s systems by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life. For example, pesticides wipe out many non-target insects, which are fundamental to all ecosystems and, therefore, to the provision of clean air, water and food.

    “There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team. “The pace that societies are producing and releasing new chemicals into the environment is not consistent with staying within a safe operating space for humanity.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: “History never repeats itself but it rhymes.”

    -Mark Twain

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the other hand: Seeing 1,000 glorious fin whales back from near extinction is a rare glimmer of hope

    Good news doesn’t get any more in-your-face than this. One thousand fin whales, one of the world’s biggest animals, were seen last week swimming in the same seas in which they were driven to near-extinction last century due to whaling. It’s like humans never happened.

    This vast assembly was spread over a five-mile-wide area between the South Orkney islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. A single whale is stupendous; imagine 1,000 of them, their misty forest of spouts, as tall as pine trees, the plosive sound of their blows, their hot breath condensing in the icy air. Their sharp dorsal fins and steel-grey bodies slide through the waves like a whale ballet, choreographed at the extreme south of our planet.

    The sight has left whale scientists slack-jawed and frankly green-eyed in envy of Conor Ryan, who observed it from the polar cruiser, National Geographic Endurance. Messaging from the ship on a tricky connection, Ryan, an experienced zoologist and photographer, says this may be “one of the largest aggregations of fin whales ever documented”. His estimate of 1,000 animals is a conservative one, he says.

    Conor Ryan

    We found about 1000 fin whales over a 5×5 mile area off South Orkney. Blue and humpback also mixed in. Mind completely blown @LindbladExp

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Forgot to add, 40 sec. video at the tweet.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: This explains an odd thing that happened in 1999. We were at a wedding and one of the guys seated at our table was the typical horrible wedding guest. Loud, obnoxious and no matter how anyone tried to change the subject he kept coming back to politics. Early on, when he was talking about how corrupt MD Dems were, I pointed out that Spiro Agnew was a Republican. “No he wasn’t. He was really a dem disguised as a Republican!” You know, he was essentially a Trumper. But then he started going off about how black men (of course) had burst into voting sites with machine guns and carried off the ballot boxes. The press and police were in on it and wouldn’t investigate. Yeah, a trumper.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Talked to my youngest last night. He and his all came thru the covid in pretty good shape. He goes back to work today. Lyriel (his 8 mo daughter) probably had it, but her symptoms did not last long. His wife had the hardest time with it and she happened to be the only one not boosted (not yet eligible).

    So, get boosted.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Vaccinated and fed up.

    Oh to be at the tipping point where pissing off the unvaccinated is a political winner.

    But what looked like a risky move for Macron could prove to be a more politically shrewd calculation, not because of whom it alienates, but rather because of whom it doesn’t. In France, and in other democratic countries around the world, the unvaccinated make up a relatively small segment of the population. Macron and his peers in countries such as Australia and Italy have calculated that condemning this group could be more politically effective than pandering to it. Even world-famous celebrities such as tennis star Novak Djokovic, whose unvaccinated status dashed his hopes of defending his Australian Open title, have become the targets of politicians’ ire. By taking a tougher line on the unvaccinated, Macron and other democratically elected leaders facing elections this year may be courting an energetic new voter base: the vaccinated, and ever more impatient, majority.

  9. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Glad to hear they all came through it ok! I love your granddaughter’s name, it’s very similar to my youngest daughter’s name, Lyrik. If I’d have thought of Lyriel at the time, though, I’d have picked that! 😛

  10. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’m fairly sure Macron was doing several things at once with his “piss them off” statement:
    – Reinforcing his reputation for being decisive and blunt spoken: a “non politician” response
    – Warning the unvaxxed and anti-vaxxers the French state was not going to back away from a fight if they wanted one, so they might as well get vaccinated.
    – Setting a trap for his political opponents. The antivax minority is a generally a Right wing thing, so conservative politicians forced to choose to either annoy mainstream voters, or a section of the “enthusiatic” activists.

    Also, reading the article re. Djokovic noticed this:

    “Alienating Serbia is clearly undesirable…”

    Somehow I doubt Scott Morrison will lose much sleep over being unpopular in Belgrade 🙂

  11. Kylopod says:


    …I pointed out that Spiro Agnew was a Republican. “No he wasn’t. He was really a dem disguised as a Republican!”

    During his gubernatorial run, his Democratic opponent was George P. Mahoney, an open segregationist, and he ran to Mahoney’s left, earning the support of some liberals and civil-rights leaders. Once in office, he shifted dramatically to the right on race issues and became a hardcore law-and-order guy.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    Somehow I doubt Scott Morrison will lose much sleep over being unpopular in Belgrade

    A late friend, who was an expert in east Europe affairs, pointed out to me a couple of times that Serbians, were the most difficult national group to deal with in a region full of difficult characters. Joker is typical.

    Canberra is a long way from Belgrade, Serbia offers nothing that Oz needs and the Aussie populace is pleased that Joker has been shown the door.

    Setting a trap for his political opponents.

    As an observer, this is quite delightful. A political tactic that pants your opponent is something to savor.

  13. Jen says:

    Justice Gorsuch is a class-1 jerk.

    Via NPR:

    It was pretty jarring earlier this month when the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court took the bench for the first time since the omicron surge over the holidays. All were now wearing masks. All, that is, except Justice Neil Gorsuch. What’s more, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not there at all, choosing instead to participate through a microphone setup in her chambers.

    Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19.

    Sotomayor was diagnosed as a Type-1 diabetic as a child, back when you had to boil glass syringes to administer insulin.

    That a colleague would demonstrate this level of disregard for a vulnerable coworker tells me everything I need to know about Neil Gorsuch. Mostly that he doesn’t deserve to be where he is, because anyone who DNGAF like this shouldn’t be in the position of determining law for others.

  14. MarkedMan says:


    That a colleague would demonstrate this level of disregard for a vulnerable coworker tells me …

    … that he’s a trumper.

  15. Gustopher says:

    Far-right Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik gives Nazi salute at parole hearing

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that this is not the best approach to winning over the parole board, unless he knows something about the parole board that others do not.

  16. CSK says:

    Aaaaand…Breivik has a Swedish neo-Nazi leader testifying on his behalf as well. That ought to go down really well with the parole board.

  17. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Well that, too, but remember that Amy Covid Barrett has pledged that justices don’t go to work with ideological agendas, so he’s just a waste of communal air, not a partisan hack.

  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    This weekend’s project.




    I still need to go in an mask off the label closer, feather out the paint by hand, and paint that halo in.

    When I started, I didn’t realize that the entire thing is steel-clad (I’ve got picks of it completely stripped and shiny). Half a day with wire wheels on a drill (and occasionally running across my hand) to strip, smooth, and polish the steel. Another 2 halves with tape and a matte-knife blade cutting the masking.

    The paint I used for the first coat was terrible. It ran and dripped all over, so I had to go back and hand-sand that down and re-apply (definitely go with Rustoleum over Krylon).

    I’ll do a little bit of smoothing of the wood on the inside (still haven’t decided if I should varnish it or not). And then… It’ll sit on a shelf until I die. 🙁

  19. JohnSF says:

    Things are getting very, very twitchy in the Baltic.
    Sweden deploys military reinforcements to the island of Gotland .
    Appears related to Russian Baltic Fleet activities.
    Possibly also to reports of drone activity in Swedish airspace.

    A lot of Swedes think it is a typically unsubtle Russian response to Sweden recently repeating that it has the right to join NATO and may do so.

    Meanwhile not far away, RAF transports are delivering anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and providing training and support services: Operation ORBITAL.

    In Berlin Chancellor Scholz and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg meet, and state:

    “The risk of a conflict is real,…NATO allies call on Russia to de-escalate.”

    Sleep well.

  20. CSK says:

    This does not bode well.

  21. Kathy says:

    You know how the pro-COVID faction keeps saying people are dying of comorbidities and not COVID? Rebecca Watson has a video and post about the latest false claims on that.

    I was thinking, why not add “unvaccinated for SARS-CoV-2” to the list of comorbidities?

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Her full name is Lyriel Persephone.

    Lyriel means lyrical. Persephone is the goddess of the underground, which as a caver I rather like. She is also the “embodiment of spring”.

    So, a lyrical spring.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Looking good.

  24. flat earth luddite says:

    I’d like to hear “questions, comments, observations” from any of you good ol’ souls about the magazine subscription offer I got this morning:

    Garden & Gun is a dynamic Southern lifestyle magazine that captures the soul of the new South; the sporting culture, the food, the music, the art, the literature and the ideas. With lush photography and award winning editorial Garden & Gun appeals to everyone with a strong connection to the land, and all things Southern.

    Strangely enough, just last night I heard from a long-time friend that he and his sweetie are leaving the neo-lib enclave of Canby* for scenic Hattiesburg, MS.

    *ironic labeling – Canby is a rural-ish enclave that tilts pretty hard-right in liberal Portland area, IIRC. But they’re both staunch R’s, anti-gummint, etc., etc.

  25. Stormy Dragon says:

    Some good news:

    There’s been a hilarious fake trailer for a Weird Al Biopic named “Weird” running around the internet for several years. Apparently the people behind the fake trailer are making an actual Weird Al Biopic named “Weird” starting Daniel Radcliffe as Yankovic

  26. Mu Yixiao says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Aside from the “southern culture” aspect of it, “Gardens and Guns” sounds like a bog-standard conservationist magazine.

    The vast majority of people on OTB equate gun ownership with radical militias and Ruby Ridge radicals. The incredibly bad leadership of the NRA has done a whole lot to encourage this.

    Liberals see all guns as “things designed to kill people”. If I were to walk around my rural area and ask people two questions–1) do you own a gun? 2) why do you own a gun?–answer 1 would be very high on the “yes” side. And answer 2 would be very high on the “hunting” side.

    My father owned 5 guns. Two were historic and couldn’t be fired. Of the other three, all were for hunting–a shotgun for fowl, a .22 for small game, and a .30-06 for deer.

    If you do a little research, you’ll find that significant amounts of DNR funding comes from the license fees from hunters. You’ll also find that hunters and fishermen are some of the most vocal and aggressive defenders of nature conservation–including strict enforcement of environmental protection laws.

    Here’s another example of messaging that the Dems are fucking up: Hunters and fishermen are absolutely more aggressive about–and personally invested in–environmentalism than urban Dems (who’ve probably never seen a copse, much less a woods or a forest). But those Dems demonize “the rural hicks” and paint them as dangerous because they own hunting rifles.

    And a pet peeve: Anyone who says that “assault weapons” (a completely made-up category based on looks) are more dangerous needs to watch the opening to The Rifleman. 12 shots in ~5 seconds using a 1892 Winchester lever-action rifle.

    The far right and the NRA are overly aggressive and pig-headed in their position. The left is uninformed and paranoid in their position.

  27. steve says:

    Agree that hunters are often really good environmentalists. However, shooting your lever action that fast means about zero accuracy. The fast pull guys working on an AR 15 can hit 5-6 shots per second. Would be a lot more accurate though still not great I would expect.


  28. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Thanks, I was afraid I’d be hearing the echo of silence on this one. Although your comments make me think that either I was hearing a dog whistle that wasn’t there, or you’re ignoring a dog whistle that was there.

    To paraphrase Tom Selleck from the movie, just because I don’t carry a gun doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use one. That’s a common mistake that a lot of people on the right make.

  29. Stormy Dragon says:


    In Pennsylvania, at least, semi-automatic rifles are banned for hunting big game (and have only been allowed for small game and furbearers since 2017). Big game also requires a minimum caliber of .24, so even if semi-automatics were allowed, AR-15s would still be banned for being too small caliber.

  30. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Yeah, Norwegians have such fond memories of those years when Quisling danced on Hitler’s puppet strings.

  31. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Liberals see all guns as “things designed to kill people”.

    They *are* – even hunting and self-defense involve hurting or killing a live thing. What good are they for hunting if they don’t take game down? Even the deterrent part of the equation comes from the fact they are intended to kill or it wouldn’t give people pause. It’s a tool after all and it’s purpose is extremely clear. Guns are not inherently evil but pretending the tool was designed to be what it’s not is a reason why liberals distrust gun enthusiasts. It’s deliberately misleading to stay “guns don’t kill, people do” because there’s no such item as one that doesn’t inflict harm by design. The NRA had a lot more credibility when they were a group about gun safety and understood the point of responsible ownership was to grasp the fact you are indeed carrying around a weapon created to inflict death.

  32. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “Sweden deploys military reinforcements to the island of Gotland .”

    What fun. Let’s hope they can put off the shootin’ war until I leave Gotland in mid-February…

  33. wr says:

    @flat earth luddite: My wife — California born and raised, a New Yorker for the last six years — subscribed to G&G for a few years. She works in the high-end housewares industry, and there were a lot of decorative things in there that interested her. Also, lots of interesting recipes and really great photography. And wonderful pictures of hounds in every issue.

    The magazine sells the high-end version of Southern culture with the politics, racism and hate stripped out. Which is not meant as a criticism, by the way…

  34. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “urban Dems (who’ve probably never seen a copse, much less a woods or a forest).”

    Yes, the fact that we live in cities means that we all hate nature, or have no idea what it is, and have never ever ever ever ever stepped off the concrete sidewalk to see a tree.

    Honestly, the contempt with which rural people treat urbanites is far more routine than the other way around. But I guess that’s because you guys are the real Americans and we’re just the people who are lucky enough to pay to maintain your lifestyle

  35. @Mu Yixiao:

    The vast majority of people on OTB equate gun ownership with radical militias and Ruby Ridge radicals.

    This strikes me as a substantial exaggeration.

  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Thanks! I may have to take them up on the freebie. Apparently I was hearing a non existent did whistle – musta been the tinnitus!

  37. wr says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I had the same feeling when my wife said she wanted to subscribe… but it turns out to be much more Tom Petty southern than Lee Greenwood southern…