Wednesday’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:

    Random chart of the day: States in which Michael Dukakis outperformed Joe Biden’s 2020 margins, and by how much.

    Kansas: 1.42
    Wisconsin: 2.99
    Idaho: 4.70
    Alabama: 6.16
    Tennessee: 6.87
    Louisiana: 8.40
    Montana: 10.50
    Missouri: 11.41
    Arkansas: 13.44
    Kentucky: 14.30
    Oklahoma: 16.44
    Iowa: 18.42
    South Dakota: 19.82
    North Dakota: 20.30
    Wyoming: 20.86
    West Virginia: 43.67

    Only three of these states were actually won by Dukakis–Wisconsin, Iowa, and West Virginia.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The park could remain closed as long as a week, and northern entrances may not reopen this summer, Superintendent Cam Sholly said.

    I’ve heard this is a 1,000-year event, whatever that means these days. They seem to be happening more and more frequently,” he said.

    Sholly noted some weather forecasts include the possibility of additional flooding this weekend.

  3. Mu Yixiao says:

    I finished watching Red Notice last night. It’s a Netflix movie staring Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, and the Rock. While, at it’s core, it’s a heist movie, it’s also one that falls into a genre that I’m not sure has a name. It really leans in and embraces the all the tropes (in a way that only Reynolds and the Rock can). I can only think of a few movies that have done this: Last Action Hero, Hudson Hawk, xXx: Return of Xander Cage. It’s not parody… Anyone know what to call that genre?

    Regardless; I highly recommend it for a fun evening of brainless movie watching.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New data has revealed extraordinary rates of global heating in the Arctic, up to seven times faster than the global average.

    The heating is occurring in the North Barents Sea, a region where fast rising temperatures are suspected to trigger increases in extreme weather in North America, Europe and Asia. The researchers said the heating in this region was an “early warning” of what could happen across the rest of the Arctic.

    The new figures show annual average temperatures in the area are rising across the year by up to 2.7C a decade, with particularly high rises in the months of autumn of up to 4C a decade. This makes the North Barents Sea and its islands the fastest warming place known on Earth.

    Recent years have seen temperatures far above average recorded in the Arctic, with seasoned observers describing the situation as “crazy”, “weird”, and “simply shocking”. Some climate scientists have warned the unprecedented events could signal faster and more abrupt climate breakdown.

    It was already known that the climate crisis was driving heating across the Arctic three times faster than the global average, but the new research shows the situation is even more extreme in places.

    Those Chinese are really going to far with this global climate change hoax.

  5. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s a mess up there. I think they’re still trying to find and evacuate the people in the back country.

    But hey, it’s not lava! Gotta look at the bright side. 😛

  6. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I can only think of a few movies that have done this: Last Action Hero, Hudson Hawk, xXx: Return of Xander Cage. It’s not parody… Anyone know what to call that genre?

    I’ve only seen the first two. I thought Last Action Hero was a pretty straightforward parody, in which Arnold made fun of his own films. The premise (character from movie steps off screen into real world) had been done in Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo, though I think that itself was ripped off from a Buster Keaton film. Stallone’s Demolition Man which came out around the same time as LAH has often been compared to it, but leaned more into sci-fi comedy than the kind of meta-spoof Arnold did–and still was relatively more on the serious side than LAH.

    Hudson Hawk (which I liked more than a lot of people did, though I’m more than willing to admit it was a mess) is in a somewhat different category. My theory about it is that Bruce Willis–who was just coming off his success in Die Hard–was still uncertain about his new-found status as an action star and still leaning into his older, comedy persona he’d developed in Moonlighting, which itself had some of the tonal inconsistencies that a lot of people hated in Hudson Hawk, where in one moment it would be a thriller and in the next it would drift into slapstick silliness that sometimes bordered on the bizarre.

    I used to watch Moonlighting when I was a kid, and I later realized that some of the stories I wrote as a kid and teen were negatively influenced by that show. I would start out with a serious story, and then without warning drift into outrageous fourth-wall-breaking where the characters would acknowledge they were in a story. That sort of thing can be done well, but it’s trickier to pull off than I realized at the time, and neither Moonlighting nor Hudson Hawk quite got it right.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I highly recommend it for a fun evening of brainless movie watching.

    With a can’t miss cast like that, it almost has to be.

    @Jax: The article says there are still a dozen or 2 in the backcountry.

    My wife really wants to go there at some point. I’m ambivalent, I hate crowds, and I know of a number of places in that part of the country every bit as beautiful but barely known. That’s alright, I’ll take her. She’s worth it. I’m trying to get her to think about it seriously cause who knows how many years lead time we will need for reservations. Of course, when we finally do make it, that will be the year it explodes in fire.

  8. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I worked up there for a summer in the early 90’s. I haven’t been there since. The crowds and traffic have only gotten worse.

    I have to go to Jackson Hole today, and I’m already dreading it. I’m planning an extra hour to get up and back because of the diverted tourist traffic that would normally be heading for the park.

  9. CSK says:

    You can sign Trump’s birthday card, but you have to pay in order to do so:

  10. Jax says:

    @CSK: The grift never ends. 😐

  11. CSK says:

    I wonder how many saps paid to append their signatures to an e-card that Trump will never so much as glance at?

    Speaking of whom, I saw a great new nickname for him the other day: The Cantaloupe Caligula.

  12. Kathy says:


    Would it be rude to wish Benito a happy last birthday?

  13. CSK says:

    Not in my book. But be careful what you wish for. If Trump were to die of a heart attack or a stroke in Florida’s finest hospital, surrounded by the world’s top doctors, you know the MAGAs would be up in arms (perhaps literally) screaming that he was murdered by the Deep State because the Globalists so feared a second Trump term. The result might make Jan. 6 look like a day at the beach.

  14. @Kathy: If you want to pay for, I am sure they’d be fine with it.

  15. Come to think of it, I am surprised they haven’t marketed a way for people to pay to send insults to Trump. That’s a million-dollar idea right there.

  16. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Sign me up.

  17. Kathy says:


    Is that your way of saying “water is wet”?

  18. Joe says:

    @Jax: My internal new reaction to any pro-Trump posters is “I hope you send him ALL of your money. You deserve to be parted from it.”

  19. CSK says:

    If you mean that an armed revolt would be pretty much inevitable, I suppose it is.

  20. Kathy says:


    Can you in good conscience spend a dollar on food for your family that could further enrich a demented grifter?

  21. Mu Yixiao says:


    I absolutely love Hudson Hawk. It’s refreshingly silly.

  22. DK says:

    A new USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll in Pennsylvania finds John Fetterman (D) leading Mehmet Oz (R) by nine points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 37%.

    In the race for governor, Josh Shapiro (D) has a 4-point advantage over Doug Mastriano (R), 44% to 40%.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s all the fault of those Communist Chinese currency manipulators. They’re really bringing their “A” game to this.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I think you hit it in your last line: “brainless movie.”

  25. CSK says:

    Whoopsie. Trump will have to rethink–to the extent that’s possible–his endorsements. He only picks winners.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My ex-wife and I spent a day or two at Yellowstone one year. I’m just as reticent about crowds as you are but didn’t find it to be particularly crowded. Don’t remember the time of the year, so I can’t help you with timing.

    Beyond that, the trip happened during a time when we were still approximating being a “happy couple,” so it’s got to be over 20 years ago. Close to 25–we’ve been divorced for 19.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It’s Pennsylvania–one of the stolen election centers; it’s bound to be the fault of election workers manipulating which ballots get counted and which one’s don’t.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think you hit it in your last line: “brainless movie.”

    Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that! 🙂 Hell… my go-to “I need cheering up” movie is Ultra-Violet. Absolute brain candy. Red Notice has enough little twists to keep you guessing* while having fun.

    * Not so much “will there be a twist?” but “I wonder which trope they’ll choose this time?”

  29. Moosebreath says:


    That poll is contrary to the conventional wisdom that Mastriano is so Trump-y that he has no chance. I expect that Mastriano’s support in the red areas of the state will be so much higher than Oz’s that Mastriano running several points ahead of Oz throughout the cycle.

  30. inhumans99 says:


    Okay, the article you linked to is interesting but I was clicking on some other articles on that site and stumbled into what I think is quite interesting news. Elon Musk has finally come out of the closet as a Republican and even declares that he wants to vote for Ron DeSantis in 2024 and is declaring there will be a Red Wave in 2022. Pretty much everyone is declaring that the GOP is poised to take over Congress this year, so that is a bit like saying fire is hot, but whatever.

    On the one hand, it is nice to get confirmation that Musk is actually in love with Trump and DeSantis (if you love DeSantis, you also love Trump, who is DeSantis’s buddy despite their supposedly being “rivals” to get the nod to become the GOP Presidential candidate in 2024), but you also have to wonder how so many folks on the left are going to react to someone that many Liberals might have looked at as a hero to their cause because of his push to get folks to go green/electric.

    Thank goodness I did not go down that rabbit hole of becoming a rabid Elon Musk acolyte. My wonderful brother-in-law is a bit of a Musk fanboy, so I wonder how this news has hit him. I bet he rationalizes Musk’s embrace of Trump, but I still love him. He is also very intelligent, but smart people can clearly fall in love with vile role models.

    My sister is an educator, and is obviously no fan of Trump and DeSantis so I bet they both try to avoid talking about Elon Musk so as not to get into an argument.

    I can only hope that Musk’s actions open up some liberals eyes who have fallen head over heels for Musk, but you know what, just like members of the GOP who will never stop loving folks like Trump and DeSantis, we have similar folks on the left and I bet they will execute as many mental gymnastics as they need to so as to continue to sing their praises of Elon Musk. Die hard Musk fanboys can be just as frustrating to talk to as Trump fanboys, both groups of fans put folks on a pedestal to worship them, which is just wrong on so many levels.

  31. CSK says:

    I don’t know if this is true, but Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone are reporting that Trump, spooked by DeSantis, might not only announce his 2024 bid early, but do it as close to DeSantis’s home in Tallahassee as he can.

    Just to show DeSantis who’s boss, I suppose.

  32. Gustopher says:


    If Trump were to die of a heart attack or a stroke in Florida’s finest hospital, surrounded by the world’s top doctors, you know the MAGAs would be up in arms (perhaps literally) screaming that he was murdered by the Deep State because the Globalists so feared a second Trump term.

    Probably the work of that socialist RINO De Santis.

  33. CSK says:

    Oddly enough, I don’t think the MAGAs see DeSantis as a socialist RINO, although that could change if DeSantis decides to challenge Trump for the 2024 nomination. They’d be pleased if he picked DeSantis as his v.p. Then DeSantis could take over in 2024.

  34. Kathy says:


    I loved SpaceX from the first time I heard of it, along with a few other space launch startups. But I never quite liked Musk. I kind of tolerated him because SpaceX was doing so well.

    Tesla seemed more hype than substance, but at least there was substance. Of course, his early goal, since abandoned, to eliminate internal combustion engines, was a noble one, but impossible to achieve with the prices Tesla charges. For that he needed to make the electric VW Beetle. Besides, he kind of veered into self-driving tech.

    I really began to sour on Musk when he came up with solar rooftop tiles and large home storage batteries. It’s a great idea, whether one can pump energy into the grid or not, but 1) it had killer setup costs most homeowners couldn’t afford without subsidies, and 2) the early installations showed the estimates Musk provided were rather inflated (which makes point 1 that much worse).

    I finished souring on him when he reopened a factory mid-pandemic before lockdown rules ended. Since then I wish he’d go away and leave SpaceX behind.

  35. DK says:


    That poll is contrary to the conventional wisdom that Mastriano is so Trump-y that he has no chance.

    We should have learned from 2016 that “conventional wisdom” is garbage.

  36. Kathy says:


    I’d like to see Benito fight Florida Man for the nomination, especially if Flyin’ Ted joins them, But I’d be more enthusiastic had we not seen already something similar in 2015-16.

    This time, any serious challengers would attack El Cheeto from the right, and in particular point out his very lousy record. Whether that would make a difference, is anyone’s guess. You’d think Benito disappointed everyone, supporters and opponents alike, except his supporters seem to think he was the best ever.

    The latter suggests all too many people value style over substance (which goes a long way towards explaining fads, trends, bubbles, and how a startup with no product gets millions in venture capital). IN that case, it remains to be seen whose style they prefer.

  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have seen Red Notice, though I don’t recall why or when. What my wife and I call this sort of film is the very official-sounding “cheesy movie”. Mind you, we are lovers of cheesy movies, and we take care to separate “good cheesy movies” from “bad cheesy movies”. One important quality of a “good cheesy movie” is that it has to know that it is a cheesy movie. Red Notice delivers on this score.

    I did feel that it strained The Rocks range to near its breaking point. They guy is fun, but let’s not call him an actor, ok? But entertainment is entertaining… Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, can surprises with just how good he is, but not necessarily in this film.

  38. Gustopher says:

    Now that the January 6th Committtee has released video of Rep. Loudermilk leading a tour on Jan 5th, with people who then stormed the Capitol the next day (one of whom was suspiciously photographing stairwells), I cannot help but wonder … has the esteemed gentleman from Bumfuck Georgia spoken about this to any law enforcement who were investigating the attack?

    Lock him up! Lock him up!

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My first and only trip to Yellowstone was when I was 5. My memories of it are filled with crowds and that was in 63, so nothing like today’s. There were times I considered putting a backcountry trip together but nothing ever came of those flights of fancy (too many other places beckoned). Now I’m too old and decrepit to even think about such things. It will be interesting and I’ll have a fuller experience, but my wife is going to have to allow me my “moments of solitude”. Hopefully I will hang onto what little sanity I have left.

    @inhumans99: I’ve always despised Musk and the overinflated opinion he has of himself. His fans crow about his “achievements” but most of them are little more than hype and the few that are honest to dawg groundbreaking are the equivalent of a stopped clock.

  40. CSK says:

    Dolly Parton has donated 1 million dollars to pediatric infectious disease research. What a woman.

  41. senyordave says:

    @CSK: As opposed to Elon Musk, here’s one of his greatest hits:
    On Oct. 26, David Beasley, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme told CNN that it was time for the ultra-wealthy to “step up now, on a one-time basis.”
    Elon Musk tweets he is willing to spend $6 billion to fight world hunger—on one condition
    the Tesla CEO tweeted his own challenge: Explain how $6 billion will fix the problem, and he’ll sell Tesla stock “right now.”
    Beasley offered to meet with Musk but shockingly nothing ever come of it. Translation – Musk grandstanded, knowing full well that his “conditions” would never be met. What a “man”.
    Lump Musk in with Bezos, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Howard Schultz.
    And Musk and Bezos both agree that the pandemic stimulus cause inflation (despite virtually all economists saying that low interest rates and QE were the primary causes).

  42. steve says:

    Good cheesy movie-Tremors
    Bad cheesy movie- Tremors 2


  43. Jax says:

    Jackson Hole was every bit as crowded and horrible as I imagined. 0 stars, do not recommend. Noodle Kitchen in Jackson Hole, though, was goddamn delicious, 25 out of 10 stars, will go there every time I have to visit hell. And it’s not very far into the town proper, either, so you could make a quick trip if, say, you had to go waste some time while the kid’s at the orthodontist. 😛 The closer you get to the Town Square, the worse it gets.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Jackson Hole was every bit as crowded and horrible as I imagined.

    Good to know that somethings don’t change! 🙁