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. Jen says:

    I’m terribly proud of Kansans this morning. A slight glimmer of hope in this post-Roe landscape (hellscape?)

  2. BugManDan says:

    DOD ‘wiped’ phones of Trump-era leaders, erasing Jan. 6 texts

    “DOD and Army conveyed to Plaintiff that when an employee separates from DOD or Army he or she turns in the government-issued phone, and the phone is wiped. For those custodians no longer with the agency, the text messages were not preserved and therefore could not be searched,” the agencies wrote in a March court filing.

    If this is the SOP, change is needed. Especially for appointed posts. But also for high ranking officials (at least generals).

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: My it be a harbinger of things to come.

  4. KM says:

    @Jen: p
    They have to keep screeching about how their 50yr victory doesn’t apply to a lot of situations that are clearly “medical problems” instead of “evil abortions” because the public realizes what an absolute mess they’ve made. They want to maintain that carefully cultivated imagery of wicked sinners doing it on a whim, not desperate women or young girls afraid for their lives. So many men and women just had this become front and center in their lives because like it or not, pregnancy is complicated.

    I think a lot of the antis are going to find that if given the choice, most states (even red ones) aren’t going to keep pushing for that total ban. The ones with bans have triggers set in place before Roe went down, when they were performance measures meant to please the religious extremes or leftovers from the olden times. Now that people are starting to see the consequences in real time, voters aren’t going to go for bans or even further restrictions. Kansas may be the start of the public pushing back.

  5. Kathy says:


    I hope it is, and that it will spread. But political victories can be very transitory. remember the ballot measure in Florida to allow convicted felons to vote? My guess is few if any have managed to do so, given the restrictions placed on them later on.

    About Kansas, if they haven’t already, I expect the GQP to claim the ballot measure was confusing (it was, made so by the GQP on purpose), and that most, if not all, who voted against it actually wanted to vote for it. This will not work, but it may throw enough confusion around for a second try at the ballot box.

    Next, as I understand it, this was a measure to amend the state’s constitution. I assume there are other means of amending it, and the GQP will probably try to, against the will of the majority. Remember, this is a minority rule party largely by design.

    We have won the battle, but the war rages on, even in Kansas.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I assume there are other means of amending it,

    A Kansan I know says there isn’t. The Ballot box is the only way.

  7. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Right now, there are two victories: one, the no vote prevailed; two, the people who tried to orchestrate this had their collective @sses handed to them.

    This measure was standard GOP: get a confusingly-worded measure on the ballot during a normally low-turnout (primary) election, layer in some deceptive advertising and blatantly false text messaging campaign (the platform hosting the text messaging pulled it, that was how bad it was), and then sit back and wait for the assumed yes vote side to prevail.

    I worked in GOP politics and honestly, seeing this type of deceptive campaigning fail, and fail badly–it’s like Christmas for me today. I am so, so pleased.

  8. CSK says:

    Some pleasant news: Dolly Parton will receive a 2022 Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy.

  9. Kathy says:

    On other things, Pelosi’s Air Force flight yesterday broke the servers of flight tracking websites and apps, due to so many people following its progress towards Taiwan.

  10. CSK says:

    I assume Flightaware was one of the ones that crashed, so to speak.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Kansas abortion vote is the political equivalent for the GOP of Putin trying to snatch Kyiv airport and realizing to his dismay that, Oh, fuck, I just stepped in it.

    What will terrify GOP professionals is the turn-out. Double the usual off-year primary turn-out, especially in the suburbs, is a nuclear level event. Caveats: it’s a single issue vote that won’t translate 1:1 in electing candidates. But today Democratic strategists will be busy figuring out how to get abortion onto ballots and into ads and speeches, and GOP strategists will be frantically trying to disappear the abortion issue.

  12. Kathy says:


    Work’s been rather light for a change (and thanks in part to the crash of a major government portal), so I’ve had time to review older posts here at OTB from 2018 on (around the time I began to comment here). Call it an exercise in reviewing recent history.

    One takeaway is that optimism, which is my natural inclination, is really very close to hubris in the Greek Tragedy sense. Not optimism per se, but the complacency it tends to generate. I’m trying to temper that.

  13. EddieInCA says:

    Vin Scully passed away last night.

    Never met the man, yet I had a surprisingly emotional reaction to the news. Being a lifelong Angeleno, athlete and sports fan, I grew up with Vin Scully calling the Dodgers, Chick Hearn calling the Lakers, and Bob Miller calling the Kings (arguably three of the best sports broadcasters in history) and I had all three of them for 50+ years in my hometown.

    Vis Scully was simply the best, class all the way. RIP

  14. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I can’t wait to talk to my niece who lives in the Kansas City suburbs(Lenexa, Johnson County). I guarantee that she and her wife voted.

  15. Scott says:

    I knew this was coming. The whole BS Religious Liberty argument wielded by far right Christians to undermine the military, public health, the ACA, and a host of other issues is about to swing around and punch them in the face.

    Florida clergy lawsuits say abortion ban violates religious freedom

    Clergy members of five religions sued the state of Florida on Monday over a new law criminalizing most abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, saying the ban violates their religious freedom rights.

    The five separate lawsuits, filed in Miami-Dade County, claim the state’s ban curtails the clergy members’ ability to counsel congregants about abortion in accordance with their faiths, since Florida law prohibits counseling or encouraging a crime.

    The plaintiffs are three rabbis, a United Church of Christ reverend, a Unitarian Universalist minister, an Episcopal Church priest and a Buddhist lama. They asked the court to declare that the state’s abortion law violates Florida and U.S. constitutional protections for freedom of speech and religion.

    They also claim the abortion ban violates a Florida religious freedom law that prohibits the government from “substantially burdening” the exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling state interest that cannot be met with fewer restrictions.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Investigation debunks bogus ‘audit’ claiming 300 dead people voted in Arizona in 2020

    “After spending hundreds of hours reviewing these allegations, our investigators were able to determine that only one of the 282 individuals on the list was deceased at the time of the election. All other persons listed as deceased were found to be current voters,” Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, a Republican, wrote in a letter on Monday to state senate president, Karen Fann, who authorized the review.

    Brnovich added: “Our agents investigated all individuals that Cyber Ninjas reported as dead, and many were very surprised to learn they were allegedly deceased.”
    Officials also investigated reports of dead voters from “other sources”, alleging 409 dead voters and another report flagging nearly 6,000 registrations as potentially deceased.

    “These claims were thoroughly investigated and resulted in only a handful of potential cases. Some were so absurd the names and birthdates didn’t even match the deceased, and others included dates of death after the election,” he wrote. “While our office has successfully prosecuted other instances of dead voters, these cases were ultimately determined to be isolated instances.”

    “We supported the Arizona Senate’s ability to conduct an audit of Maricopa county’s elections and understand the importance of reviewing the results. However, allegations of widespread deceased voters from the Senate Audit and other complaints received by the [Election Integrity Unit] are insufficient and not corroborated,” the letter ends.

    The Deep State strikes back!

  17. Kathy says:


    Tyranny: when someone applies to you the laws you drafted or defended.

  18. CSK says:

    Kari Lake, the MAGA loon who’s running for the governorship of Arizona, is slightly ahead of her opponent, Republican Karrin Robson–but Lake’s already claiming voter fraud.

  19. Jen says:


    and others included dates of death after the election

    Passing away after the election is different, but this brings up an interesting side effect of vote-by-mail and early voting. I think how the votes are treated varies from state to state when a person casts their vote before election day but then pass away between when they voted and when election day actually happens.

    This would sometimes rarely happen before, but it’s been increasing due to how voting is changing. It’s interesting. But also totally wrong to classify as fraud in any way.

  20. Kathy says:

    I’m wondering about something. The last two weeks of July I had certain exposure to the trump virus. one was in recovering in my apartment, the other was a coworker who showed up coughing up a storm (yes, that one).

    I’ve not even a hint of symptoms, and two rapid tests came back negative. No worries on that score. But I wonder: did I just avoid it, or did the 4 doses of vaccine protect me?

    Yes, many who’ve contracted Omicron were vaccinated with anywhere from 2 to 4 doses. The same goes for Delta, though more in a 2 to 3 doses regime. We know these two variants evade immune protection from both vaccines and prior infection. We know, too, circulating neutralizing antibodies decline in the weeks after vaccination. And we know most of those vaccinated are at a lower risk for severe symptoms and death.

    Just the same, this does not mean either Omicron or Delta can infect all the vaccinated people they manage to infiltrate. Most of them, yes, bit not all. Say the vaccines give only a 20% effectiveness in protection from infection. That’s very low, but not zero.

    The odds suggest I avoided it. But I wonder.

  21. BugManDan says:

    Republicans reverse course as Senate passes burn pits legislation after days of pressure

    I’m glad they pulled their heads out of Trump long enough to do the right thing.

  22. CSK says:

    You may be genetically disposed to resist Covid. There’s research ongoing about that.

  23. Scott says:

    @Kathy: In my house, my wife caught COVID in January, presumably Omicron. Symptoms lasted about 3 days. Inside the house we did not isolate. But my daughter and I didn’t catch anything and tested negative. We were all vaxxed and boosted. There is a certain randomness and susceptibility to this disease that is still unexplained.

    On the other hand, I always wonder whether I caught it at some other time and was asymptomatic. Only an antibody test would know for sure.

  24. mattbernius says:

    I don’t think it’s possible to describe how badly cross-examination went for Alex Jones. But for sure you never want to hear the following from an opposing attorney:

    BANKSTON: Did you know 12 days ago your attorney’s messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone with every text message you’ve sent for the past 2 years? And when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privilege?”

    Not only was the entire thing damning but on the stand the other attorney was able to prove that Jones has been lying in all of his disclosures and making far more money than reported in discovery.

    Jones and Attorney will definitely be facing sanctions. And most like Jones is going to be hit hard with perjury charges.

    Oh, also, the plantiff’s attorney was able to introduce a clip in which Jones said, out loud, that the jury was made up of “blue collar people” who “didn’t know what planet they were on.” Like literally played that for the jury.

  25. CSK says:

    Love it. Alex Jones deserves every bad thing that happens to him. Utter swine.

  26. Kathy says:


    At home I made it a point to keep my distance at all times (the apartment has been well-ventilated since April 2020), and I wore a mask at all times, even when alone*. I also wear a mask at the office (and nearly the only one who still does).

    so I keep favoring avoidance rather than resistance. It keeps me from getting complacent and lowering my guard.

    *I tried keeping the mask on when sleeping, but never once woke up with the mask still on.

  27. Stormy Dragon says:
  28. grumpy realist says:

    Georgia allowing dependent deduction for human embryos

    So…depending on how far along the zygotes are in the freezers in IVF clinics, seems to me that certain companies are sitting on a golden mine of tax deductions, no?

    (Did anyone in Georgia actually think about the effects of this policy decision before making it? I know that this is obviously an attempt by forced-birthers to bolster up their argument that an embryo == full-blown human, but did no one run the numbers? This means that there’s a $3000 financial incentive to get a positive-we-measured-the-“heartbeat” test. It also means that there’s going to be quite an impact from miscarriages on Georgia’s tax take.)

  29. Stormy Dragon says:


    There’s likely some subset of humanity that has a genetic immunity to COVID19 entirely (maybe you have some weirdly shaped ACE2 protein that the virus can’t grab on to).

    The longer you go without a COVID19 infection, the more and more likely it is you won the genetic lottery.

  30. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I got to:

    The Williams court was not bound by Grimm’s sex discrimination analysis and decided that case before Bostock’s guidance for analyzing sex discrimination against transgender people. See Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020). Further, the majority of cases support this Court’s analysis.5

    And started bawling. Aimee Stephens did so much for us. I wish she could have seen how important she is. If we had a Trans Mount Rushmore she would be on it with Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

    Reading between the lines of this opinion, its a great screw you to WV. It looks like they thought they could just step up and say “screw them trannys, right Judge.” You can’t go into court and just expect that a court is going to accept your discriminatory nonsense just cause you says so.

    Also, if anyone reads the opinion, Dr. Loren Schechter is a prominent surgeon here in Chicago that basically only does Trans surgeries. He’s one of the absolute leaders in the field. I however, wouldn’t let him touch me for a whole lot of reasons. Got to give credit where credit is due though.

    Thank you Aimee.

  31. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My surviving parent, all my siblings, most of my nieces and nephews, and several cousins (that I know), have had COVID. Most of these people I know for certain got as far as the first booster last year. Therefore genetics would not seem to be the case.

    On the bright side, it may mean I was adopted 😛

  32. Michael Cain says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    There’s likely some subset of humanity that has a genetic immunity to COVID19 entirely…

    IIRC, for any given virus about 2% of the human population is inherently immune. This got lots of play in the popular press for a while when they discovered that there were sex workers in Africa who were never infected by HIV, no matter how many times they were exposed.

  33. CSK says:

    Ron Watkins, purportedly the Q behind QAnon, came in dead last in the primary for Arizona’s Second Congressional seat.

    He got 3% of the vote. I suppose he was too crazy even for them.

  34. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Caveats: it’s a single issue vote that won’t translate 1:1 in electing candidates.

    Yep. My long experience in states with initiatives and referendums is that nothing drives voter turnout more than a ballot decision for a contentious policy. People are much more interested in single policies than they are in politicians. My belief is that’s because all politicians come with baggage, either personal or by party association.

  35. Jen says:

    @Scott: My husband got sick in late March/early April. He tested negative, but he only tested once, and that was right when he started having symptoms. We didn’t isolate. He was sick for 10+ days, but just standard cold symptoms: congestion, sore throat, etc. No fever.

    I never got sick. When my doc asked me during my annual checkup if I’d gotten covid, I relayed this to her and she sort of shrugged–he may have had covid and since we were both fully vaxxed and boosted I didn’t get sick, or he had a cold and I just lucked out. Or, I had an asymptomatic infection.

    At this point, the general response is: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  36. Stormy Dragon says:


    You could also be a mutant with the least impressive X-men power ever! =)

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I think how the votes are treated varies from state to state when a person casts their vote before election day but then pass away between when they voted and when election day actually happens.

    I don’t know about other states but I’m pretty sure that here in Misery if a voter dies after casting their absentee ballot but before election day, the ballot is supposed to be voided. No voting fraud, just sadness. I suppose a few might slip thru the cracks but that’s just “shit happens.”

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: “Nose? I hate my face. Bye!”

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I’ve been waiting for this. Glad it finally happened.

    @Stormy Dragon: More good news.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Dobbs may be a lifeline for Democrats. 538 has Senate control now as 58 to 42, Dems. IIRC it’s moved blue by something like 10 points in just a few weeks. And the House, while still really bad, is also creeping toward the Dems, 80 to 20, about a 5 point move.

    It will also drive funding. What we need now is for Trump to declare and set off a GOP civil war, and a some good economic numbers.

  41. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    As soon as Trump declares, the RNC will quit footing his legal bills.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, I know I’m not immune to all infectious diseases. I have been sick.

    So, agreed: not impressive at all.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    Laurence O’Donnell was on MSNBC pointing out that Trump will be defendant in one case or another, civil or criminal, probably until he dies. Should have taken my advice to 1) pardon everyone, 2) resign the presidency, and 3) leave the country.

    Hubris and stupidity.

  44. CSK says:

    I recall discussing with a friend whether we’d had Covid* and been asymptomatic (we’re both vaxxed and boosted) and the only conclusion we could reach was “Who knows?”

    *The one time I was tested, it was negative.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via commenter Xantar over at Balloon Juice, comes this precious little tidbit:

    Hi, I’m /u/bisfitty , the most deliveringest OP in history. As a lot of you already know, I had to attend a “corporate retreat” this weekend, that happened to take place on a southern plantation in Alabama. There was a “period appropriate” costume ball scheduled for the end of the trip, but they apparently forgot about me, their lone black employee. Hilarity ensued.

    Hilarity indeed.

  46. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Indeed. He and Melania could have taken refuge with Trump’s good friends, the Saudis. They’ve done so much for golf, you know.

  47. Neil Hudelson says:

    US Rep Jackie Warlorski (R), from the Elkhart-South Bend region of northeastern Indiana, was just killed in a head on collision.

  48. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh, my GAWD. That is amazing and horrifying and hilarious all in one.

    I cannot believe someone in HR in 2022 thought that a plantation in Alabama was appropriate for a corporate event. JFC. Who signed off on that? I am stunned.

  49. Jen says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Two staffers were also killed in the accident, how tragic.

  50. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Her aides and the woman in the other car were also killed.

  51. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “What we need now is for Trump to declare and set off a GOP civil war, and a some good economic numbers.”

    All the polling and reporting so far has been (understandably) about the vicious Republican fighting in the primaries. I don’t think anyone has checked with the broader voter pool to see what they think about a flotilla of insane MAGA morons on the ballot.

    I have no idea what’s going to happen, of course, but I’m really curious to see if the increasingly blue Arizona, for instance, is willing to go for all these nutbags.

  52. Arnold Stang says:

    I thought I was Covid immune, or had gotten it and hadn’t known it. Started our week vacation Sunday, sore throat Monday, positive Covid test Tuesday. Home from vacation. ☹️ my wife feels fine and tested negative.

  53. CSK says:

    “…a flotilla of insane MAGA morons…”

    I congratulate you on a nice turn of phrase.

  54. Beth says:


    Trust me, genetics is WEIRD.

  55. Kathy says:

    @Arnold Stang:

    My sympathies. Trip or not, getting sick on vacation is the worst. You can’t even take time off. I hope it passes quickly.


    And very messy.

  56. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Don’t worry @Jen, the BisFitty thing was from 7 years ago, not 2022. Apparently came up recently as part of a “best of Reddit” thing. 2015 was SUCH a different time, you know…

    PS: I’m 100% positive such things still happen. Going to offend a few people, but honestly the more time one spends in the South the more I wish we’d never let them back in the Union.

  57. Arnold Stang says:

    @Kathy: Thanks. It’s acting like a bad cold, sore throat, runny nose, etc.
    My wife retired when Covid started and I retired in May so we don’t have to worry about using time off.

  58. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:..Vis Scully was simply the best, class all the way. RIP

    One of the more memorable calls that Vin Scully did was the Kirk Gibson home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series. I remember watching it on live on TV. It was all Gibson could do to keep from falling down when he took his first two swings. Even though you see the action on TV Vin Scully’s commentary adds to the tension and excitement.
    Here it is.
    It’s 9 minutes long and the ads are annoying however it’s worth running it to the end to hear all of Vin Scully’s remarks.

  59. Mister Bluster says:


  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Glad to see he profitted from it, too. His wife is the smart one in the family, tho. Having a Kunta Kinte name tag woulda been REAL over the top.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: “Who signed off on that? I am stunned.”

    The person who went under the bus when the investigation happened. She didn’t realize her job title was ‘actual blamee’ rather than ‘designated blamee.’

  62. Beth says:


    So, so, so very messy.

  63. CSK says:

    True, but nonetheless fascinating.

  64. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I was a Kirk Gibson fan from his Detroit days. Continued to be a fan and have seen this clip numerous times. Vin Scully knows exactly what to do.