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. de stijl says:

    Man, September is freaking awesome – the best month by far. What life should be like always in my book. Some folks prefer May, I hear you. The warming, I get it. I feel you.

    But, September: Warm days. Crisp nights. Golden light. Low dewpoint. Perfect walking weather. Perfect camping weather. Go see!

    The absolute best time of the year to experience the outdoors. It is no longer full summer. It is not yet full gray autumn.

    Enjoy this time of year. It is brief. The best time, imo.

    Ephemeral beauty and vitality is, by its nature, heartbreaking. Go see!

    The world is dying. Summer has ended. Winter comes. The cycle continues. God, I love it so.

    I have a trip planned to the UP of Michigan. Car camping. Maybe a day trip into downtown Marquette – a fine-ass city.

  2. Jen says:

    Libertarians in NH are a different flavor of awful.

    Sununu calls Libertarian Party mocking of McCain ‘horribly insulting’

    Gov. Chris Sununu denounced the New Hampshire Libertarian party for a “horribly insulting” tweet that mocked two-time New Hampshire presidential primary winner and U.S. Sen. John McCain on the anniversary of his death.

    “That should pretty much be the end of the Libertarian Party in New Hampshire, and I totally mean that,” Sununu said during an appearance Sunday with Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

    “Horribly insulting. That is not leadership. That is not what people want to vote for.”

    A former Libertarian congressman was among those who criticized the Granite State Libertarian Party last week after it posted a picture of a grieving Meghan McCain at her father’s casket under the headline, “Happy Holidays.”

    Meghan McCain called the tweet “hideous.”

  3. Jon says:

    @de stijl: A fine ass-city. 😉

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: What exactly did they say when trump did it? Serious question. I don’t remember a peep coming out of their pie holes but maybe I just missed it.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via commentor Baud over at Balloon Juice comes this perfect little jewel of American stupidity:

    BOWIE, Ariz. (AP) — A second-grade student at a southeastern Arizona elementary school is facing charges for allegedly bringing two guns and ammunition to school, authorities said Wednesday.

    Cochise County Sheriff’s officials said they were called Monday to Cochise Elementary School in Bowie on reports that a 7-year-old student had a weapon. Deputies met with school officials and the student and said a handgun and ammunition was found in his backpack and a second gun also was discovered. Authorities contacted the student’s parents and gave the boy a juvenile referral for charges of misconduct with a weapon and a minor in possession of a firearm.

    A sheriff’s spokeswoman said it was unlikely that the boy’s parents will face charges in the incident, which remains under investigation.

    Haysoos F’n Chrispo, arrest and charge a 7 yr old for playing with guns while letting the responsible parties skate. What a f’n country we live in.

  6. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No kidding. Sununu then goes on in the article to “both sides”-it, saying that Biden’s comments about semi-fascism are just as bad and they should all be ashamed of themselves, blah blah.

    I think I find it interesting because the Libertarians here usually vote Republican. If they are squabbling like this, it could split up the Republican vote just a bit here, if they keep it up through November.

  7. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: I couldn’t get to the article without a subscription, but I was able to read the story here.

    Before anyone rushes to praise Sununu for his decency, his remarks were accompanied by a nice cup of bothsiderism and lying about Biden.

    Sununu said Biden called “half of America semi-fascist because he’s trying to stir up controversy — he’s trying to stir up this anti-Republican sentiment right before the election — it’s horribly inappropriate, it’s insulting, and people should be insulted by it and he should apologize.”

    The branding of Americans is not helpful, the governor said.

    “We can say that all the Democrats are communists, they’re all ultra-socialist communists that just want to bring down our free capitalistic market. That’s not true of Democrats either,” Sununu said.

    “When we allow ourselves just to talk in these extremes, we polarize the country, we bring people further apart.”

    It’s Deplorables 2.0.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: [Insert my obligatory takedown of Libertarians here]

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:


    “We like to say that all the Democrats are communists, they’re all ultra-socialist communists that just want to bring down our free capitalistic market. That’s not true of Democrats either, but we say it all the time anyway.” Sununu said.


    What a Dumbass.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. Mikey says:

    The photo that accompanies this piece…holy shit.

    Justice Dept. says Trump team may have hidden, moved classified papers

    Former president Donald Trump and his advisers repeatedly failed to turn over highly classified government documents even after receiving a subpoena and pledging a “diligent search” had been conducted, leading to an FBI raid of his Florida home that found more than 100 additional classified items, according to a blistering court filing by federal prosecutors late Tuesday.

    The filing traces the extraordinary saga of government officials’ repeated efforts to recover sensitive national security papers from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club, centered on a storage room where prosecutors came to suspect that “government records were likely concealed and removed … and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”

  13. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It is at all levels of the education system. We hold students, teachers, and administration accountable for educational results. But never the parents.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    He’s pissed at the Libs because the MAGAt candidates are the likely R challengers this fall. Hassen will crush Bolduc, Papas knows he caught a break when Leavitt is his opponent and of course, Sununu’s boy George Hansel is trailing the MAGAt candidate in the second district. Though that is a likely Dem hold anyway.

    All Sununu’s fighting with the R legislature over redistricting last fall was based on his belief that in a wave year, a moderate R candidate could beat Kuster, while a moderate R would have been the favorite in the 1st.

    Also the contremps around Gunstock and the Lib school budget slashing also has him irritated. It pushes the party much further to the right than he feels it needs to be to win.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    The future indictment of TFG is for obstruction, laying to rest all the false equivalence to ‘HER EMAILS.’

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: I’m a bit confused by the reaction to this photo. My understanding is that they were not found strewn on the carpet like this, but rather that the FBI collected them from various places and laid them out together as they found them. Or is this incorrect?

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I was divorced, my ex had primary custody. I went to every parent/teacher conference every year for both my sons. I don’t think my ex ever went to a single one. A whole lot of really stupid shit happened over the years. To make a long story short, when my youngest finally graduated, after some legal dilly dallies and a lost year and half, my ex MiL, a former teacher who valued education above all else, asked both my wife and my eldest son (I was in and out taking care of stuff) to tell me that she knew I was the only reason my youngest was graduating from HS.

    Considering the difficult relationship she and I had always had, that was pretty high praise.

  18. de stijl says:


    Awesome! Love it. Spot on critique.

    But do not denigrate Marquette! A fine-ass and prosperous town.

    After a couple of nights sleeping on the ground civilization is very welcome. Marquette pop might be small, but it is densely packed with coffee joints and bars.

    Like Asheville, NC took off, Marquette can too.

    A fine-ass town in my book. It’s like a small Duluth.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I took that as a given. I think people are reacting to the fact that they were all highly classified. I’m assuming the photo was taken as evidence, to show that all this stuff was in an unsecured location (an office closet) and that all the blank white pages were in fact type written with classified markings but photoshopped blank for this filing.

  20. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: My understanding is these documents were found in a couple places in Trump’s office and laid out for the photo.

    The “holy shit” wasn’t because they are strewn about on the floor, but that they were found in various boxes and desk drawers that are not remotely secure or authorized for storage of classified. That Trump had them at all should have us all asking why.

  21. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My wife is a teacher and now school counselor in a high needs elementary school. I hear about the best and worst parents. Some of the adults (whether a parent, grand parent, single parent, adoptive parent, or just guardian) are heroic. Some are nightmares. You can try to save some of these kids but, unfortunately, you know some won’t make it. Glad your kids did.

  22. Kathy says:

    I’m currently reading “There Is Nothing For You Here” by Fiona Hill. The subtitle is “Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century.” Dr. Hill does deal with that for the most part, though it stretches back to the 1980s. She also shares a great deal of her circumstances growing up in an economically depressed area of England, and how she managed to obtain the higher education to escape it. She also goes into detail about similarities between the USSR/Russia, the UK, and the U.S.

    For instance, she compares the rise of Putin, Brexit, and Benito the Cheeto, explaining the adoption of populism in all three instances. She goes into much detail about Benito’s rise and style of not actually governing.

    What strikes me is how much of what she brings up are things I’d already figured out myself. It’s just so nice to arrive at some of the same conclusions as a professional academic with experience in government.

    Not coincidentally, Dr. Hill’s degrees are in history and Soviet/Russian studies.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: 2 of my sisters were teachers, one in MSP, the other on the Navajo Res. I have a # of teacher friends. When my friend Rita succumbed to cancer, I went to her wake. When I got there the receiving line was filled with former students and it stretched all the way across the parking lot. When I finally left an hour plus later (without ever speaking to either of her daughters, that was all but impossible) the line had grown to circle all the way around the overflowing parking lot.

    She was a very special person. Most teachers are. Lord knows, they don’t do it for the money.

  24. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: Oh, absolutely. Not meant to suggest Sununu was being a peach (as you can see by my comment just above yours), just that the libertarians here aren’t normally so combative toward Republicans.

    @Sleeping Dog: Agreed. There does seem to be something going on with the Free Staters, did you see the list of “woke churches” they published last week? Not sure what is going on there, but they’ve definitely become more vocal. For the record, I don’t think that helps their cause.

  25. Joe says:

    That Trump had them at all should have us all asking why.

    This is why I was struck, Mikey, by the observation after the documents were first retrieved that some had Trump’s handwritten notes on them. I think these facts dispel any notion that the classified material just got thrown in the wrong box. Given the little that Trump appeared to pay attention to anything, he certainly seems to have been attentive and attached to these documents. Very curious and very concerning.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The wholesale price of gas has dropped sharply in a rare respite from recent highs on signs that Europe is preparing to intervene directly in energy markets.

    The European Commission said it was working “flat out” on an emergency package, and on a longer-term “structural reform of the electricity market” to combat soaring prices while efforts to fill gas storage facilities appear to be ahead of schedule. The day-ahead UK wholesale gas price tumbled by more than 20% to 447p per therm on Tuesday, while the month-ahead contract dropped by a quarter, to 473p per therm. Prices eased from near record highs but are still 12 times higher than at the start of 2021, before the energy crisis began.

    Well, good that they are taking action. I hope it’s enough to keep people from rioting in the streets.

  27. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Joe Henry has a great song called Sault Ste. Marie. Alt-country Americana.

    Joe Henry has a shit ton of great songs. Short Man’s Room is one of my favorite albums ever.

    I did a circumnavigation by road of the Great Lakes one summer. Superior, Duluth up to Thunder Bay then the whole shebang all the way around. It took a awhile. Back when going into Canada took a driver’s license.

    “Why are you entering Canada, sir?”

    “Well, initially, to go to Thunder Bay, then around all the Great Lakes, I’m not sure why, I’m looking for an epiphany or a reason to keep on living, I’ll figure it out on the way, I expect. It seems like a righteous thing to do. I want to do something to scratch this itch of mine.” (Not my actual response.)

    “Thank you, sir. Please proceed. Canada welcomes you.”

    He didn’t even search my car. Just passed me through. I felt vaguely offended he didn’t. I didn’t have any illegal drugs, but I kinda looked like a guy who would have illegal drugs.

    I’m sure there are lonelier border patrol stations in North Dakota and Montana, but damn, I kinda felt sorry for that guy.

    Past Grand Marais there is not not much north-bound traffic. Grand Portage is the border town. A very lonely road. Kinda spooky.

    I found my epiphany eventually.

  28. JohnSF says:

    I’d been inclined to think, at first, that Trump just had a “grab bag” collection, with genuinely sensitive material mixed up with autographed photos, old menus, and whatever caught his squirelly eye.

    But if he had TS/SCI stuff annotated, set aside in desk drawers, and specifically not returned when requested, he was obviously well aware of what he had.

    Likelihood of knowing nefariousness going on kicks up several notches.

  29. Kathy says:

    On the matter of going to the Moon, the European Space agency (ESA), is considering a proposal for space based solar power.

    Unfortunately the numbers don’t add up.

    The notion of having solar cells in stationary orbit (or Clarke orbit), is they’d hover over the same spot all day long. This eliminates the need to aim the microwave beam, or to track it, and allows for 24/7 energy download. Placed in any other orbit, they’d be far less useful and probably more expensive.

    Now, if you had a base on the Moon, with mining and manufacturing facilities, and a maglev track to launch stuff into space, the project would be far more feasible and economical. Of course, setting up such infrastructure on the Moon would be even more expensive.

    The reason colonizing space, if we ever do, will be a long, slow, arduous process was summed up by Robert Heinlein in a different context decades ago: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

  30. de stijl says:

    Now that I’m older, I kinda want to circumnavigate the Great Lakes by water. I can afford that now. A shitty little boat with a berth.

    I can sleep rough – not a problem for me at all. Hug the shore all the way around. Dip into a town when I want a good meal and a bed that doesn’t rock to the waves and swells.

    I could do that. I want to do that. I might need to do that.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:


    I was a long-term sub, short-term sub, and speech coach for about 10 years, in three different small school districts. The things I saw were… ugh.

    But two of the good stories to share:

    1) I was long-term subbing for my own HS art teacher (an amazing man to whom I owe a great deal) while he helped his wife through chemo. The 7th grade class was terrible. It got so bad, I turned it into “boot camp”–zero talking, you need to sharpen your pencil? You raise your hand and ask.

    The worst were three girls who sat in the back. Pardon my French, but they were absolute bitches*. The following year, I was still subbing. One of them came in and saw me.

    Her: Oh. It’s you.
    Me: Yep. It’s me.
    Her: We were kinda mean to you last year.
    Me: Yep.
    Her: We probably shouldn’t’ve done that.

    I just nodded, and she went to sit down. The class was fairly well behaved that year.

    The following year I was at the high school and she saw me.

    “Mr. M! Mr. M! Are you going to be here tomorrow, too? I want you to look at some of my drawings and critique them.”

    She went on to become a nurse.

    2) Recently I was answering support e-mails at work, and the guy wrote back: Are you the YiXiao that used to teach at [school]?

    Turns out he’s one of my old students (I hadn’t recognized the name). And he had just been telling his students about me the day before. I had made a real impact on him (he even picked up one of my silly phrases), and ended up going into theatre. He’s now running the theatre where I taught, and based on his experiences while I was there, pulled control away from the school and turned it into a commercially successful venue.

    * All came from bad homes. One of them had a single mother who (according to the girl) was “dating” a boy in middle school.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Good stories. Thanx.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From How the Webb Telescope Expanded My Universe (NYT):

    I have a confession to make: I underestimated the James Webb Space Telescope.

    For years, as NASA struggled to build the designated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, I came to think of the Webb as a problem child, ever-delayed, swallowing dollars that could have gone to other telescopes and space missions.

    The telescope was not named for some sky-breaking astronomer. Rather it carried the name of a bureaucrat, the former NASA Administrator James Webb, who oversaw the Apollo program to land on the Moon but also tolerated the purging of gay and lesbian people when he was a high official at the State Department. It was an infrared telescope, which would give astrophysicists a new angle on what was going on out there, but I didn’t think it could have the impact Hubble had.

    I was wrong.
    What I got wrong was that I overlooked how big the telescope was. Yes, its infrared capability gives it an edge in seeing galaxies so far away and back in time. But in addition to that, the Webb’s primary mirror, about seven meters in diameter, dwarfs any other telescope in space and most on the ground, rendering it 10 times as powerful as the Hubble, allowing it to pull in fainter and fainter galaxies from all epochs of cosmic time — from here to almost infinity.

    Underscoring this cosmic reach was another spectacle that The Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey, a team of astronomers led by Steven L. Finkelstein of the University of Texas in Austin, released last week. It is the result of 690 different images of a patch of sky about one-tenth the size of a full moon, according to Dr. Finkelstein. Combined, they are the equivalent of looking up through a soda straw at 13.5 billion years of history.

    How many straws do you need to take in a universe? Even a single straw is a porthole into the mystery of existence. It is full of galaxies — 30,000 of them, according to Dr. Finkelstein — in all shapes, sizes and colors, strung out in time and space — islands of creation where something might have happened or is happening now in remote lonely splendor.
    I haven’t been so entranced with a view of the heavens for a long time. I remember when I was a teenager shivering with my friends around a dwindling campfire high in the Cascade Mountains in Washington one crystal clear night, debating the fate of the universe. The stars, so bright, were like a revelation to a cloud-bound youth. I spent hours staring up at the stars, striving for some sort of visceral experience of how far they were. But you can’t measure your stride against a light-year, let alone a million or billion of them. It broke my imagination.

    Now it’s been broken again.

    Well said.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Right- and leftwing protesters, some heavily armed with semi-automatic rifles, faced off outside a “drag brunch” at a restaurant in Roanoke, Texas, video showed.

    The standoff on Sunday was filmed by a Dallas-based investigative reporter, whose footage spread online, and came amid rising tensions in US society, polls showing majorities of Americans believe political violence is becoming more likely.

    At the state level, Republican governments have passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws, particularly in education. At the national level, the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas has suggested the rights to same-sex marriage could be overturned, following the removal of the constitutional right to abortion.

    As the Guardian reported in July, drag queens are increasingly reporting rightwing harassment.

    In Arizona, the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake, recently tweeted: “They kicked God out of schools and welcomed the Drag Queens. They took down our Flag and replaced it with a rainbow … let’s bring back the basics: God, Guns and Glory.”

    In Texas, leftwing activists who stood outside the drag brunch carried semi-automatic rifles.

    It’s only a matter of time. This will not end well for somebody.

  35. CSK says:

    It probably won’t end well for a lot of people.

  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @de stijl:
    Happy September Eve! May it bring you the joy of the season!

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep, bullets don’t have names on them.

  38. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Just so. My mother used to read to her students when the lunch period ended, a fact that caused a number of them to credit her for their love of reading. The inscription on her tombstone reads, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Indeed, there will be violent incidents. But I can’t help but be amused at the outrage over supposed leftists doing what the right does routinely.

  40. JohnSF says:

    In some ways the news is even better:
    Russia today halted gas supply via Nordstream 1.
    “Technical issues”.
    Yeah, sure Ivan.
    Markets response: “Meh”

    Despite all the Russian mucking about, and the shortage of deepwater LNG terminals, Germany currently has storage at 80% of capacity.
    Full EU storage could last for around 3 months: enough to sustain the continent through the worst of winter without other sources.

    Longer in practice, given that non-Russian sources are now 80% of total European supply; up from 60% at the beginning of the year.
    The EU has been moving a lot faster than a lot of people expected on this.

    Prices will be high, and some rationing may be needed in both gas and electricity, if the winter is cold and prolonged.

    Bu my judgement would be Russia no longer has a chance of breaking the European economies this winter.
    Especially as price regulation is now being enforced.

    EU President von der Leyen:
    Energy prices are breaking record after record.
    The consequences for households and companies are not sustainable.
    We need to address this – together and urgently.
    … the real driver for the increase of electricity prices is … gas, and mainly Russian gas that has been manipulated by Putin.

    The electricity market is no longer a functioning market because there is one actor, Putin, who is systematically trying to destroy it and to manipulate it. …we are addressing now the composition of the electricity market.

    Last but not least, Putin’s attempt to blackmail us with fossil fuels is failing. We are accelerating the green transition. We are getting rid of the dependency of Russian fossil fuels.

    Ending our dependency on Russian fossil fuels is step one.
    Our increased need for other raw materials must not create new dependencies.
    We must diversify supply and build ties with reliable partners.
    I will be in Canada in two weeks to advance our partnership.

    Today is the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
    But we also mark 6 months since the beginning of Russia’s atrocious invasion.
    Our financial, humanitarian, military support is unwavering.
    Ukrainian people are fighting for our values.
    They must and they will prevail.
    Today we all look towards the future.
    A future where our Ukrainian friends can live in a free and independent Ukraine.
    Slava Ukraini!”

    Even the UK is beginning to make some moves: government today announced the mega-storage facility “Rough” in the North Sea would be opening.
    Well done lads, only been since February that it was urgently required 🙁
    Still, Johnson’s been so busy, eh?

    And hopefully, once this damn Conservative Party leadership election is done in a couple of weeks, Liz Sruss can finally be sat down by the grown-ups and told: “This is what you must do.”
    Cue a month of dog-in-the manger and ERG toddler tantrums, and we might just have a price control/subsidy regime in place for mid-November.
    No rush, chaps; in your own time eh? 🙁

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: I read to my sons every night since my eldest was 1-2 yo. After I’d read them a story, they got to pick a book of their own to page thru and read for another half hour or so. Both are big time readers with extensive libraries.

    @gVOR08: How dare those fake Americans exercise my rights!

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Prices will be high, and some rationing may be needed in both gas and electricity, if the winter is cold and prolonged.
    Bu my judgement would be Russia no longer has a chance of breaking the European economies this winter.

    That was pretty much my read as well.

  43. Kathy says:

    The FDA has authorized Omicron boosters from both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. As I understand these will be given in one shot. They contain mRNA for both the original strain, and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.

    As there were no phase 3 trials, we’ve no idea of the efficacy against infection. I would still urge everyone who can get it to get it as soon as it’s available.

  44. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Thanks for the update. Already talked with my doctor; it’s in the queue for my annual flu shot later this year.

    Now, if only I could be confident that my customers were so inclined. Oh heck, I’d settle for my immediate family to be willing to get the original booster shot. Oh, well, at least they all got the original vaccine.

  45. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    What I’d love to know is the reinfection rate for these sub variants. If it’s low, that bodes well for the new vaccine.

  46. dazedandconfused says:


    There’s another problem, Ukraine will probably need to get natural gas from the EU

    The long history of easy access to cheap Russian NG has them highly dependant on the stuff, up to 80% of households seem to depend on NG for both heat and hot water. Even IF the Russians opt not to start shelling Ukrainian gas infrastructure…

  47. Kylopod says:

    My Lord. Mary Peltola won the Alaska House seat!

    She’s the first Democrat to hold this seat since the original Nick Begich (grandfather of the current one) disappeared in 1972 in what is believed to have been a plane crash.

    This is a red wave year?

  48. Kathy says:


    I was not expecting this.

    But, it was a ranked choice voting election, and the GQP vote was split between two candidates.

    It’s still a major upset.

  49. Kylopod says:


    But, it was a ranked choice voting election, and the GQP vote was split between two candidates.

    By definition, the spoiler effect isn’t a factor in ranked-choice elections. If the GOP vote was split between Palin and Begich, it would cease to be a factor once second choices come into play.

    Of course, it’s quite possible that a nontrivial amount of Begich voters chose Peltola rather than Palin as their second choice. But that doesn’t make the outcome a fluke.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: According to the NYTimes, Peltola had a clear plurality (40%) and would have won outright absent RCV. But Palin only received 50% of the third place Republican votes, and Peltola received 29%. That wasn’t enough for Palin to close the gap.