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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘I wanted to take action’: behind the ‘Wall of Moms’ protecting Portland’s protesters

    “As most of you have read and seen on the news,” she wrote, “protesters are being hurt (without cause). And as of late, protesters are being stripped of their rights by being placed in unmarked cars by unidentifiable law enforcement. We moms are often underestimated. But we’re stronger than we’re given credit for.”

    Barnum called for a group to dress in white and form a protective line between police and demonstrators who Trump painted as anarchists. “Let’s make it clear that we will protect protesters without the use of violence,” she said. “We will shine a light of the unjust narrative being thrown around.”

    The first group of nearly 40 mothers lined up that evening, chanting: “Feds stay clear, moms are here.” Their line offered little protection once the federal officers started firing teargas and flash-bangs and charging with batons. But they were back in larger numbers the following evening, this time wearing yellow and carrying sunflowers. By Monday, the Wall of Moms had become the main event as Ullman and hundreds of others decided this was the moment to make a stand.

    Jennifer Bradly, a grandmother, hesitated to join the protests earlier. “I’m not crazy about the feds sweeping people off the streets,” said the post office mailwoman wearing a “Union Proud” badge. “I’ve been active with Black Lives Matter but these demonstrations looked too violent to me until I saw the Wall of Moms. It’s a big group of like-minded people.”

    Bradly said many of the women were brought out by Trump’s intervention but it was important to keep the focus on the demand for reform of the police, including in Portland where the force is under court oversight because of officers shooting homeless people.

    “It feels like people are not going to give up. This time feels different,” she said, reflecting on how little policing changed after other killings before George Floyd. He died in Minneapolis on 25 May, after an office knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

    The Portland protests have occurred every night in the nearly two months since. After the initial surge, support waned, a few hundred turning out night after night. But outrage at Trump deploying federal agents, many untrained in policing, to end what he called anarchy, has reignited the protests.

    Way to go trump. You’ve just turned Mom against you. For your next act why don’t you piss on apple pies?

  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump tells British Ambassador to get the British Government to steer the British Open to his failing golf course in Scotland.
    Another story that would end any other political career…but for Trump…meh…
    When you have a press corps that doesn’t even ask Trump about Putin putting bounties on the heads of our soldiers…no way a simple corruption like this will sink in.

  3. Tyrell says:

    “Chicago meltdown!”
    Mayor Lightfoot calls for the federal government to send in help. If I were her I would take all I could get: National Guard, US Marines (Semper Fi!), Navy SEALS, US Army Rangers, DELTA force, NSA, CIA and whatever else is available. Round up the gang members and dope dealers. Send them out of town and tell them to stay out (“hasta la vista, baby!”). Have makeshift courts and trials right there on the streets.
    The law-abiding citizens of Chicago want the streets cleaned up so they can walk down the streets with their families once again.
    Mayor Lightfoot has some fire to her. She should have been focusing on this all along instead of spending time hassling people who were going to church or walking around on the lakefront.
    “You can go home pig or pork. Make up your mind!” (Marshall Dillon, “Gunsmoke” He knew how to handle troublemakers)
    Let me make this perfectly clear: this has been going on for some time, long before Mayor Lightfoot got in. But she has an iron will and can finally clean things up.

  4. Kathy says:

    I went to a hospital yesterday to visit my mother (she’s ok, but needed back surgery).

    It was a bit of a let down, as it felt just like going anywhere else. You had to wait socially distancing outside, then have your temperature checked, then take hand sanitizer, all while wearing a mask like everyone else around you. Just like at the supermarket and the bank.

    The one odd thing is they had elevator operators. I thought that breed was extinct, especially since these elevators had buttons like any other. It strikes me as stupid during a pandemic to have someone cooped up in a small room all day long where people come and go.

    Aside from that, only one visitor is allowed per patient at a time So the place is largely empty. They have badges with room numbers. At the entrance you say whet room you’re vising. If the badge is there, you leave an ID, take the badge, and go right in. If the badge isn’t there, you have to call and ask the person in visiting to switch with you.

  5. Kathy says:

    The latest ad from the Lincoln Project is up.

    trump turns out to be a great comedian when he’s trying hard to be serious.

  6. Bob@Youngstown says:

    In light of a global pandemic, should vaccine formulation information be treated as proprietary intellectual property?

    Assume that the reports of “hacking” of Coronavirus vaccine research information did not involve the corrupting of research data, but was limited to spying or eavesdropping. And assuming that the entire world is “in this together” to contain Covid-19, does it make sense that research should be treated in the same manner as (say) research in developing a new light bulb or wireless generation.

    I’m of a mind that there should be a moral or ethical obligation for the world’s bio-tech and pharmaceutical establishments to share research information without regard to national borders in light of a global pandemic.

  7. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    This must be referring to what happened in 2018, since the 2020 open has been canceled. Leave it to Trump to embarrass the hell out of ne of his ambassadors.

  8. CSK says:

    Ah, the Seinfeld parody, complete with laugh track. Right?

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Will Clean Energy Projects Face Troubles That Have Bedeviled Pipelines?

    Opposition to the siting of solar and wind farms was a topic last week, something to add to the discussion.

    Environmentalist are going to rue their own legal cleverness as we begin missing targets for conversion to green energy due to tactics they pioneered.

  10. sam says:
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: This is where the federal government comes in. There is no one at a publicly held pharmaceutical company (i.e. all of them) that could legally make that decision. CEO’s and Presidents first obligation is to maximize profits. If they acted in any other way the shareholders could sue and most certainly win. The only thing that trumps that is the law. Congress and other governments would have to pass laws compelling that behavior. The laws in the US would have to be incredibly well crafted (i.e. not by Republicans) in order for them to survive legal challenges.

  12. CSK says:

    I have to add something to this: Woody Johnson, the ambassador in question, has made some really offensive racist and sexist comments. But, at least according to what I read, he didn’t push Trump’s businesses.

  13. SKI says:

    @CSK: yup, February 2018.


    But, at least according to what I read, he didn’t push Trump’s businesses.

    Nope, reports are that @CSK: he tried.

    The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try. A few weeks later, he raised the idea of Turnberry playing host to the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell.

  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Mayor Lightfoot calls for the federal government to send in help.

    This is not true. The help she wants is meaningful national level gun law reform.

  15. Kathy says:


    I think the board of a company can make such decisions.

    this is a real worldwide emergency. Around 7 billion vaccine doses are needed. If we’re lucky, we’ll have several vaccines by 2021. But all pharmaceuticals working on vaccines ought to license it widely for free, at least to stop this wave, or the second wave if that is when they are approved.

    Chances are more doses will be required in upcoming years, as long-term immunity is still an open question. But even with long term immunity, or rather especially with long term immunity, we have a chance to eradicate SARS-CoV-2 forever, as we’ve done with smallpox and nearly did with polio.

    Another thing, SARS-CoV-2 has been found in pets and in some farm animals. That’s a big concern, as infections in animals will drive mutations, which will then pass on back to us. That’s what happens with various influenza strains, and why the yearly flu vaccine is a crap shoot. I don’t know how it works, but if vaccinating livestock and pets helps keep them from becoming reservoirs of virus, we should definitely do it.

    So there will be an ample market both in time and in amount for vaccines. No company need monopolize it now.

  16. CSK says:

    Thanks for the addendum. This appears to be breaking news. What I read at first seemed to cear Johnson of pushing Trump’s business, but shortly later added the info about Johnson’s racism and sexism. Trump sure picks some winners.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    I checked out The American Conservative a couple days ago and found Rod Dreher discussing an interview in New York Mag with David Shor. In 2012, at the age of 20, Shor was the “Obama campaign’s in-house Nate Silver”. Shor recently lost a job because of blowback on a comment he made about peaceful demonstrations working better than violent protest. Dreher goes off on cancel culture then distorts what Shor said about the influence of race on the 2016 election and goes off into the ozone with a rant about we’re not racist, Ds are the real racists. But the Shor interview is fascinating. Quite long, but well worth the read. He has a number of interesting observations, mostly data driven. A sampling:
    – His advice to campaigns generally comes down to, “You should put your money in cheap media markets in close states close to the election, and you should talk about popular issues, and not talk about unpopular issues.”
    – There are a lot of working class white people, so they have a lot of political power, and they’re trending Republican.
    – And he wishes it were because of “economic anxiety” because that would be easy to deal with. It’s race.
    – Black and Hispanic voters are trending right. But slowly.
    – Ds lost the Obama-Trump voters, but the Romney-Clinton voters are remaining D, because college educated professionals have become Ds.
    – And these people, and the wealthy, are the “small donors”, hundreds of dollars at a time. For Ds
    “non-transactional” money is now all the money. National Ds aren’t very dependent on corporate money. State and local pols are.
    – The EC is getting worse, Ds are going to need a 3.5 to 4% popular vote margin to clear the EC.
    – The Senate is looking bad past 2020. There are D Senators in R states. People used to ticket split, they don’t anymore. If they vote R for prez, they’ll vote R for Senator. (I count eight D Senators in states that voted for Trump and one R in a state that went for Hillary.)
    – Right now we need 52% (of major party votes) to clear the EC. Biden’s been polling at 52, now with COVID at 54. (And going up since, butTuesday’s COVID briefing sure looked like people have told Trump the same thing.)

    We talk about Trump destroying the GOP brand. But in reality we have a bungled response to a pandemic, a recession like the Great Depression, rioting and paramilitary “police” in our streets, and a string of scandals so long they’re not news. And after all that we have only a better than average chance of voting the bum out. Come 2022 and 2024 D pols had better have listened to people like Stor.

  18. KM says:


    – Black and Hispanic voters are trending right. But slowly.

    This is not a surprise as culturally a lot of Hispanic families are conservative. Dems really are the party of Everyone The GOP Currently Hates On – the second the GOP stops being so damn racist / sexist / anti-LGBT / anti-abortion, we’re going to lose a massive chunk of voters we only have because they’ve got nowhere else to go. The GOP has made a conscious choice to pander to a specific group and belief set but should they actually go through with expanding their outreach, they’d have a huge grip on the politics for the next few decades.

  19. MarkedMan says:


    I think the board of a company can make such decisions.

    While they may have the legal right to make such a decisions, a shareholders lawsuit would be based on whether or not such a decision was in the best interest of the shareholders, not of the country. Numerous cases in the US set precedence that must be the primary concern.

    The US Congress could remove all outside pressure by mandating this. They should do so.

  20. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tyrell: This. This is the moronacracy that has infected this country and why we can’t have nice things.

    These people think its all about sending in the calvary [magic] problem solved. None of those organization he mentioned are outfitted for counter-narcotics operations. A couple of them were in the 90s when America was knee deep in the war on drugs–9 11 changed all of that. You can’t pivot from counter terrorism – counter narc overnight. Different tradecraft involved and different objectives. You can blow terrorists up–counter narc operations on US soil would not be able to do that–the “explosion” if you will would be arrests.

    But beyond the technical feasibility–the Bubba crowd doesn’t understand (and frankly wouldn’t care because it gives them a knife to throw at Democrats) is that major cities are also major smuggling and distribution hubs for the the double-digit Billion dollar drug trade in American. It doesn’t matter who runs these cities–as long as they are black market there are no legal mechanisms to resolve disputes, protect property, or increase market share. Therefore, people settle these disputes with guns. Period. End of story.

    Ive seen some psychology experiments that show that at 200% profit margin, there is an inexhaustible supply of people willing to take risk on the supply sided of any black market. I just saw a documentary of a pill-pusher in NYC who cleared 13K off a $2500 investment. He laughed behind his dark glasses and hood saying “try getting that in the stock market…”

    So with all those atmospherics, people like Tyrell (who I will admit is probably not a significant minority) believe that we just send in white hat occupying forces and problem solved. NO ONE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD IS “SOLVING” THIS PROBLEM USING THESE TECHNIQUES

    The real question is: When are (white) Americans going to stop using so many drugs and fueling the world drug trade? And my second question–to the HL92 types of the world who believe that crime statistics justify policing tactics and response: Given that supply side interdictions are useless because of the profit margins involved–why aren’t the jails in the country full of drug users–instead of poor people trying to be upwardly mobile supplying drugs to the Ken&Karens or suburbia?

  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Ron Johnson (R-Wis) chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, who spent the 4th of July in 2018 in Moscow, is now helping Putin help Trump.
    His office is openly accepting propaganda material from Russia-friendly Ukrainians that Republicans are gearing up to use to smear Biden.
    106 days out…and this election is going to get really ugly really fast.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jim Brown 32:..sending in the calvary…

    A nit to pick. Could have been your spell checker or a slip of the digits.
    I’m sure you meant cavalry. Mounted soldiers.
    Not the mount on which the crucifixion took place as related in scripture.

  23. Teve says:

    @sam: have you ever spent any serious time with a sawsall? Cutting a garage in half with one requires a level of enthusiasm I’ve seldom had for anything.

    I hope he was using 9” carbide blades, that would’ve made it a little better.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Cutting a garage in half with one requires a level of enthusiasm I’ve seldom had for anything.

    Plus, look how friggin’ clean the cut is!!!
    Of a kind…check out the “art” of Gordon Matta-Clark.

  25. sam says:

    The real Men from Maine.

  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mister Bluster: part spell checker–part laziness to qc longer posts–and part meds for my tendonitis flare up. Lol

  27. sam says:

    Civil war in the leper colony:

    Matt Gaetz
    Liz Cheney has worked behind the scenes (and now in public) against @realDonaldTrump
    and his agenda.
    House Republicans deserve better as our Conference Chair.
    Liz Cheney should step down or be removed.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:


    Never thought I’d see the day when I believed that Liz Cheney was on the right side of something.

  29. sam says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I think they’re pissed off because she defended Fauci = being against @realDonaldTrump
    and his agenda.

  30. CSK says:

    Latest MAGA t-shirt: “We just wish Ghislaine the best.”

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: The suburbs of Baltimore despise the city for the (very real) drug problems here. Back in the 90’s when I lived here before the Police Department did a reverse sting for a weekend, where they took over a street known for selling drugs and put police offices in as “pushers” and made the potential buyers be very clear as to what they were buying, then arrested them. 90%+ were from the suburbs. I would bet that 90% of the junkies were raised in the suburbs or rural areas, and their police beat them the hell outta town and into Baltimore once they became addicts. Suburbs don’t deal with serious problems, they just use their police force to drive it into the cities and then complain.

  32. Tyrell says:

    @Jim Brown 32: It is 2:30 am. Someone is breaking into my house. I do not have a network alarm system. I do not have a Doberman. The only weapons I have are a broomstick and a tennis racket. Who am I going to call? What if the police are not available and 911 has been “defunded”?
    What if I own a store and someone is setting it on fire?
    I will take any help I can get.
    And we had our share of the “black ops” people roaming around here a few years ago. It was called an “exercise” and was supposed to be so secretive no one would notice. How can you not notice loud flocks of black military choppers flying low overhead all hours of the night? Strange sounds, black vehicle cruising around, explosions, and weird lights?
    So we have had it and noticed it.
    There are secret government agencies that even Congress and the President do not know about. At one time only a few members of Congress knew about the NSA.
    I was a Browns fan until they moved. Great players and coaches. The only team named after a person.

  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Gawd, man. You’re delusional. Seek professional help, before you hurt yourself or someone else.

  34. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Kathy: \@MarkedMan:
    In today’s news, one of the vaccine manufacturers announced that they would provide vaccine doses either at cost or no cost. (I didn’t catch which manufacturer).
    Since they have indicated that they are foregoing profit, does that place them in jeopardy of a stockholders suit as MarkedMan suggests?

  35. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Tyrell says that he was a middle school teacher. I hope that he was not this delusional while teaching.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    The Senate is looking bad past 2020.

    Actually, 2022 looks good for Democrats, as they have to defend only 12 seats while Republicans have to defend 22 seats…things will be trickier in 2024, but if the Dems have a successful presidential candidate, they should be able to minimize their losses…

    The GOP has made a conscious choice to pander to a specific group and belief set but should they actually go through with expanding their outreach, they’d have a huge grip on the politics for the next few decades.

    If they expand their outreach to ethnic minorities they will alienate their racist white base and where will those people go? Certainly not to the Democrats…a new 3rd party, perhaps? So if they try to expand in that way, they will splinter their own party…

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    That and she’s criticized regarding some foreign policy issues, in particular the Kurds, withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. Mostly she stands up and says she’s behind The Reality Show Host…, but w/o a lot of conviction. Unlike most R’s who need to be a bit of afraid of him and stay on his good side, Cheney has her own power base and to an extent, brush him off.

    This is also about what happens after The Reality Show Host… If the R’s were to retake the House at some point, Cheney is an odds on favorite to be Speaker, the Freedom Caucus types don’t want that.

  38. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Remember: it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: They’ve got a tiger by the tail, and they daren’t let go.

  40. Joe says:


    “We just wish Ghislaine the best.”

    Not that I care, but can you imagine being Trump’s handler and hearing that come out of his mouth? “FFS, Mr. President, couldn’t you have just said something about allowing justice to take its course?”

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: “FFS, Mr. President, couldn’t you have just said something about allowing justice to take its course?”

    And he would have replied, “Isn’t that just what I said?” You gotta remember what kind of justice he gave Stone.

  42. CSK says:

    I have no sympathy for Trump’s handlers, but I wonder occasionally how they do their jobs without resorting to liquor and drugs in copious amounts. Maybe they’re being paid vast additional sums of money under the table. That would be the only inducement. It’s not as if the item “responsible for attempting to muzzle Donald Trump” is going to enhance their resumes.

  43. Teve says:

    Went looking through some nearby papers. This is from the Tampa Bay Times.

    The number of coronavirus cases among nursing home residents and staff increased by more than 100 percent between June 30 and July 20, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

    Bye-bye mammaw.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Can you say chutzpa?

    A Straight-Faced Conway Just Scolded States For Reopening ‘Too Quickly’

    “Some of these states blew through our criteria, blew through our phases and they opened up some of the industries a little too quickly, like bars,” Conway told reporters outside of the White House Wednesday.

    The administration official argued that governors were the ones who chose to reopen their states and therefore Trump cannot be held responsible for the subsequently disastrous COVID spike consequences.

    “Remember, the governors wanted complete latitude over when they would open their states,” Conway said. “They pushed back heavily, handsomely, Republicans and Democrats, when it was falsely rumored that the President was going to be in charge of opening the states. He’s a federalist. He believes in states’ rights.”

  45. Kathy says:


    The Costanza Principle:It’s not a lie if you believe it.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: There it is.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: You DO get that Marshal Dillon was a FICTIONAL character, right?

  48. Kathy says:


    Keep it in mind when opening schools leads to another spike in cases, and the Trump team tells the same lie to deflect blame.

  49. Moosebreath says:


    ““FFS, Mr. President, couldn’t you have just said something about allowing justice to take its course?””

    Yes, but then she would not get the message that a pardon will follow if she keeps quiet.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I can always tell when trump or one of his Admin is lying.

  51. Teve says:


    I fear the United States is irreparable. I believe conservative media & GOP created an alternate reality that left millions of people consumed by fantasy conspiracies. I believe theyre lost in rage addiction & ignorance. I fear the insanity that brought Trumpism is here for good.

  52. Moosebreath says:


    “I can always tell when trump or one of his Admin is lying.”

    They are moving their lips?

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath: Dingdingding! We have a winner.

  54. CSK says:

    In this case, it really is true.

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Yes. Unless it is the manufacturer that the Trump administration agreed to pay $1.95B

  56. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe: c’mon. Is it more likely that aTrump is oblivious, or that Trump thinks Maxwell has evidence showing she procured a thirteen year old for Donnie Boy? Let’s not be deliberately naive here…

  57. Teve says:

    Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs just said that he is giving up and now believes that everything Trump does is deliberately, maliciously to wreck America.

    I don’t agree with him, but I don’t dismiss him either.

  58. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: Perhaps the odious one, along with his fellow Republican enablers, is only trying to wreck certain parts of America…

  59. Teve says:

    Just watching a live feed of the justice building in downtown Portland 2300 local time. Whole bunch of people milling around, chanting FEDS GO HOME! FEDS GO HOME! No chaos whatsoever.

  60. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tyrell: I hate to break it to you brother–but you’d be SOL–the police won’t be there in time to protect you or anything you value. They’ll clean up the mess and file a report–and maybe catch the guy/gal that robbed you sometime later. Maybe.

    But at any rate–there is a difference between Policing (the societal function) and Police (the human actors we charge to do policing. There will always be a need for Policing and there will be police to do that task. What ‘Defund the Police’ gets at–is that the Police are not doing the right tasks under the umbrella of Policing. To use your own analogy–good Policing would be that the Police had the intel and surveillance in place know your burglar was planning an operation or had conducted other operations in your area. This would allow them to: 1. arrest him so that your property wouldn’t be robbed. OR 2. respond uber quickly to your 911 call so as to catch the burglar on the scene or a their safe house.

    But we can’t have high end services like that because Police are undercover tax collectors issuing tickets for moving violations, responding to domestic violence calls, and disrespecting taxpayer while they flex their authority. Enough! You, I are NOT getting our tax monies worth out of this institution. There IS a better way–re diverting funds is a start.