Category: Mark’s Hill Column

The decline of SCOTUS

Radical justices are doing serious, possibly irrepealable damage to the Supreme Court on which they sit. When the draft abortion opinion leaked, I wrote here that by “slapping two-thirds of the country in the face [those who oppose overturning Roe], the Court will have sacrificed its legitimacy at a time when restoring it may be

Read more

How many endorse political violence?

“Professors Debate” is a headline that would not have merited a “breaking news” banner, even under CNN’s old regime. But this debate is both  important and timely, given the January 6 committee hearings: How many Americans countenance political violence and what difference does that level of support make? As with many academic debates, the differences can seem

Read more

Will 2022 tell us about 2024?

While no one knows exactly how bad this year will be for Democrats, every serious analyst recognizes 2022 is unlikely to be good for my party. Whatever the precise outcome, too many will blithely assume that the 2022 results will yield significant insights into President Biden’s prospects in 2024. History makes clear that 2022 will tell us

Read more

Polls vs. initiative results

Last week, The New York Times’s astute chief political analyst, Nate Cohn, raised serious doubts about polling on background checks for gun purchasers and, by extension, about the efficacy of issue polling generally. The heart of his case: “When voters in four Democratic-leaning states got the opportunity to enact expanded gun background checks into law

Read more

The Roe effect

After the Supreme Court’s radical draft opinion revoking Roe v. Wade was released, Washington Post headline writers opined that it would “deepen America’s divide.” In fact, we are relatively united on the key point at issue here: Americans overwhelmingly want Roe to remain what Justice Neil Gorsuch called “the law of the land.” Few support overruling it.

Read more

How does an activist think?

You know what activists think. They tell you. Often and loudly. That’s what makes them activists. Those active for good causes play a vital role. Without them, the pace of positive change would slow to a crawl. But activists’ attitudes don’t always reflect the views of the majority, or even the views of the communities

Read more

The limits of diplomacy

While President Biden has done a remarkable job building a coalition and executing a plan to help Ukraine fight back against Russian aggression, the far left of the Democratic Party has exhibited a halting and inconsistent policy toward the Russia’s invasion. Their problem stems in part from a broader misunderstanding of the role of diplomacy — a

Read more

Why is Putin popular?

We tend to naturally assume that cruel, kleptocratic dictators are unpopular among their constituents. It ain’t necessarily so.  Witness Vladimir Putin.  There is no doubt he’s ruthless and evil. A former KGB agent, Putin invaded two sovereign countries even before his latest unprovoked war against Ukraine.    He’s jailed, and even poisoned, his political opponents, in particularly

Read more

Do SOTU speeches change opinion?

Pomp and circumstance returned just in time for President Biden to deliver an outstanding State of the Union address (SOTU) yesterday. He defined the stakes in Ukraine, while making clear his central role in uniting the world against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.    The president acknowledged the economic challenges confronting us and mapped out ways to meet them, while

Read more

Moderates or extremists?

Each of us carries around in our heads some theories about how the world works that animate our broader outlook. We often assume others, or at least others “like us,” share those theories.  For example, I’ve long thought that, on average, it’s easier for moderates to win general elections (not primaries) than it is for extreme

Read more

Whether winning for you means getting more votes than your opponent, selling more product, changing public policy, raising more money or generating more activism, The Mellman Group transforms data into winning strategies.