Category: Mark’s Hill Column

‘All politics is local’ isn’t true anymore

Consider some facts, and contemplate their implication: •    The number of congressional districts producing split decisions — supporting one party for president and the other for Congress — was lower in 2016 than at any point since 1920. •      For the first time since 1916, 2016 produced a perfect correlation between Senate

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Immigrant hate during US history

There’s not an ounce of original thought in Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant bigotry. It treads an ugly, but well-worn path in American politics. In famously asserting, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime.

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The state of Trump and the Union

President Trump and Co. are hoping to “reset” his beleaguered presidency with this week’s State of the Union address. History suggests it won’t happen. Rarely have State of the Union speeches had significant or lasting impact on presidents’ approval rating. Moreover, President Trump faces obstacles other presidents have not. First and foremost, he has created a

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On Political Authenticity (Part 2)

Last week, we explored the complexity of authenticity and noted that scholars had identified three categories relevant to politics: Type authenticity — something true to its genre. Idiosyncratic authenticity — a commonly recognized quirky uniqueness. Moral authenticity — the sincerity of the moral and values-driven choices a person makes. We also saw that a singular

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Authenticity in politics (Part I)

Just after Virginia’s election, my friend Jesse Ferguson explained in these pages that one of Gov.-elect Ralph Northam’s greatest assets was his authenticity. Studies reveal that consumers will pay more for products they deem authentic. “Authentic” Asian restaurants in San Francisco command higher ratings than clean ones, according to one careful analysis. A Saudi prince

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Changing views on gender, harassment

Our country is experiencing an important moment right now concerning our response to sexual harassment. Already it has changed mores, altered who we see on television and in movies, and removed political decisionmakers from Congress and state legislatures. Such moments can affect elite behavior however, without altering public opinion. Has this moment actually changed mass

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History’s judgment

History will judge the current Republican Congress harshly. Their fellow citizens already are. In a mid-November Quinnipiac University poll, a mere 15 percent approved of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs, while 79 percent disapproved. Never has a congressional party been so unpopular. Neither have their leaders. Just 25 percent of Americans

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From Virginia to …

Virginia victories provided Democrats with a needed psychological shot in the arm. My firm was particularly thrilled to see our client, Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax become the second African-American to win statewide office in Virginia, despite being outspent 4-to-1. But while the depth and breadth of Democratic victories in the Commonwealth was wonderful news, it’s

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Damaging dialogue

Democrats’ latest drama is dividing friends, colleagues and party leaders. People I love and admire argue the presidential primary process was “rigged,” while individuals for whom I have just as much affection and admiration respond that it’s nonsense. I’m going to tick them all off by taking no position on the underlying controversy, except to

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Does ‘us’ need ‘them’?

Democrats and Republicans dislike each other more than ever before. Donald Trump won the White House, in part, by creating an identity for his followers — distinguishing sharply between an aggrieved “us” and a guilty “them.” Disregarding the definitional problems I’ve treated before, America feels deeply polarized. How did that come about? Numerous hypotheses have been

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