Category: Mark’s Hill Column

When questions don’t mean what they say

Polling is seductive. (Polling, not pollsters.) You ask questions, get answers and turn those answers into numbers. Some people put decimal points next to those numbers to make you think they’re dealing with physics.  Everyone just assumes that the answers are meaningful. Often, they aren’t. During the run up to last year’s Alabama special Senate

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Why Kavanaugh should withdraw

From Sens. John Glenn (D-Ohio), John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) in years past, to Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Jared Golden and Ken Harbaugh today, I’ve been privileged to work for combat veterans who not only put country over party, but were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the nation they loved. Unfortunately, Brett Kavanaugh seems not

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When attack ads cross the line

There ought to be a line. I’ve defended negative ads here in the past and I do believe they can provide legitimate information that is actually useful to voters. But there ought to be a line we don’t cross between truth and fiction, between legitimate debate and simple demagoguery. We can debate whether tax cuts

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Two forces collide

Nov. 6 will witness the collision of two powerful political forces. Antipathy to President Trump will slam headlong into America’s current political geography. What emerges from that crash will determine not only control of Congress, but also the course of our national politics. Americans’ disdain for Trump is clear. Since 1945, only one president, Harry Truman, has

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Two worlds — Online and off

Social listening — monitoring social media for comments, in this case, about your candidate and opponent — is one of the new techniques making its way into political campaigns and lots of screws are being pounded into lots of boards as folks learn how to use the tool.  Such analyses can be quite useful in

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Are Democrats losing or winning?

Two months ago, we were deluged with seemingly dismal news for Democrats. Newsweek’s headline asked, “Are Democrats Losing Their 2018 Midterm Advantage?” If the question itself left anyone in doubt, the headline went on to offer an answer: “A New Poll Says Yes.” CNN claimed “Democrats’ 2018 advantage is nearly gone,” while Slate inquired “Are Democrats losing the

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(Mis)interpreting elections

From our first appearance on earth, human beings have searched for meaning. We naturally incline toward interpreting events and ascribing significance to them. A grizzled journalist of an earlier generation brought home to me the practical implications of this never-ending search. After one particularly dull and sparsely attended debate prior to the 1988 Iowa caucuses

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What’s wanted in a Supreme Court justice

What do Americans want from the next Supreme Court justice? First and foremost, they want a consensus nominee. By creating the possibility of a purely partisan pick, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did great violence to our political process that will reverberate for decades. Eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees enables a bare and temporary

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Red Hens, babies & the great unraveling

At the risk of alienating friends, I want to delve, not too deeply, into the now infamous incident at the Red Hen of Lexington, Va. (not to be confused with the unrelated Red Hen of Washington, D.C.). I’m no foodie, a fact apparently underlined by my complete ignorance of both establishments. But my interest here

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Trump can fix it

If we didn’t know it from the public outpouring of anger and criticism by leaders across the political spectrum, we now know it from the polls: Americans overwhelmingly oppose President Trump’s policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 14-17, found Americans opposed the separation by nearly

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