Category: Mark’s Hill Column

The 2016 and 2020 races: What’s different?

We’re just past the traditional Labor Day start of a presidential campaign that feels like it’s been engaged for four years, so it’s finally reasonable to ask how it’s looking. The answer’s simple: good for Joe Biden. He’s ahead in the national polls and in states worth more than 315 electoral votes, with 270 needed to

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Is it Trump or the virus?

While only a fool would take November for granted, in recent days, the commentariat’s consensus has moved in the direction I’ve been arguing for months — concluding former Vice President Joe Biden occupies a very strong position. Which raises an important question: is it the virus or is it President Trump?  Most analysts suggest it’s the coronavirus killing

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The next American revolution

Revolutions are rarely made by the powerless. Sometimes they’re made in the name of the powerless; sometimes the formerly powerless seize power during later stages of revolutions. But most often, the very condition of powerlessness means they lack the resources to make a revolution. Much academic ink has been spilled attempting to elucidate the causes

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Roberts rescues the right?

Republicans are mad as hell at Chief Justice John Roberts because he kept his sworn commitment to follow settled law. Roberts refused to void ObamaCare, preserved Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), protected Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed LGBTQ rights. His critics on the right should calm down: Roberts could be saving the Supreme Court’s

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Reforming police in America

Americans are demanding police reform. And it’s not just those who’ve taken to the streets. It’s folks sitting at home in every demographic subgroup of this country. Whether George Floyd’s murder represents a long-term turning point in public opinion or a massive, but temporary, bump, we can’t know for a while. But the current demand

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Race and empathy

Empathy — our ability to imagine ourselves as another, to feel what another person is feeling—is central to America’s conversation about race. But our ability to empathize is limited by our experience. Most of us have endured physical pain, suffered the loss of parent, been rejected by a significant other and failed to achieve a

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Just how important are the issues?

Many commentators reported perplexity. How could Democratic primary voters be endorsing Bernie Sanders’s policy proposals by large margins, but casting ballots for Joe Biden? Answers fall into at least two categories, both with broader implications. First, a single poll question on a complex topic rarely reveals a complete portrait of public opinion. Second, issues rarely decide elections.

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Geography and gerrymander

Corrupt GOP gerrymandering is rampant and I’m proud to have played a small role in ending it in Michigan, through the victory of Proposition 2, which transfers the power to draw district lines from politicians to an independent commission. However, Democrats would be foolish to imagine that Republican conspiracies are the root of all our problems translating

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Do party platforms matter for candidates?

In a political system featuring entrepreneurial politicians who work to fashion their own images, and in an era of weak parties, commentators commonly dismiss the significance of party platforms. “Who cares what ‘the party’ says,” the conventional wisdom goes, “candidates will do what they want.” While there’s some truth in this caricature, history suggests it’s

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Reputations of leaders in crises

Leaders frequently forge their reputations in crises. In normal times, competition for the public’s attention is fierce. Crises, by contrast, put leaders at the center of our focus. Almost every eye is firmly fixed on them. A Business Insider poll found two-thirds of Americans watching the president’s near daily briefings, with a total of 88

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