Category: Mark’s Hill Column

The rise of the pro-choice majority

Cold War babies like me were taught to abhor communism as children. My earliest memory of such instruction came from a teacher who raged against what she claimed was communism’s demand that people inform on family, friends and neighbors, turning them over to the secret police for actions or views critical of the regime. I

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Your rights and my nose

My father, of blessed memory, a stalwart civil libertarian who cut his teeth as a lawyer defending people accused of being communists by McCarthyite goons, used to say, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” The aphorism seems particularly apt at a time when one of the greatest collective threats we face is a pathogen

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Voters favor Biden’s infrastructure plan

Any careful reckoning would conclude that polling on massive, multipart legislative packages is beset by problems. Our typical notion of public opinion assumes people hold views in their heads which polls simply measure. Often though, we aren’t measuring public attitudes but creating them, by asking votes to develop opinions on the spot, in response to

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Prices & the personal economy

Everybody “knows” two things about the economy: it’s (at least somewhat) important politically and it’s getting better. Take the first as a given, but the second needs greater exploration. First, what do we mean by this abstraction we call the economy? For economists it is “the large set of inter-related production, consumption, and exchange activities

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I’m OK, but you’re not

I’ve long said there is a minor Ph.D. dissertation in it. Spoofing a late 1960s self-help guide, it’s a phenomenon I labeled, “I’m OK, you’re not.” It’s the tendency to think things are alright in our own spaces but pretty awful elsewhere. I first noticed it during the health care reform debate of the 1990s.

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McConnell’s specious argument against federal voting laws

In his long, largely unprincipled pursuit of power at any price, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proved particularly adept at inventing constitutional principles and American history from whole cloth. So it was when McConnell fabricated the claim that the Senate didn’t confirm Supreme Court nominees in presidential election years; and so it is today, when

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Trump voters cling to 2020 tale

While most Americans rightly see Joe Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election, time, facts and evidence have done little to shift the attitudes of Trump voters who stubbornly cling to the fantasy that their candidate actually won. In Arizona, for example, a poll my firm completed at the end of May found just

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Evidence and experts or common sense

In our hyperpolarized society, the left can’t talk to the right and the right can’t talk to the left. Liberals and conservatives hold different values, worship different heroes, abhor different villains, respond to different vocabulary, trust different sources of information and tell different stories about the world, and their experience in it. The gulf is

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The systemic racism in voting

You want evidence of systemic racism? Black Americans have to overcome significantly higher barriers to voting than whites. Black people are forced to wait in considerably longer lines to cast their ballots than white people. Whatever the views or intent of individuals, the system is producing an outcome that is both racially biased and highly

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Changing pandemic politics

In the past hundred years, two particularly deadly pandemics plagued America. Comparing them offers some important lessons about our changed politics. Though it may have started in the U.S., the “Spanish flu” of 1918 killed about 675,000 Americans and some 50 million worldwide. COVID-19 has, so far, taken the lives of more than 580,000 Americans

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