Category: Mark’s Hill Column

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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Is the era of government back?

Like most Americans, and nearly everyone on my side of the partisan divide, I’m thrilled with the agenda President Biden has laid out and pleased with the high levels of public support it has generated. Support for his COVID-19 relief bill ranged from 61 percent to 78 percent, depending on the poll, with many surveys showing 70

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Biden’s approval & polling’s problems

With President Biden reaching the 100-day mark, pollsters are back on the prowl attempting to discern public reaction to his performance. Assessments appear contradictory. Slate told us “Biden’s 100-Day Approval Rating Is Better Than Trump’s, but Third-Worst Since Truman.” Not sounding very strong. NBC sounded a rather different note, “At 100 days, Biden’s approval remains strong.” ABC

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Who’s most underrepresented in Congress?

What segment of American society is most underrepresented in Congress? Guess. Minorities? Black Americans comprise 11 percent of the Congress and 13 percent of the population, for 2 points of underrepresentation. Latinos more so. They are about 9 percent of Congress, but nearly 19 percent of the population — a gap of some 10 percentage

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McConnell blasts big business stands

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) diatribe against big business could spawn volumes of analysis. The text tells many tales: the frayed coalition between the board room and the pick-up truck, hypocrisy, and more. What struck me most was the fundamental inaccuracy of nearly every assertion and premise on which McConnell built his remarks. Start with

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The GOP’s continuing Donald Trump problem

Donald Trump isn’t finished inflicting pain on the Republican Party. Republicans’ unwillingness to deal with their Trump problem, as late as his second impeachment, could well cost them dearly in 2022 and beyond. My Republican colleague, and Trump pollster, Tony Fabrizio, racks up the data that should be scaring the daylights out his fellow travelers.

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Biden’s smart bipartisan message

Many commentators seem fascinated, even perplexed, by President Biden’s efforts to define bipartisanship as support from Republican voters instead of from GOP lawmakers. They seem to have missed the political rhetoric of the last 20 years, while also failing to grasp how bipartisanship works in the public mind. According to research by Dartmouth’s Sean Westwood, House

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Party brand vs personal brand

In the wake of a great victory for the American Rescue Plan, predicated on Democratic unity, I hate to reopen old wounds, but I hope I can be excused as my purpose is pedagogical, not polemical. In the election aftermath, Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) famously sparred over the party’s direction. Note that Spanberger outperformed Joe

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How the Senate decided impeachment

What can the impeachment vote tell us about the forces at work as our elected representatives grapple with key issues? I recently cited British philosopher and parliamentarian Edmund Burke, a founding father of conservatism, who argued the trusteeship theory of representation. A legislator, Burke wrote, should not sacrifice to constituents “his unbiased opinion, his mature

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White working-class politics

Analysts have been debating the politics of America’s white working-class for years with little net increase in knowledge. The whole discussion assumes a fact not fully in evidence — that membership in the “white working-class” is a politically relevant identity; that it is causally related to voting behavior. Maybe, but far from clearly proven. Indeed,

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