Unnecessary Language Criticism

Check out this sentence from Politico’s story on Virginia dealing with gay stuff:

In the 2013 off-year elections, a state that once leaned solidly to the center-right has become the newest focal point in the national debate over same-sex relationships.

When people talk about needing more writing education in our schools, this is why.  Somehow, a national publication let this sentence go through.

If a state “leans” one way or another, by definition it is not “solid.”  Further, a state cannot “lean” to the center, making the phrase “center-right” incorrect.  Leaning implies a direction, being solid implies a lack of mobility.

The reporter should have written something like this: Virginia was solidly conservative, but is now a swing state that leans Republican.

(The premise of the article is pretty flimsy, too, but it’s a slow news day so they get some slack for that.)

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