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.)