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Open thread and SCOTUS news


– The Supreme Court had scheduled three cases related to LGBT employment discrimination for a conference on 11/30, to take its first look at whether to hear any of the cases, but, as Equality Case Files reports, the Court without explanation has now rescheduled the cases for a later conference. The dockets don’t have a new date for the conferences yet.

This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. scream4ever  |  November 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    I'd like to think this is good news perhaps.

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Mississippi Senate Runoff Race

    So far, Espy leads in Warren County (Vicksburg), 55/45. On 6 November, he lost that county to the combined Republicans, 49/51.

    In De Soto County (bordering Memphis) he is down, 45/55. On 6 November, he lost that county by 30 points.

    In Leflore County he is leading 89/11. In the first round, it was 69/31.

    In Coahoma County, he leads, 89/11. In the first round, it was 70/30.

    So far, in Harrison County (Biloxi/Gulfport), he has 38% of the vote. On 6 November, he got 36%.

    Amite County is complete. Hyde-Smith’s 2,727 votes in Amite County come out to 83 percent of the votes cast for Republicans there on 6 November. Espy’s 1,952 votes in Amite are 98 percent of the total votes cast for Democrats there on 6 November.

    Coahoma County is now 100 percent reporting as well, and as a majority-black county, it could suggest that Espy succeeded in boosting African-American turnout. Espy won here 76 percent to 24 percent. The raw number of Democratic votes is 106 percent of what it was in Round 1; the raw number of Republican votes is 81 percent of what it was in Round 1.

    Small counties can sometimes produce odd results, and tiny Benton County (1,901 votes) on the Tennessee border is a good example. On 6 November, it went for the GOP candidates in the special election by 17 points. But Espy just won it by 3 points, a 20-point swing. But in the process, it matched 86 percent of the first-round Democratic vote but only 58 percent of the Republican vote.

    Lee County (Tupelo) hosted the president while he stumped on behalf of Hyde-Smith yesterday. About half of its precincts have reported and she leads by 33 points, similar to the GOP’s 35-point edge in the first vote.

    In Rankin County (the Jackson suburbs), Hyde-Smith leads there 73 percent to 27 percent with 58 percent of precincts reporting.

    In Lowndes County (Columbus MS), on the Alabama border, the GOP won it by 6 points three weeks ago, but with almost 86 percent of precincts in, Espy leads it by 20 points.

    Overall, statewide, on 27 November 2018, at 10:01pm EST

    GOP CindyHyde-Smith 253,064 (56%)
    DEM MikeEspy 195,748 (44%)

    973 of 1,794 (54%) precincts reporting, 448,812 total votes

    With 100 percent reporting in DeSoto, Hyde-Smith wins it 59 percent to 41 percent, down from the 65-35 Republican advantage on 6 November. GOP turnout was 78 percent of Round 1, while Democratic turnout was 99 percent.

    In George County, in the southeastern corner near Biloxi (a place where Trump campaigned yesterday), is now 100 percent reporting and Hyde-Smith won it by 70 points, 85 to 15 percent, after the GOP carried it by 67 points in the first round.

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Mississippi Senate Race Has Been Called

    Updated 27 November 2018, 10:16 PM EST

    GOP Cindy Hyde-Smith, 310,887 (56%)
    DEM Mike Espy, 241,075 (44%)

    1,134 of 1,794 (63%) precincts reporting, 551,962 total votes

    The GOP will enter next year with a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, barring something really surprising.

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 27, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Espy Is Still Closing In, But Not By Enough

    Updated 27 November 2018, 11:17 PM EST

    GOP Cindy Hyde-Smith, 435,337 (54%)
    DEM Mike Espy, 364,389 (46%)

    1,621 of 1,794 (90%) precincts reporting, 799,726 total votes

  • 5. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:38 am

    This is still the best showing for a Democrat in Mississippi in a long, long time.

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Mississippi: Final Results in the Senate Runoff

    Updated 28 November 2018, 10:40 AM EST

    GOP Cindy Hyde-Smith, 473,212 (53.9%)
    DEM Mike Espy, 404,685 (46.1%)

    1,794 of 1,794 (100%) precincts reporting, 877,897 total votes

  • 7. VIRick  |  November 27, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    New Mexico: Democratic Win in NM-2 Certified

    Democrat Xochitl Torres Small has defeated Republican Yvette Herrell in one of the nation’s last outstanding House races, New Mexico’s Secretary of State certified Tuesday afternoon, 27 November 2018. The official result brings the total number of Democratic gains in the House to 39 seats, with one race outstanding, according to CNN’s count.

    Herrell claimed victory in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District race on election night earlier this month, but as ballots continued to be counted, Torres Small took a lead in the vote count in the race to replace outgoing GOP Rep. Steve Pearce.

    As of midday Tuesday, CNN had yet to project a result in California’s 21’s Congressional District, where Democrat TJ Cox pulled ahead of Republican Rep. David Valadao on Monday evening, 26 November.

    Note: This close race had been unofficially called for Xochitl some time ago. However, the results have now been certified, finally making them official.

  • 8. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:35 am

    With this win, Democrats have a complete lock on the entire NM delegation to Congress including both of the state's senators and all three House members.

    Dems also flipped the governorship and won every single statewide executive and partisan judicial race on the ballot. They also maintained their hold on the NM House where every seat was up for election. Dems already hold the NM Senate where none of the senators were on the ballot although all of them will be in 2020.

  • 9. allan120102  |  November 27, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Honduras. My country in the next two years or less before the next general elections which are schedule on November 2021, will probably make us vote in different controversial topics. Including abortion and same sex marriage. I have no hope of ssm passing this way and I hope it does not fuel more hate against lgbt people but seeing the protestant church right now stating that the majority should decide the rules of our country even if means demeaning civil rights its horrible. In the ssm question I believe that a 15% would vote in favor could be as much as 20% if there is a lot of turnout from the young population but seeing as it didnt happen in Taiwan I am not holding my breath. We will probably be sue later after we contravene the ICDH ruling.

  • 10. psicotraducciones  |  November 27, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    If Taiwan had such a negative vote, then Honduras will be worse, it sucks

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Chile: Transgender Rights Bill Signed into Law

    On Wednesday, 28 November 2018, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera signed into law a bill that allows transgender people over 14 to legally change their name and gender without surgery.

    Per Sebastián Piñera, Presidente de Chile:

    "Promulgamos la Ley De Identidad De Género porque creemos firmemente en que todos nacemos iguales en dignidad, derechos, y deberes y merecemos ser arquitectos de nuestras vidas y vivirlas con libertad. Así avanzamos hacia una sociedad más humana y cariñosa y que valore y respete mejor la diversidad."

    “We signed the Gender Identity Law because we strongly believe that everyone is born equal in dignity, rights, and responsibilities and we should be the architects of our own lives and live them with liberty,” wrote Piñera in a tweet that included a picture of him signing the bill. “As such, we can move toward a more humane and loving society that values and respects diversity more.”

    The bill received final approval in Chile’s congress in September 2018, where a trans rights bill had been before lawmakers since 2013. The measure is now expected to officially take effect next year (because in Chile, laws take effect 6 months after being signed into law.)

  • 12. scream4ever  |  November 28, 2018 at 11:14 am

    CA-21 UPDATE:

    Cox's lead has grown by 70 votes to 506 as an additional 1,438 votes from Kings County are added. This continues to bode well for him to eventually claim victory.

  • 13. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    T.J. Cox has declared victory today after a new count puts his lead at 529. David Valadao has met his announcement with crickets so far.

    Associated Press: Democrat Cox claims victory over California GOP Rep. Valadao

    Meanwhile, Bruce Poliquin, the GOP incumbent in ME-2 who lost to Democrat Jared Golden, is not only seeking to have a federal judge invalidate Maine's ranked choice voting system but is also asking the judge to order a do-over, mulligan election.

    David Sharp, Associated Press: Congressman seeks new election if outcome is not overturned

  • 14. scream4ever  |  November 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    He can have his do-over election…in 2020.

  • 15. bayareajohn  |  November 28, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    So he didn't challenge the system he participated in until he lost.

    Surely he is genuine enough that we believe that he would have challenged in the case of his victory as well.

    In a pig's eye.

  • 16. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    TJ Cox Wins CA-21, Bringing Democratic House Gains to 40

    The Democrats have flipped another US House seat, this one in California’s agriculture-heavy Central Valley, Hispanic majority, 21st Congressional District.

    Democrat T.J. Cox declared victory over Republican incumbent David Valadao late Wednesday afternoon, 28 November 2018, having taken a lead of 529 votes over Valadao after all remaining ballots from Kings and Fresno counties were counted, according to "The Fresno Bee." The paper reports: “The race appears to be decided, as only a small number of votes remain to be processed in Kern and Tulare counties."

    This becomes the 7th seat that the Democrats flipped in California alone, and is the final race of the 435 to be decided. The Democratic House gain is the biggest in any midterm election since 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

    Cox, a small-business owner and community activist, is an LGBTQ ally who had the endorsement of Equality California. Valadao, in contrast, has compiled a poor record on LGBTQ rights, with scores in the 20s and 30s (out of a possible 100) on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard over his first three terms in the House.

    Per California Secretary of State, 29 November 2018, 5:35 PM

    TJ Cox, DEM, 56,634 votes (50.2%)

    David Valadao, REP, 56,105 votes (49.8%)

  • 17. Randolph_Finder  |  November 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

    This question is touchy but here goes…

    Excluding Northern Ireland, what nations (or subnations like NI) without Marriage Equality have the highest percentage of White Protestants?

    (I was thinking about "blocks" of the world, and realized that this "block" is almost done)

  • 18. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    That is a touchy question, especially if the answer must include both "white" and "protestant" simultaneously. I will not attempt to guess percentages, but will attempt to list the small number of remaining nations in order from highest to lowest:

    Latvia and Estonia are both predominately Lutheran.
    Northern Ireland, mostly Presbyterian.
    Switzerland has a fair percentage of Calvinist Reformed.
    Hungary has both Reformed and Lutheran.
    Czech Republic has an assortment, primarily among the German ethnics.
    So does Romania.
    In Russia, there are still a number of Mennonites.

    In Latin America, outside the minority, but concentrated lump of German ethnics in south central Chile (not all of whom are protestant) and in Miranda State in Venezuela, you will have to help me define "white." Elsewhere, the evangelicals are running amok all over the place, but I hesitate to label it in a racial fashion.

    Beyond that, the ugly, Victorian British colonial heritage, with its pompous protestant overtones, has left a lasting scar from the British Caribbean area, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, much of South Asia, and on into the Pacific islands, again, complicated by evangelicals running amok in all locales.

  • 19. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I went to Wikipedia to mention many of the European countries you mentioned. Estonia is plurality Orthodox among Christians, although Lutherans and Catholics are significant while atheists and non-affiliated rule. Among the other countries you mentioned, while Lutherans and other Protestants may also have a strong presence, Catholics and Orthodox are predominant.

    Yes, the Brits may have been pompous with their buggery laws and other legislated morality, the Catholic bishops in much of the developing world are also far more conservative than their counterparts elsewhere.

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Here's a correction for both of us. Traditionally, Estonian ethnics in Estonia and Latvian ethnics in Latvia are predominately Lutheran. In more modern times, both nations have been compromised by the Soviet attempt at Russification. In both, the bulk of citizens who claim to be Orthodox would also be Russian ethnics.

    And the reverse would also be true. The deliberate scattering of the Baltic people into the heartland of Russia by the same Soviet regime means that there is a Lutheran presence within Russia itself (in addition to Mennonites and allied groups). For example, during the Winter Olympics, I distinctly recall that one of the villages above Sochi was described as being Estonian.

  • 21. Randolph_Finder  |  November 28, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Yes, which theoretically moves Marriage Equality into foreign policy along with anything else likely to split a baltic country down these sort of ethnic lines…

  • 22. Randolph_Finder  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you. I looked up the religious percentages of each of those countries mentioned. For Romania and Russia, the protestants are a fairly small percentage. Czech Republic and Estonia seem to be dominated by "none"s,
    Latvia seems close to a three way split between Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox these days.

    Hungary, Switzerland and Northern Ireland have Catholics slightly (<10% difference) outnumbering Protestants.

    For this purpose, Latin America is a separate Block, I'm not sure if there is any place in the Caribbean where the population would be viewed as "hispanic" enough for the question of whether hispanics are white would affect things.

    The British Caribbean, I believe would tend to be largely of sub saharan African ancestry, right?

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Yes, the British Caribbean is largely comprised of people of sub-Saharan ancestry, but with several anomalies. Trinidad and Guyana, together with ex-Dutch Suriname, form a sub-block, given the extreme mélange, and are more Afro-Asian/mixed-race, but vary even among themselves. However, the large, near-majority Hindu and Muslim presence in all three makes them distinct.

    Trinidad has no racial or religious majority, while Suriname, similarly situated, claims that its population mix, on a miniaturized scale, most closely resembles the overall world-wide percentages. In all three, we need to rely on the Hindu and mixed-race elements to continue to push for social change. In Trinidad, at least, the mixed-race elements are mostly Catholic.

  • 24. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Not just the British Caribbean, but also all descendants of African slavery throughout the New World. However, European slave traders were wholly unconcerned with the faith heritage of the Africans they captured, shipped, and sold. It wasn't until the slaves were firmly settled on the plantations that the slaves were introduced, often coercively, to Christianity if they hadn't already come from a traditionally Christian culture back in Africa. This is why Islam is nowhere near as prevalent among modern slave descendants compared to the lands they came from while traditional African faiths survive only in isolated hybrid forms such as in Haiti or Santería in the U.S.

  • 25. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    As an example of how brutal Soviet rule proved to be, and how the Soviets shuffled people about at will in a mad effort at Russification, one can cite the fate of the once-thriving community of Finnish-speaking Lutheran people (Inkeri) who inhabited Ingermanland (Inkerinmaa), the area in Russia between Lake Ladoga and the Estonian border. According to the 1917 Russian Empire census, at that time, the Inkeri numbered 140,000. During the general chaos of WWII, some 60,000 Inkeri escaped from Russia into Finland (with many being further smuggled on into Sweden.) Since then, the "lucky" ones who remained behind in Russia and who survived the many political witch-hunts and mass deportations, have mostly ended up in Kazakhstan.

    Lutheran churches and Finnish schools in Ingermanland were closed in 1937. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ingermanlanders (Inkeri), and their Kazakh-born descendants, have been allowed to emigrate to Finland.

    Note: One has no way of knowing how many (or few) Finnish-speaking Lutherans might still be living in Russia or Kazakhstan.

  • 26. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I think NI is the only historically Protestant country in Europe without ME. Elsewhere, things get complicated. First, it depends on whether your definition of Protestant includes Anglicanism which predates Luther's 95 Theses. While the English spread Anglicanism everywhere the British Empire ruled, so too did the Scottish and the Welsh spread their Calvinist and Wesleyan traditions alongside.

    The U.S., which was never a great colonial power, exercised a form of economic and cultural soft colonialism and sent Protestant missionaries around the globe. Unfortunately, many of those missionaries spread the particularly noxious and intolerant white evangelical forms we have come to loathe.

    I think South Korea is the only Asian country outside of Russia where Christians have surpassed adherents of traditional faiths, and Protestants may very well form a plurality there. Elsewhere, Protestants are a significant factor, if not the majority, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the British and Dutch Caribbean.

  • 27. Randolph_Finder  |  November 28, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I do count Anglicanism/Episcopalian as Protestant for this purpose, but whether to describe NI as historically protestant will provoke arguments…

    Yes, the USA sent out Protestant Missionaries, but other than the Philippines (10%) and South Korea (20%) I'm not sure where they made a significant difference in the overall population.

    Not sure if anywhere in the British or Dutch Caribbean would fit for this…

  • 28. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    ECHR: Russia's Ban on Pride Events Breaches Human Rights

    On Tuesday, 27 November 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia has violated LGBT people’s human rights by banning Pride events. The case was brought by Russian LGBT activist Nikolay Alexeyev and six others, who alleged that they have been systemically denied permissions to hold Pride events in cities across Russia. They listed 51 occasions on which permission for events were refused.
    Authorities frequently cite the country’s 2013 gay "propaganda" law, which bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientations” in order to block the events, though the denials in the case dated from 2009 to 2014.

    Ruling against Russia, the court found that “the ban on holding LGBT public assemblies… did not correspond to a pressing social need and was thus not necessary in a democratic society. Additionally, the applicants suffered unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, that that discrimination was incompatible with the standards of the Convention, and that they were denied an effective domestic remedy in respect of their complaints concerning a breach of their freedom of assembly.”

    The court ruled that the treatment violated Articles 11 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect freedom of assembly and freedom from discrimination. Although Russia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, the international court has little power to enforce the ruling in Russia.

  • 29. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Costa Rica and the Domino Effect of Its Constitutional Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

    In the previous thread, Psicotraducciones asked me a question with regard to the domino effect emanating from the marriage equality ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica. Here is my reply:

    Costa Rica, over the last number of years, has executed a series of cleverly calculated and engineered moves to place itself exactly where it currently sits, right at the forefront in the fight for marriage equality. In a sense, these maneuvers feel as if they were executed in slow motion, as even the delayed implementation date for the Constitutional Court's ruling fits the pattern, engineered and sold to the general public as a moderate "compromise."

    Costa Rica is not the most liberal nation in Latin America (no one can touch Uruguay in this regard), but it is one of the most liberal in what one can refer to as the second tier. Plus, it wants to be a leader, but being a small nation without a military, it has focused most of its efforts on social issues, but does so in a manner which forces other much larger, more recalcitrant Latin nations to be dragged along behind it. And that is Costa Rica's special role, one which it has consciously chosen, and one which successfully works every time, much to Costa Rica's credit.

    Seemingly, though, the transformation just takes forever. Marriage equality is now inevitable throughout Latin America. Costa Rica has seen to it that this will be the case. Other courts in other nations will not only be required to cite the CIDH ruling (to which they have obligated themselves to adhere) on a matter placed there at Costa Rica's behest, but additionally, will also have to cite the subsequent ruling of Costa Rica's own Constitutional Court.

    I am disappointed that we still have so many pending, unresolved court cases, cases which, at this date and by Costa Rica's maneuvering, must be resolved in favor of marriage equality, whether we wish to discuss Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Perú, Panamá, or any other Latin nation. In the meantime, in its own separate, parallel universe, Cuba appears to be reaching the same conclusion. The domino effect will occur, but it will be slow-paced, perhaps annoyingly slow.

  • 30. Fortguy  |  November 28, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Ray Hill, a self-professed "loudmouth queer", former prison inmate, general manager of a progressive community radio station in Houston, and criminal justice reformer has died at the age of 78. The Supreme Court called him a "citizen provocateur" in a case he won by an 8-1 decision in 1987 challenging his arrest after yelling at police beating a man in front of his house.

    Renée Feltz, The Texas Observer: What I Learned from Ray Hill, Houston’s Citizen Provocateur

  • 31. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Croatia: Same-Sex Marriage/Foster Care Up-Date

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    1 December 2018 marks five years since Croatia voted in a referendum to define marriage as a union "between a man and a woman," effectively banning gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic nation. Less than a year after the plebiscite, in August 2014, the Life Partnership Act gave gay couples in Croatia all the rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples, with the exception of the right to foster or adopt a child.

    LGBT activist Ivan Zidarevic and his partner were the first to register their life partnership at a ceremony performed in front of a registrar. Some 259 gay couples have since followed suit. “It is de facto marriage because we have literally all rights to social care, healthcare…,” Zidarevic, who is originally from Serbia, told BIRN.

    The gay rights organisation Rainbow Family has called on Croatian MPs to include same-sex life partners in the final text of the pending draft Foster Care Act of Croatia. Currently, a single person has the right to foster, but a person in a same-sex marriage does not.

  • 32. VIRick  |  November 28, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Mexico: Social Security Reform Passes in the Federal House

    Per Alex Orué:

    Hoy día, el 28 de noviembre 2018, en México, los Diputados Federales, con 415 votos a favor, 6 abstenciones, y 0 en contra, se aprueba el dictamen que reforma las leyes del IMSS e ISSSTE, en materia de seguridad social para cónyuges y concubinos del mismo sexo. Falta su promulgación para que sea ley.

    Today, 28 November 2018, in Mexico, the Federal Deputies, with 415 votes in favor, 6 abstentions, and 0 against, approved the bill that reforms the laws of the IMSS and ISSSTE, in matters of social security for same-sex spouses and partners. It only needs to be signed (by the President) to become law.

  • 33. JayJonson  |  November 29, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Secretary-General of Taiwan's High Court says that the recent referendum on same-sex marriage cannot negate the marriage equality decision of 2017.

    Taiwan’s Judicial Yuan Secretary-General publicly announced today that the passage of anti-equality referendums cannot override the Constitutional Court’s 2017 ruling on same-sex marriage.

    Secretary-General Lu Tai-lang (呂太郎) clarified what has already been stressed by many keen legal observers: interpretations made by the Constitutional Court hold the highest rule of law and cannot be defeated by referendums.

    The anti-equality camp that backed three referendums last Saturday (Nov. 24), fronted by Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, have led some supporters to believe same-sex marriage can no longer happen in Taiwan. Even international media has incorrectly reported that the government may be compelled to reject the 2017 ruling.

    CNA reports that Lu was invited to the Legislative Yuan to attend the Judiciary and Organic Laws committee today (Nov. 29), along with Deputy Minister of Justice Chang Tou-hui (張斗輝), in order to review criminal law draft legislation. DPP legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳) asked Lu whether the referendum results take precedence over the interpretations from Constitutional Court judges.

    Lu explained that the effective ranking of the court’s interpretation no. 748 (prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the constitution) is equal to that of the constitution itself, which holds the highest possible legal ranking.

  • 34. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Venezuela: Same-Sex Couple Becomes "Civil Unioned" in Chile

    Per Venezuela Igualitaria:

    Despues de 4 años, una pareja de venezolanas, Jessica y Yohana, el 28 de noviembre 2018, celebran en Chile un nuevo estatus formal de “convivientes civiles” de un Acuerdo de Unión Civil (AUC). Gracias a ese país que les abrió las puertas para firmar este acuerdo y con la esperanza de que para el matrimonio tengan sus amigos y familia reunida.

    After 4 years together, two Venezuelans, Jessica and Yohana, on 28 November 2018, celebrate their new formal status as "civil cohabitants" per a Civil Union Agreement (AUC) in Chile. Thanks to this country for opening its doors to them to sign this agreement, with the hope that their friends and family will reunite for their marriage.

  • 35. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Argentina: Married Gay Couple to Adopt Little Boy

    Matrimonio igualitario adoptará a un nenito salteño de 8 años abandonado por sus padres. El menor viajará de Salta a Córdoba para integrarse a su nueva familia.

    A married gay couple will adopt a little 8 year-old boy from Salta abandoned by his parents. The child will travel from Salta to Córdoba to join his new family.

  • 36. Fortguy  |  November 29, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    In Alaska, a single, mystery ballot that inadvertently wasn't counted on election night could determine whether Democrat Kathryn Dodge or Republican Bart LeBon carries Fairbank's House District 1. The race is currently tied with a recount scheduled for Friday during which officials will attempt to determine where the ballot came from and whether it should be counted. Hanging in the balance is control of the state House and whether the state will have a unified government under GOP control or divided government.

    Becky Bohrer, Associated Press: Mystery ballot could sway control of Alaska state government

  • 37. Fortguy  |  November 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    After the recount, LeBon, the Republican, won by a single vote. LeBon picked up two votes in the recount while Dodge picked up one. As for the mystery ballot? Precinct workers determined it was a spoiled ballot from a voter who handed it back to the clerks, and the voter cast votes on a separate, clean ballot. Dodge has five days to decide whether or not she wants to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

    Becky Bohrer and Lisa Baumann, Associated Press: Republican takes House race by 1 vote after recount

  • 38. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Japan: Multiple Same-Sex Couples Sue the State for Marriage Equality

    Per Equal Marriage Alliance Japan, 29 November 2018:

    "No permitir el matrimonio igualitario es inconstitucional." Parejas del mismo sexo demandarán al Estado japonés por primera vez en la historia.

    "Not allowing equal marriage is unconstitutional." Same-sex couples will sue the Japanese State for the first time in history.

    Note: The cited article is in Japanese in "HuffPost Japan."

  • 39. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Veracruz: 18 Same-Sex Couples Married in 2 Years

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A pesar de que en Veracruz no se ha reformado el Código Civil para permitir el matrimonio igualitario, en 2 años, se han celebrado 18 matrimonios gay en Veracruz. El secretario de Gobierno, Rogelio Franco Castán, dijo que el Registro Civil de Veracruz celebró 6 matrimonios en 2017, y 12 en 2018.

    Aclaró que se trata de matrimonios de personas del mismo sexo que acudieron a los tribunales federales y ganaron los amparos, ya que en Veracruz, mientras no se reforme el Código Civil, el Registro Civil no puede unir en matrimonio a dos personas del mismo sexo.

    Although the Civil Code in Veracruz has not been reformed to allow for marriage equality, in 2 years, 18 same-sex marriages have been celebrated in Veracruz. The Secretary of Government, Rogelio Franco Castán, said that the Civil Registry of Veracruz recorded 6 such marriages in 2017, and 12 in 2018.

    He clarified that these same-sex marriages occurred after couples went to federal courts and won their amparos, since in Veracruz, until the Civil Code has been reformed, the Civil Registry can not unite two people of the same sex in marriage.

  • 40. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    NY-27 Has NOT Yet Been Decided

    According to the "New Tork Times," although NY-22 has now been decided in favor of the Democratic challenger, Anthony Brindisi, over the anti-LGBT incumbent Republican, Claudia Tenney, given that the vote count there has been completed, the House seat for NY-27 has not yet been declared. In that race, the indicted incumbent Republican, Chris Collins, was narrowly leading over the Democratic challenger, Nate McMurray. However, at last report, a lot of ballots still needed to be hand-counted in Erie County (Buffalo), a process still under way.

    Because the "New York Times" has also not yet called CA-21 in favor of the Democrats, despite the fact that almost everyone else has, their current House seat count shows the Democrats with 234 and the Republicans still with 199, with the 2 seats just mentioned as "Undecided." So, by their estimation, we could possibly end up with 236 seats for the Democrats, a gain of 41.

    In addition, if McMurray were to oust Collins in NY-27, it would be the 4th such seat flipped to the Democrats in New York State.

    Nationwide, as of the close of vote counting today, 29 November 2018, the Democrats had 56,096,960 votes (52.1%) to the Republicans 49,654,316 votes (46.1%). The remaining 1.8% voted for third party candidates.

  • 41. scream4ever  |  November 29, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Even if Collins wins, he's likely to be indicted soon, thus resulting in a special election (the same in CA-50 with Duncan Hunter).

  • 42. VIRick  |  November 29, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    North Carolina: Thomas Farr Out as Federal Judicial Nominee

    Washington — Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, said Thursday, 29 November 2018, he will oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, assuring the controversial pick will not be confirmed. The South Carolina Republican was the deciding vote in determining whether Farr, widely accused of efforts to disenfranchise black voters, would be confirmed.

    Scott’s decision comes after four days of intense drama and speculation about what the Senate’s only black Republican would do. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, made it clear earlier in the day he, too, would oppose Farr’s nomination. Senate Republicans could only afford to lose one vote and still confirm Farr. Senate Republicans control 51 seats, and all 49 Democratic caucus members were expected to oppose Farr.

    In a brief statement explaining his decision, Scott cited a 1991 Department of Justice memo that was leaked just this week, days before the Senate was set to vote on Farr’s confirmation. It detailed Farr’s involvement in “ballot security” activities by the 1984 and 1990 campaigns of then-Sen. Jesse Helms, R-NC. Farr worked for the campaign in 1984 and represented the 1990 campaign as a lawyer.

    Helms’ 1990 re-election campaign against former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, who is black, included charges of voter intimidation for postcards mailed to primarily black voters warning of possible arrest at the polls. The Department of Justice investigated the voter intimidation claims and settled with the Helms campaign in a consent decree.

  • 43. Fortguy  |  November 30, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Marco Rubio and Lisa Murkowski, both of whom previously were on board with Farr, began expressing misgivings after the DOJ memo came out. This is why Republican voters are always suspicious of women and minorities in GOP primaries and why so few hold seats in Congress. They're just not dependable players in white male identity politics.

  • 44. VIRick  |  November 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

    NC-9 Will NOT Be Certified

    Mounting evidence of fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District could indefinitely delay the certification of a winner, as state election officials investigate whether hundreds of absentee ballots were illegally cast or destroyed. The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has no plans to certify Republican Mark Harris’s 905-vote victory over Democrat Dan McCready, according to an agenda of a board meeting scheduled for Friday morning, 30 November 2018. Harris is a vituperative, right-wing, anti-LGBT, evangelical nut-job who claims to be a preacher.

    The board is collecting sworn statements from voters in rural Bladen and Robeson counties, near the South Carolina border, who described people coming to their doors and urging them to hand over their absentee ballots, sometimes without filling them out. Others described receiving absentee ballots by mail that they had not requested. It is illegal to take someone else’s ballot and turn it in.

    Investigators are also scrutinizing unusually high numbers of absentee ballots cast in Bladen County, in both the general election and the 8 May 2018 primary, in which Harris defeated incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger (R) by 828 votes. In the primary, Harris won 96 percent of all absentee ballots in Bladen, a far higher percentage than his win in the county overall — a statistic that this week is prompting fresh accusations of fraud. Another irregularity in both the primary and general elections is the high number of absentee ballots in some precincts that were requested but not turned in.

    The state elections board has investigative and subpoena powers to pursue the allegations. If it chooses, it may hold off certifying the election results until it has completed its investigation. The board also has the power to refer the matter for criminal investigation to state and federal prosecutors; it did so in 2016 after similar reports of irregularities in Bladen County.

    The nine-member board, with four Democrats, four Republicans, and one unaffiliated voter, agreed unanimously to delay certification.

    Thus, it would appear that Harris' hard-line, evangelical supporters screwed over both the Republicans and the Democrats, first by fraudulently knocking off the incumbent Republican, Pittinger, in the primary, and now, by attempting to pull off the same stunt against the Democratic challenger in an elongated, gerrymandered district that includes a fair chunk of Mecklenburg County (Charlotte).

  • 45. VIRick  |  November 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    More Detail on Probable Voter Fraud in NC-9

    In seven of the eight counties in the 9th District, for example, McCready won a lopsided majority of the mailed-in absentee ballots. But not in Bladen County. There, Republican Mark Harris won 61 percent even though registered Republicans accounted for only 19 percent of the county’s accepted absentee ballots.

    Unaffiliated voters accounted for 39 percent of accepted absentee ballots. Bitzer said Harris’ margin “could potentially come from all those unaffiliated voters, as each and every one of them voted Republican. That’s pretty astonishing,” he added. “And if that’s the case, there’s a very concerted effort to use that method to one candidate’s advantage. . . . Still, at that level, there’s something else beyond a concerted effort that could be at work."

    Ostensibly, Republican Mark Harris beat Democrat, Dan McCready, by 905 votes, by carrying Bladen County by 1557 votes.

  • 46. VIRick  |  November 30, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    NC-9 Is Now Deemed to Be Undecided

    In light of the North Carolina State Board of Elections' unanimous refusal to certify the results in NC-9, as of 2 AM on 1 December 2018, the "New York Times" House seat count now presently indicates that the Democrats have won 234 seats, while the Republican count has been backed down to 198, with 3 seats still undecided (by their calculations), as follows:


  • 47. Fortguy  |  November 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. No word yet, but I can think of one person who's probably not going to be invited to the funeral.

    Typical of nearly everyone in his family, he opposed same-sex marriage while he was in office, but he and Barbara attended a Kennebunk, ME marriage between lesbians who were close friends of the Bushes in 2013.

  • 48. JayJonson  |  December 1, 2018 at 7:19 am

    I think Laura Bush hinted strongly that she was in favor of same-sex marriage, and if I remember correctly, her twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, also indicated that they were in favor of same-sex marriage before the Obergefell ruling.

    George H.W. and Barbara Bush's daughter Dorothy is reportedly a Democrat, so she might be supposed to have also been in favor of same-sex marriage.

    All of which makes it even more disgraceful how George W. Bush so cynically used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue in the 2000 and 2004 elections and tried to promote a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

  • 49. scream4ever  |  December 1, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Laura supposedly urged her husband not to do so behind the scenes.

  • 50. VIRick  |  November 30, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Former President George HW Bush Has Died

    George HW Bush was the longest-living president in US history.

    George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States and a member of the American political dynasty that also sent his eldest son to the Oval Office, died on Friday, 30 November 2018. A Bush spokesperson announced that Bush passed away at 10:10 PM. He was 94.

    He is survived by five children and their spouses as well as 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and two siblings. His wife of 73 years, Barbara, died on 17 April of this year with him by her side.

    George W. Bush, the 43rd president and son of the elder Bush, said in a statement that his father was "a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for."

    In his lifetime, George HW Bush witnessed his own chosen political party degenerate from his high-sounding "Noblesse Oblige" to the present-day "Tacky Trash Oblige."

  • 51. JayJonson  |  December 1, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Well, you know that the Bush family must be busy researching the protocol to "disinvite" a sitting president from attending a state funeral. The family surely neither needs nor desires the presence of the disgusting couple who currently live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but Trump and Melania are planning to show up at the state funeral. They probably will not be invited to the Houston funeral or the interment in College Station.

  • 52. Fortguy  |  December 1, 2018 at 11:54 am

    It's my understanding that Bush's casket will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda, but this requires only the House speaker and the vice president to sign off since the Capitol belongs to Congress. Services at Washington National Cathedral, or more formally the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, require only the approval of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Both George H.W. and Barbara were Episcopalians. I think the president really only needs to sign off on a military procession down Pennsylvania Ave. such as the horse-drawn caisson carrying the casket. If the Bush's wished to forego all the extra pomp and circumstances, I could easily see them politely requesting that Trump stay home and watch Melania greet the family on Fox News.

  • 53. VIRick  |  December 1, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    "… the president really only needs to sign off on a military procession down Pennsylvania Ave., such as the horse-drawn caisson carrying the casket."

    As a final parting gesture, perhaps George HW Bush's military procession down Pennsylvania Avenue, complete with the horse-drawn caisson carrying the casket, could inspire Trump to see it as a means for finally having his own long-sought-after military parade, especially if Fox News were to promise to televise it. Plus, as an added bonus, it would also take him directly past his Trump Hotel located in the Old Post Office building.

  • 54. VIRick  |  December 1, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Progressive Leader Jayapal Joins "Caravan" for Border Crossing

    House Progressive leader Pramila Jayapal will join a "caravan" of migrants seeking asylum as they try to enter the United States from Tijuana on Saturday afternoon, 1 December 2018, an attempt to spotlight what Democrats view as the inhumane effects of Trump’s border crackdown.

    The Washington State Democrat, a rising star in the House Democratic Caucus, flew to the border Friday, 30 November, and is gathering information on the treatment of migrants from Central America by both Mexican and US authorities. In the afternoon, she will follow a group of migrants trying to claim asylum to ensure they’re getting a fair shake, she said.

    “The president is lying about this caravan, he’s fear-mongering,” Jayapal said in a Friday interview before her trip. “He’s trying to use people who are seeking asylum, and literally running from death, just for his own political benefit and that’s a disgrace.”

    Jayapal’s trip is mostly focused on the Mexico side of the border. She crossed into Tijuana on Saturday morning and is meeting with both advocates on the ground and Mexican officials. She’s visiting women and children in migrant shelters, as well as LGTBQ migrants who have been separated from the rest of the marchers and who are being kept in “horrific” conditions, she said.

    Jayapal blames Trump for those conditions, arguing that large groups like the caravan have showed up at the border before without these sorts of issues. But Trump, she said, is “forcing Mexico to create these conditions for people who are seeking asylum. There is international and domestic law that governs that process that we are violating, so I put 95 percent of the blame on Trump,” she said.

  • 55. Fortguy  |  December 1, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Also, as today is December 1, AMLO officially takes office as the Mexican president.

  • 56. VIRick  |  December 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Mexico: New Presidential Administration Sworn In

    Today, 1 December 2018, in addition to AMLO himself, (Andrés Manuel López Obrador), as the new President of Mexico, Olga Sánchez Cordero was sworn in as AMLO's Secretaría de Gobernación (Domestic Affairs Secretary). She is a former member of Mexico's Supreme Court, from the time when it issued its unanimous decision to strike down Jalisco's ban on same-sex marriage, and remains a leading figure for marriage equality throughout Mexico.

    Per Olga Sánchez Cordero:

    “La política interior de este país tendrá una visión distinta, la de los ojos de una mujer”

    "The domestic politics of this country will have a distinct vision, one seen through the eyes of a woman."

    The optimism in Mexico is palpable. Here is what Geraldina González de la Vega, the new president of COPRED CDMX, the governmental anti-discrimination agency, had to say:

    Per Geraldina González de la Vega:

    Nuevos tiempos. Que México sea la Nación democrática, respetuosa del Estado de Derecho y los derechos humanos, incluyente y diversa, donde mujeres y hombres estamos construyendo la historia, donde no haya privilegios, donde la función pública sea vocación en la 4aTransformación.

    New Times. That Mexico is the democratic nation, respectful of the Rule of Law and human rights, inclusive and diverse, where women and men are building history, where there are no privileges, where the public function is a vocation within the Fourth Transformation.

    Geraldina is the former law clerk for Mexican Supreme Court Justice, Arturo Zaldívar, and is the very same individual who tipped us off that the Jalisco ban was going down.

  • 57. VIRick  |  December 1, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Same-Sex Couple Takes on Trump Admin in Foster Care Discrimination Suit

    Today, 30 November 2018, a federal court in DC heard oral arguments on whether to dismiss a lawsuit from a married same-sex couple who were denied the opportunity to even apply to become foster parents to a refugee child.

    Texas couple Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin, both college professors, were turned away by a Catholic social services agency that receives federal funds; the reason given was that they did not “mirror the Holy Family.” Represented by Lambda Legal, they filed suit in February against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Department of Health and Human Services, the latter being part of the federal government and, therefore, the Trump administration.

    HHS funds a program handled by USCCB affiliates to provide federal child welfare services, including refugee resettlement, even though the Catholic group has made clear it would discriminate against applicants who offended its religious beliefs. HHS and the bishops’ conference have sought dismissal of the suit. (Because one of the defendants, HHS, is a federal government agency,) the case is being heard in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

    Fatma, who is Syrian-American, wishes to adopt a refugee child from Syria.

  • 58. VIRick  |  December 1, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Overall Analysis of the 2018 Mid-Term House Races

    There will always be close elections, of course, but an analysis of all the House races in the 2018 mid-terms indicates that the Republicans won the following 30 House districts by 52% or less, districts which, with a little bit more of a push, could have been within the grasp of the Democrats:

    AR-2, CA-50, CO-3, GA-7, IL-12, IL-13, IA-4, KS-2, KY-6, MI-6, MN-1, MN-8, MO-2, MT, NE-2, NY-27, NC-2, NC-9, NC-13, OH-2, OH-12, PA-1, PA-10, PA-16, TX-10, TX-21, TX-22, TX-23, TX-24, and TX-31.

    Despite the extreme gerrymandering in North Carolina, for example, instead of the D/R split in the new congress being 3/9/1, it would have been 6/7, showing a much more evenly divided contingent from that state. And Pennsylvania, instead of being an even split, 9/9, would have seen a much more numerous Democratic contingent, 12/6. Minnesota would have gone from a 5/3 split to 7/1, Iowa would have been a clean sweep, and Kansas would have shifted from 1/3 to 2/2.

    But the most extraordinary shift would come in Texas, where 6 more seats would have flipped. Thus, instead of the present 13/23 split, the Democrats would have flipped the entire state delegation in their favor, 19/17.

    Counting in those which the Republicans won with just 53% of the vote, we could add in these 10 House districts:

    AK, CA-22, FL-15, NY-1, NY-2, NY-24, TX-2, TX-6, VA-5, and WA-3.

    If all of these, plus those in the upper list, had flipped to the Democrats, New York's contingent would have gone from 21/5/1 to 25/2, while Florida's delegation would flip from 13/14 to 14/13, and California's would expand even more, from 46/7 to 48/5. And extraordinarily, Texas' would now be 21/15.

  • 59. ianbirmingham  |  December 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    The "little bit more of a push" you speak of doesn't refer to the Democratic Party budget (they spent themselves into a deficit trying to win 2018) or to the existing set of campaign workers (both paid staff and volunteers worked their asses off). It refers to NEW money being donated and NEW people volunteering to work on Democratic campaigns. As soon as we find that new money and those new volunteers, the "push" will be felt and the 2020 election results will be adjusted accordingly.

  • 60. scream4ever  |  December 1, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    While these are all districts Democrats could flip in 2020, our primary focus (other than defeating Trump) should be on retaking the Senate.

  • 61. Fortguy  |  December 1, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Our primary focus should be flipping state legislatures. The 2020 census is crucial to correcting the structural imbalance the 2010 GOP wave has put us under. Too often during the past decade the Dem House candidates have received more votes while the GOP elected more congresscritters. This has to stop. The Dems will be competing on a more favorable map in the Senate in 2020, but there is no short term way to fix that chamber's imbalance. After all, as Bill Maher says, why do we really need two Dakotas? Whether we win or lose the Senate in 2020 largely depends on whether Trump's reelection succeeds or tanks.

    Fortunately, Trump doesn't seem to be making any sort of evaluation about why this year went so badly for him nor thought about what he needs to correct before 2020. Instead, he's still pandering to his shrinking, deplorable base while Obama-Trump Midwestern voters definitely showed regrets over their 2016 votes.

    Another matter to keep in mind is the possibility of a recession. The current economic expansion since the end of the Great Recession in 2009 would be, at 11 years, unprecedented in U.S. history. No one wants to see a recession, but they inevitably happen, and they are never good for the sitting president especially when key segments of the workforce are already hurting from the repercussions from his tariffs. While many 2016 swing voters may have been entranced at the idea of Making America Great Again, they may decide that he's the last person they can entrust to pull it off.

    Also consider that Trump, so far, hasn't had to deal with any major international crisis under his watch despite his bluster. Every other recent president has had to deal with them, and Trump doesn't strike me as a particularly charmed individual. He seems to be living on borrowed time, and the Christmas help (as Rick calls the administration) that he would rely on to diffuse any such crisis, and the animosity our fellow allies hold toward him, do not inspire much confidence.

    And then there is the Mueller investigation and whatever House oversight committees may uncover.

    With Trump's unwitting cooperation and the play of non-political factors, Dems may be able to repair their blue Midwestern firewall with minimal effort while expanding the competitive states into the Sunbelt. The idea of having to compete in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona must scare the hell out of the GOP. The prospect of having to divert big money from elsewhere into Texas would be even more terrifying especially since they know it would be a losing battle in the long run without completely reevaluating their own values and messaging.

    1976 (Carter): Last time a GOP presidential candidate didn't carry Texas
    1924 (Coolidge): Last time a GOP candidate won without carrying Texas
    2018 (Carnival Cruz): Worst single-digit margin of victory for a statewide federal GOP candidate in two decades (2.7%)

  • 62. VIRick  |  December 2, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Overall Analysis of the 2018 Mid-Term Senate Races and Prospects for 2020

    Despite the net loss of two seats for the Democrats in 2018, the nationwide vote totals for the 35 Senate seats (2 in both Minnesota and Mississippi) which were up for re-election were rather eye-opening, and quite favorable to the Democrats.

    The Democrats won 24 of the 35 races, flipping two in the process, Arizona and Nevada; while the Republicans only won 11, yet flipped four, 3 states by 52% or less, Florida, Indiana, and Missouri. Nationwide, the Democrats garnered an impressive 51,554,612 votes (59.0%), while the Republicans only received 34,424,948 votes (39.4%). The remaining 1.6% went to third party candidates.

    In 2020, for the 34 races which can be anticipated (33 in regular rotation, plus Arizona), because a different combination of states with different incumbents and challengers will be in play, it is difficult to extrapolate anticipated results based on 2018 Senate figures. Still, the Democrats only have to defend 12 states: AL, DE, IL, MA, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NM, OR, RI, and VA; while the Republicans have to defend 22: AK, AR, AZ, CO, GA, ID, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MS, MT, NC, NE, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, and WY.

    At this moment, one can see probable losses for the Republicans in AZ, CO, IA, KS, and ME (based in part on House seats having been flipped by the Democrats in 2018 in all 5, plus a Senate seat in AZ and a governorship in KS), and possible losses in GA, MS, MT, NC, and TX, along with the fervent hope that someone beats McTurtle in KY. In return, the Democrats will have to fight to keep AL.

    In the meantime, the 2020 election is still 2 years away, and none of this helps us in the new congress where we will need 4 Republican Senators, in tandem with the Democrats, to block Trump's more egregious court nominations. I can foresee Tim Scott, SC; Ben Sasse, NE; and Lisa Murkowski, AK, voicing dissent. But who else? Mitt Romney, UT? Most of us have given up on Susan Collins, ME, as she dithers about, pretending to be concerned, but then, always seems to end up towing the line. But maybe, just maybe, there will be some change, given that she is up for re-election in 2020 (as is Murkowski). His two biggest current critics, Jeff Flake, AZ, and Bob Corker, TN, will both be gone.

  • 63. Fortguy  |  December 2, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Perry Bacon, Jr., FiveThirtyEight: The Two (Or Three) Senators To Watch In 2019

    We can stop obsessing so much about how Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are going to vote. Long the crucial swing votes in the U.S. Senate, they will still be crucial to the GOP’s majority, but for the next two years, when the Senate considers legislation that Democrats unanimously oppose, the real deciders are likely to be Cory Gardner and Mitt Romney. (And maybe Martha McSally.)


    So who will emerge as the key swing votes in the Senate? Among sitting members, our Trump score suggests that Kentucky’s Rand Paul is actually the most anti-Trump Republican in the chamber, opposing Trump initiatives about 25 percent of the time. Then, aside from Collins and Murkowski, Utah’s Mike Lee and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse have broken with Trump the next most often among returning GOP senators. (Note that while our metric is called the “Trump score,” the president’s position on issues that come up for votes in the Senate nearly always aligns with the position supported by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership.)

    But when I looked at the times Lee, Paul and Sasse voted against the Trump position, it was often on spending bills that overwhelmingly passed the Senate. In those cases, their opposition was basically meaningless. It allows them to claim that they are the among the most fiscally conservative Republicans in Washington, but it doesn’t actually stall legislation and potentially annoy McConnell or Trump.

    The article goes on to say of Romney that he's very popular in a red state that doesn't like Trump. Plus, at the age of 71 and unlikely to pursue higher office again, he has the independence to be critical of Trump.

    Gardner may need to put plenty of distance between himself and Trump due to political survival. Colorado is increasingly blue, and he will need Dems and independents to get reelected. Heller in Nevada is a case in point of what can happen to a GOPer loyal to Trump and the Senate leadership in an emerging blue state.

    McSally would likely replace Jon Kyle who may retire before the special election. Arizona is now trending blue, and McSally used to be more critical of Trump before running for Senate this year when she began to cozy up to him. I don't think she's dumb enough to make that mistake again.

  • 64. Fortguy  |  December 2, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    FiveThirtyEight also has all of the 2020 Senate contests ranked by the partisan lean of their states. Two Democrats are in red-leaning states, Doug Jones (AL) and Jeanne Shaheen (NH), while two Republicans are in blue-leaning states, Susan Collins (ME) and Cory Gardner (CO). A national +8-10% Dem wave in 2020 would keep Shaheen safe and possibly flip North Carolina, Iowa, and Arizona while Collins and Gardner would face swimming upstream against a strong current. I don't see how Jones wins in Alabama unless the GOP nominee turns out to be, not just a pedophile, but one who likes the corpses of dead boys.

    Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight: The Senate Will Be Competitive Again In 2020, But Republicans Are Favored

  • 65. ianbirmingham  |  December 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    New Hampshire is not "red-leaning". Democrats control both the State House and the State Senate, as well as both US House seats and both US Senate seats. Republicans hold only the Governor's Mansion, and that's only because the Governor is a moderate Republican (nothing like Maine's Republican Governor LePage). All of this echoes the corresponding situations in neighboring Vermont, which is widely regarded as deep blue.

  • 66. Fortguy  |  December 3, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    FiveThirtyEight looks at many factors to come up with their partisan lean for each state. They look at several election cycles, not the most recent, which would keep the Trump-era stronger performance of Dems from weighing as heavily. Also, the greater Boston suburban area bleeds into New Hampshire, a demographic missing in Vermont, although Dems are much improved in suburban areas during the Trump-era.

    Also, they look at party affiliation on registration where available, and they look at the partisan balance in state legislatures rather than merely which parties control them. Local New Hampshire Republicans are much more moderate than their counterparts in the Midwest, South, or West, and can still win state districts by focusing on local issues.

    Still, with a partisan lean of only 1.7% R, that makes the state essentially purple which would obviously be more blue if only the most recent elections were considered.

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