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News from the Votemaster

Democratic Platform Calls for Marriage Equality

For the first time in U.S. history, a major party platform will call for same-sex couples to be able to get married under the same conditions and have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. The committee drafting the Democratic Party platform approved the plank on Sunday. It has to be ratified by the convention, but with the President and Vice President on record saying they support marriage equality, it is certain to be approved. From a legal perspective, such a position doesn't mean much because laws about marriage are up to the states. However, it does call for repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which says states that don't allow same-sex marriage don't have to honor marriages entered into in states where it is legal. If DOMA were repealed, as a general rule, states are supposed to honor each others' laws.

It is amazing how fast things have changed. Ten years ago, Karl Rove was using same-sex marriage as a boogeyman to scare voters. Now the Democrats are openly embracing it. Clearly they believe it will be an electoral plus, not a minus. Compared to the civil rights revolution, which was over 100 years in the making, public opinion on this subject has changed dramatically in a very short time. Most polls now show that a small majority of Americans favor allowing same-sex couples to be formally married.

Lies the Parties Tell Themselves

Politico has a nice piece about lies party insiders are telling themselves about the campaigns. Sometimes if you repeat something often enough you come to think it is really true. Here is a guide to fantasyland.

Democrats believe:
Republicans believe:

Implicit in the list is that the authors do not believe any of these statements to be true.

Texas Senate Runoff Today

The Senate runoff election between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX) and tea party favorite Ted Cruz is today. This weekend, PPP released a poll showing Cruz was ahead 52% to 42%, but Dewhurst released a poll yesterday showing him to be ahead by 5 points. If PPP is right, it will only confirm our view that polls from partisan pollsters are totally worthless and just PR for the candidate. We'll know tomorrow.

Portman Is a George H.W. Bush-type Conservative

Politico has a detailed story about Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), thought by many insiders to be one of the two most likely Veep picks for Mitt Romney (Tim Pawlenty being the other one). Portman is a not a fire-and-brimstone conservative like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) or Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), but more like former President George H.W. Bush. He tries to build consensus and is no ideological warrior. In that respect, he would be a good fit for Romney, who is certainly no take-no-prisoners firebrand. Former senator Alan Simpson described Portman by saying what he wants to do is "make things work." That suggests a kind of pragmatism that gets modern Republicans labeled as RINOs if they try to work with the Democrats to get things done.

Majority of Americans Do Not Know How Many Justices Sit on the Supreme Court

A new CBS/Vanity Fair poll has discovered than only 40% of Americans know there are 9 justices on the Supreme Court. Among those with a bachelors degree, 52% know the answer and among people with a postgraduate degree, 59% know. And this is just after the Court's decision on the ACA, which came down 5-4, something extremely widely reported. With ignorance rampant in the land, it is not surprising that the level of our political discourse is so low.

But before you feel a little too proud of yourself for knowing the answer, take this one-question quiz.

What is required to change the number of Supreme Court Justices from nine to some other number?

      (a) An amendment to the Constitution
      (b) An act of Congress
      (c) An executive order by the President
      (d) Something else
      (e) It can't be changed

Here is the answer.