Mon. May 20th, 2024

How Nebraska could shake up the presidential map: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Apr3,2024



Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, we look at how Nebraska’s potential electoral vote rule change could have a major impact on the 2024 presidential race. Plus, senior political analyst Chuck Todd explains why late voters will decide the election.

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How Nebraska could shake up the presidential map

By Ben Kamisar, Bridget Bowman and Allan Smith

Nebraska is far from anyone’s idea of ​​a battleground state, but a potential rule change there could have a big impact on the outcome of this year’s presidential election.

Donald Trump and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen have called on the state Legislature to change the way the Nebraska Electoral College votes. While most states award all of their Electoral College votes to the statewide winner of the presidential election, Nebraska and Maine award one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district.


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Despite sudden pressure from top Republicans, it’s unclear whether Nebraska’s nonpartisan, unicameral Legislature can make changes before its session ends in two weeks. A GOP state senator has introduced a previously introduced bill on the topic as an amendment to the legislation in the process, hoping to force a faster vote. But the measure could still face a possible filibuster.

If the change were to happen, it would have far greater repercussions than it initially appears.

Joe Biden won the 2020 electoral vote in Omaha’s 2nd Congressional District, meaning Trump’s 58% statewide support gave him four of Nebraska’s five electoral votes. Biden won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232 in 2020, but the landscape has changed significantly since then.

Battlefield State Survey States like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin — states that Trump lost in 2020 — show that the Republican nominee is well within his means this fall.

And if Trump can win back the key Sun Belt states he lost in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia and Nevada — Nebraska’s divisive electoral vote will be crucial.

In this scenario, and under the current rules in Nebraska, Biden would win the presidency with 270 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 268. But if Nebraska casts all of its votes to the statewide winner, that would leave both candidates with 269 votes. send the presidential election to the House of Representatives.

Jim Messina, then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, criticized the potential move during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” saying it was “ridiculous to change the rules 200 days before the election.”

“When you look at a map, there are real simulation problems where one electoral vote is really important in a combination of other things. Then another state is needed. The easiest path to victory has always been the Midwest tri-state combined with Nebraska,” Messina added.

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Why the 2024 election is shaping up for a late break

Analysis by Chuck Todd

Not a week goes by without three to five polls airing over the next six months, both nationally and in battleground states. Again, as much as I’m biased against the numbers, I’ll do my best to take every conclusion with a grain of salt, even though I have a lot of data to announce. And if I notice anything in these polls, it will be the trends that continue for more than just two polls.

Here’s why: Ultimately, this election will be decided by “double haters” — those who feel sorry for both Biden and Trump — and disaffected partisans. If history is any guide — well, if our entire lives are any guide — we likely won’t see any significant movement in the polls until the last minute.

Why do I believe this? This is basic human nature. When you don’t like doing something you have to do, you wait until the last possible minute to do it.

We all remember that long paper in high school or college, when we hated the combination of some assignment or class or book we had to read but knew we had to focus on it at some point if we wanted to pass the class. Typically, these documents were not prepared much in advance.

Double haters have a lot of incentive to wait if they are truly undecided. Maybe they want to see how Trump’s trials turn out. Maybe they want to see how Biden stands on the trail. Perhaps they are waiting to see who Trump will choose as his running mate.

In this election, there is no compelling reason for the double haters to decide early. And figuring out which way those voters lean will be one of the toughest election challenges in 2024, as they sit in the pollsters’ undecided column until at least October.

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🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 🇺🇦 A new ‘litmus test’? Ukraine aid is not only dividing Republicans on Capitol Hill, but has emerged as a divisive issue in the GOP primaries and a potential “litmus test” for alignment with Trump. More →
  • ⚖️ Court review: Some Democratic senators have been careful not to join calls for liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire, but for the first time they are raising concerns that a Supreme Court vacancy under a GOP administration could lead to a “full-on MAGA court.” More →
  • 🚪Tense meeting: Biden’s displeasure with his handling of the Israel-Hamas war was on display in a closed-door White House meeting with six Muslim American leaders. More →
  • 🚫 He rejects Trump’s claim: Trump said on the campaign trail in Michigan on Tuesday that he had spoken with the family of Ruby Garcia, a 25-year-old woman who was allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant. But Garcia’s sister said Trump has not spoken to anyone in the family. More →
  • 🦡 In Wisconsin: Trump too He returned to Wisconsin Tuesday, falsely claiming to have won the state in 2020 for the first time in nearly two years. Meanwhile, voters approved two GOP-backed ballot measures that would change election administration in the state. More →
  • 👀 Return to Washington? Several candidates running for office this year participated in the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol or attended Trump’s White House rally before that. More →
  • 💲 [Insert corporate jargon here]: The New York Times examines Biden’s “alternately cozy and combative relationship” with corporate leaders. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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