Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Trump and GOP leaders push to change Nebraska electoral votes to winner-take-all

By 37ci3 Apr3,2024

Former President Donald Trump and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen are calling on the state Legislature to change the way Nebraska’s Electoral College votes, which would almost certainly benefit Trump’s 2024 presidential bid.

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.

Republicans have long sought to change the law that allows Democratic presidential candidates to win one Electoral College vote — from a congressional district based in Omaha — in a red state. This has happened twice in 2020, including with Joe Biden won over Trump in district electionsThat means Trump’s 58% statewide support gave him four out of five votes in the Nebraska election.

Republicans are increasing pressure on the state’s nonpartisan, unicameral Legislature to make changes ahead of this fall’s presidential election.

But despite Republican pushback, the previously introduced bill was largely overlooked before the sudden spotlight as the legislative session drew to a close.

In the Nebraska legislature, “we have a process,” Speaker John Arch said in a statement. “This includes bill introduction, committee hearings for each bill, and prioritization of the session agenda by committees and individual members of the legislature. LB 764 was not prioritized and remains in committee. I cannot schedule the bill. It is still in committee.”

The governor responded hours after Republican activist Charlie Kirk urged his supporters to contact Pillen, a Republican, to support the change. own statement reiterated his support for the bill and called on lawmakers to pass it. Shortly after, Trump took to social media to support the effort.

“The governor of Nebraska, Jim Pillen, a very smart and popular governor who has done some really great things, today issued a very strong letter in support of returning Nebraska’s electoral votes to a winner-take-all system,” he said. wrote on his Truth social platform.

“Many Nebraskans have long wanted to go back to this system because it’s what 48 other states do — it’s what the Founders intended, and it’s true for Nebraska. Thank you Governor for your courageous leadership. Let’s hope that the Senate will do the right thing.”

Kirk told NBC News that he had been focusing on the issue “for some time.”

“While doing research for my show, I realized two things: A bill had already been drafted and the legislature was still in session,” Kirk said. “So I decided to do something about it. I thank Governor Pillen and President Trump for their swift action.”

Election math

The debate is over only one of the 538 Electoral College votes that functionally decide the presidency. But the change may have far greater repercussions than it first appears.

Biden won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232 in 2020, but the electoral landscape has changed significantly since then. A battleground state poll shows that states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin — states Trump lost in 2020 — are close enough for Republicans 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.

That’s one reason Democrats are blasting the potential change, as they also argue the current system keeps Nebraska relevant in a presidential race they believe is good for the state.

“The [Nebraska Republican Party] are following #NE02 in this latest attempt to reduce our state’s influence nationwide. #NE02 went to Obama in 2008, to Biden in 2020. They know [Biden] He can win in 2024. They cannot stand having a Blue Dot in the state. We will continue to protect it.” the state Democratic Party wrote at X on Tuesday night, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The party also launched a petition campaign against the bill.

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

“This is what the modern Republican Party has become, they’re changing the rules in the middle now to try to benefit themselves,” Messina said.

“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 continued.

Procedural barriers

Despite the Republican pressure campaign, it’s unclear whether the bill will actually become law thanks to a combination of support, questions about how the bill will work through committee and the fact that the legislative session ends in just two weeks.

“When it comes to successfully getting bills through the unicameral legislature, it’s all about timing and management,” said Republican Sen. Tom Brewer, who chairs the legislative committee reviewing the bill. This was reported to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “And with that, it’s past the 11th hour. We just don’t have a way to adapt it.”

Although the draft law was introduced in January last year, there was no substantial action on it two months later, since a committee hearing in March 2023. A legislative staffer, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, told NBC News that no attention has been paid to the bill since last year’s hearing after Kirk’s program.

The staffer noted that there is “no time” for the Committee on Government, Military and Veterans Affairs to act on the legislation. While it’s possible the bill could be attached to a measure currently on the floor, that’s unlikely given opposition from House Democrats and independents.

Sen. Loren Lippincott, a Republican who authored the bill, told the Journal-Star that even if supporters try to circumvent procedural hurdles by adding language, there is not enough support for the bill in the Legislature to overcome a filibuster. amendment to the bill already moving on the floor.

In a statement Wednesday, Lippincott added: “My staff and I are doing everything we can to look for options to get this to the finish line. However, the harsh reality of the two-day deadline is limited.”

Nebraska lawmakers have repeatedly tried to return the state to awarding all Electoral College votes to the statewide winner. Since the change in 1991. While the Legislature successfully passes legislation to do so 1995Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson vetoed it.

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By 37ci3

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