Former President Donald Trump wants to avoid the possibility that he could again lose an Electoral College in Nebraska.

Donald Trump threw his support behind a last-minute push to make it harder for Joe Biden to win.Trump wants Nebraska Republicans to change their laws so Biden couldn’t win an Electoral College vote in the state.Biden’s easiest path to reelection involves carrying an Omaha-area Congressional District.

Former President Donald Trump is backing a last-minute change to Nebraska’s election law that could deprive President Joe Biden of a potential Electoral College vote that would loom large in a close race.

Trump praised Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen for throwing his support behind a bill that would end Nebraska’s decadeslong practice of making it possible to earn some of the state’s electoral college votes by winning the popular vote in any of Nebraska’s three congressional districts.

“A very smart letter from Governor Jim Pillen of Nebraska!” Trump wrote on Truth Social Tuesday evening, attaching a copy of Pillen’s statement.

Democrats have twice carried Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, based in the Omaha metro area, most recently in 2020. The rest of the state is heavily conservative and has consistently handed its four other electoral votes to Republican nominees. The GOP has mostly managed to hang onto the district’s congressional seat, with Rep. Don Bacon, a centrist Republican, winning his fourth term in 2022.

As Semafor first reported, Pillen was following up on Charlie Kirk‘s call for Nebraska lawmakers to push the legislation through before the current session ends. Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, is a key Trump ally. In his statement, Pillen said he has supported the legislation “from the start.”

“It would bring Nebraska into line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks with one unified voice in presidential elections,” Pillen said.

Republicans could make Biden’s reelection path more difficult if they successfully change the law.

Biden’s easiest line to a second term is to repeat his wins in the so-called Blue Wall states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and then carry the Omaha metro area district again. In that scenario, Trump could flip Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada and still fall short of the White House.

If Republicans were to change Nebraska’s laws, under the same scenario, the Electoral College vote would be 269-269, throwing the outcome of the presidency to the newly elected House of Representatives.

It’s worth being skeptical that Republicans can push this through.

Nebraska Republicans have gnashed their teeth over the law for years. They recognize that it’s embarrassing for a heavily conservative state that hasn’t had a Democratic governor in 24 years or a Democratic senator in a decade to hand over one of its Electoral College votes to a Democrat. After President Barack Obama narrowly won the 2nd District in 2008, multiple efforts were made to change the law. They failed.

The current legislation to change the law was introduced last January and has largely languished since then.

It’s harder for Republicans to change the law due to the other quirk that makes the Cornhusker state exceptional in US politics: It has only a one-house legislature.

Democrats in the state have also long blocked or significantly slowed down proposals in the officially nonpartisan unicameral via the filibuster. Just like in Congress, the Nebraska filibuster offers a powerful tool for the minority. Republicans effectively control only 32 votes, one shy of a filibuster-proof majority.

In 2023, state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh sustained the longest filibuster in state history in an effort to block a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors. A version of the legislation that included a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks eventually became law, but the filibuster ground the legislature to a near halt for weeks.

The other bad news for Nebraska Republicans is that the 60-day session is just days from closing. Pillen’s tax plan, a major priority, is also still pending. It’s why state Sen. Megan Hunt said Democrats shouldn’t worry.

“Reporting live from the trenches — don’t worry, we aren’t getting rid of our unique electoral system in Nebraska. Legislatively there’s just no time,” Hunt, a progressive lawmaker, wrote on X. “Nothing to worry about this year. #NELeg.”

Then-Nebraska Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster smiles during an event with former President Donald Trump ahead of the state’s 2020 GOP primary.

Pillen also has political incentives to show he’s trying to change the law. A former member of the state board of regents, Pillen defeated Trump’s preferred gubernatorial candidate businessman Charles Herbster in a contentious 2022 Nebraska Republican primary. Pillen later appointed the then-newly former Gov. Pete Ricketts to the US Senate, a move that angered some Nebraska Republicans given that Ricketts had endorsed Pillen over Herbster. Pillen denied that anything nefarious had occurred over the appointment.

It is worth noting that Trump has benefited from Maine, the only other state to award some of its Electoral College votes under the congressional district approach. The former president carried Maine’s 2nd District in both 2016 and 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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