Uncle Joe’s Gonna Flip Nebraska’s Second District On Trump’s Ass
It's hard to imagine that a presidential election between a racist, incompetent tax deadbeat and a functioning mammal could come down to the wire, but America is exceptional that way. What if, despite everything, Donald Trump still manages to hold onto Pennsylvania, and Florida ... well, what if it continues to Florida?
Let's break down the grim scenario: If Joe Biden carries every state Hillary Clinton won in 2016, flips Arizona and returns Wisconsin and Michigan to the blue column, he'd have exactly 269 electoral votes, an Electoral College tie with President Tax Cheat. The race would go to the House of Representatives, which the Democrats control. Hooray! Unfortunately, Republicans will deny that “hooray!" because they are expected to win more state delegations and that's who'll decide the winner. Man, it seems like you'd have a fairer shot of unseating Satan as President of Hell, where there's a straightforward popular vote system because the Devil actually believes in democracy.
However, Biden has a shot at 270 without Florida and Pennsylvania. That's where Nebraska comes in ... yes, that Nebraska.
Unlike every other state aside from Maine, Nebraska doesn't award its electoral votes on a winner-take-all, thank-you-very-much-Jill Stein basis. The statewide winner receives two electoral votes, and the winner of each congressional district receives one. There are just three congressional districts because Nebraska's entire population is about half of Los Angeles. Yes, I know that's insane.
Statewide, Nebraska is reliably Republican, but its Second Congressional District is significantly less so. Trump only carried the district by two points in 2016, back when people thought he paid taxes every once in a while. The district's demographics are a good fit for the emerging Biden coalition.
It's relatively white, metropolitan and well educated, and national polls routinely show Mr. Biden running ahead of Hillary Clinton's 2016 performance among all three groups.
If Nebraska's Second were a state, it would have the third-highest share of college graduates of any state, trailing Massachusetts and Colorado.
Nebraska's pretty damn white, but white college graduates are like kryptonite to Trump.
The New York Times surveyed likely voters in Nebraska's Second Congressional District, and Biden has a substantial seven-point lead. Although Republicans outnumbered Democrats in the survey, Biden crushed Trump among independent voters (54 percent to 26 percent). College-educated independent voters have even less time for Trump and back Biden 64 to 23 percent.
Nebraska's Second District includes Omaha and most of its suburbs. Trump has warned suburban America about the scourge of Cory Booker and his tofu thugs, but they're apparently not dumb enough to listen.
Biden is also leading in Maine's rural Second Congressional District, which Trump carried by 10 points in 2016. The paths to 270 are shrinking for President Klan Bake.
Although I'd prefer a more overwhelming victory, Biden winning is all that matters, even if he doesn't break 300 electoral vote like a common George W. Bush. I'm also petty enough to appreciate Nebraska's Second District helping Biden clinch the White House. Whenever Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse objects to a President Biden policy as too “liberal" or inconsistent with Nebraska values, Uncle Joe can hold up a framed photo of that single electoral vote, plus one of his middle fingers.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."