(PoliticalLookout.com)- Not all of the votes are in, but it’s entirely possible at this point that Nebraska’s Second District, with its one single Electoral Vote, could end up deciding the presidential election.
Nebraska and Maine are the only two states in the country that split their total Electoral Votes. In those states, the winner of each congressional district gets one vote, while the overall statewide winner gets the rest. Every other state gives out all its Electoral Votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote within the state.
As of Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump has leads in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maine’s Second District and North Carolina. Democrat Joe Biden, meanwhile, has leads in Arizona and Nevada. Major media outlets called close elections in both Wisconsin and Michigan for Biden.
If those results hold up, then Biden will have 270 Electoral Votes compared to Trump’s 268, meaning Biden would win the election.
If this were to happen, there would be many different states the Trump campaign could point to as the reason for his loss. But Nebraska’s Second District and its one Electoral Vote would be the easy one to single out.
Nebraska is a traditionally Republican state overall. So, losing the Second District in Nebraska would be particularly tough for the Trump campaign to take. This is especially true this year considering Don Bacon, the Republican congressman from the district, was re-elected.
In addition to that Republican victory, Trump won the state overall by 20 points. And Senator Ben Sasse won re-election by a whopping 41 points. So, if Trump losing the Second District were to ultimately be his undoing in this election, it would be particularly tough to take.
If all the other assumptions above hold true, but Nebraska’s Second District would have gone for Trump, then the president would win re-election. In that case, it would be a 269-269 tie between Trump and Biden.
In the case of a tie, the House of Representatives chooses the winner of the election. And even though the Democrats control the House, each member of the chamber doesn’t get a single vote as they do when voting on legislation. Instead, each state gets one vote, meaning Republicans would win the day.
There is nothing illegal about the way that Nebraska and Maine have their Electoral Votes divided. And it doesn’t always play against Republicans. In fact, Trump is benefitting this year from the situation in Maine, as he is winning their congressional district while losing the state overall. As a result, he picked up an extra Electoral Vote there that he wouldn’t have had Maine had a winner-take-all approach.
Still, it’s something that Trump would likely attack if he does, indeed, lose the election by a 270-268 tally.
There are still plenty of votes to be counted in some key battleground states, though. In addition, there are likely to be a few legal challenges to voting and ballot counting in others that have been called.
So, while the above hypothetical situation is just that at this time – hypothetical – it’s not a good situation for Republicans or Trump.