Trump Supports An Effort To Deny Biden A Critical Electoral Vote

The former president praised Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen this week for endorsing a winner-take-all system in Nebraska.

Former President Donald Trump and GOP Gov. Jim Pillen have endorsed an effort to change how Nebraska awards its Electoral College votes in a way that would benefit Trump in November — although Democrats in the state aren’t especially worried the measure would actually come to pass for this year’s election.

Trump on Tuesday recognized Pillen for endorsing a winner-take-all system for ruby-red Nebraska. The Cornhusker State and Maine are the only two states that split their Electoral College votes based on the popular vote statewide and in U.S. House districts. In 2020, Biden won a single delegate for carrying Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

But that one delegate could have big implications for the 2024 election and Biden if the president doesn’t pull off a full sweep of the Upper Midwest or the Southern swing states that helped him clinch the presidency in 2020. Biden’s campaign declined to comment on the push.

Democrats could, theoretically, combat the loss of an electoral vote in Nebraska by seeking to change the rules in Maine, where the inverse happened four years ago — Biden carried Maine, but Trump won a single congressional district.

In the GOP primary, Trump’s campaign looked for opportunities to warp the rules in their favor, pushing for changes in Nevada that benefited Trump with his base and disadvantaged his biggest rival at the time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Trump lauded Nebraska's governor for backing a move that could help him win the election.
Trump lauded Nebraska's governor for backing a move that could help him win the election.
Associated Press

Pillen on Tuesday came out in support of a bill proposed in February 2023 that would revert the state to its pre-1992 winner-take-all system. Pillen’s statement came just hours after conservative activist Charlie Kirk made the case on X that even if Trump manages to flip Arizona, Georgia and Nevada in the fall, he would still lose to Biden by one Electoral College vote. And Trump seemingly took notice.

“Most Nebraskans have wanted to go back to this system for a very long time, because it’s what 48 other States do — It’s what the Founders intended, and it’s right for Nebraska,” Trump wrote Tuesday on Truth Social.

On Wednesday, the Nebraska GOP and Kirk’s political group, Turning Point Action, announced a rally to whip up support for passing the Legislature’s existing winner-take-all bill.

Nebraska Democrats scoffed at the idea that even Trump — who has a way of getting Republicans to bend to his wishes — and his allies could pull this off just months from the election. Nebraska’s legislative session ends in two weeks on April 18. The bill in question, introduced 14 months ago, was seemingly a nonstarter for the current legislative session until this week.

“The only reason Gov. Pillen sent a release today is, the extremist Charlie Kirk sent a tweet that, of course, our governor jumped up to respond to,” Nebraska’s Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb told Semafor.

A Democrat in Nebraska’s Legislature sought to tamp down fears about any 11th-hour changes to help Trump: “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. Nothing to worry about this year,” Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt posted on X.

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