Home » Far-right podcaster prompts Nebraska move to change electoral system | Nebraska

Far-right podcaster prompts Nebraska move to change electoral system | Nebraska

by John Jefferson
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The power of the far-right commentator Charlie Kirk was illustrated when his tweet prompted the governor of Nebraska to support a bill to change the state’s system for presidential elections in order to deny Democrats a single electoral vote that could decide the presidency later this year.

“Nebraskans should call their legislators and their governor to demand their state stop pointlessly giving strength to their political enemies,” Kirk wrote.

Jim Pillen acted soon after.

Nebraska has five electoral college votes. Since 1991, it has split them. Two go to the candidate with most votes statewide, the others to the winners of three electoral districts. Though the state skews heavily Republican, it gave Democrats one electoral vote in 2008 and 2020.

This year, Joe Biden could lose Arizona, Georgia and Nevada to Donald Trump but win the electoral college 270-268 if he won Nebraska’s second district again. All five Nebraska votes going to Trump would produce a 269-269 tie, throwing the election to the US House, where Republicans control more state delegations and would thus pick the winner.

On Tuesday, Kirk posited that scenario and said: “Despite [Nebraska] being one of the most Republican states … thanks to this system, Omaha’s electoral vote leans blue … [and Biden is] likely to win it again this year.

“California would never do this. New York would never do this. And as long as that’s the case, neither should we. This is completely fixable. Nebraska’s legislature can act to make sure their state’s electoral votes go towards electing the candidate the VAST majority of Nebraskans prefer.

“There’s already a bill ready to go – LB764. All Nebraska has to do is put it up for a vote. As I write this, the Nebraska legislature is still in session … call @TeamPillen and let him know you want this fixed.”

Kirk included a phone number. As noted by Semafor, a little over five hours later the Nebraska governor issued a statement “in response to a callout for his support”.

“I am a strong supporter of Senator [Loren] Lippincott’s winner-takes-all bill and have been from the start,” Pillen said. “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.”

The only other state to allow for split electoral college votes is e.

Pillen said: “I call upon fellow Republicans in the legislature to pass this bill to my desk so I can sign it into law.”

Not long after that, Donald Trump saluted what he called “a very smart letter”.

The Nebraska legislative session ends this month. Democrats said they were ready to block attempts to pass LB764.

“The Nebraska Democratic party is watching this bill closely and still believes we have the votes to stop the Republicans from removing a fair electoral system that represents voters,” Jane Kleeb, the Democratic state chair, told Semafor.

“The only reason Governor Pillen sent a release today is the extremist Charlie Kirk sent a tweet that, of course, our governor jumped up to respond to.”

Kirk, 30, is a co-founder of Turning Point USA, a youth-oriented fundraising juggernaut, and an influential rightwing podcaster. A dedicated controversialist, he recently made waves by claiming “birth control really screws up female brains”.

On Wednesday, Kirk tweeted footage of pundits discussing his Nebraska gambit, writing: “MSNBC is panicking about Nebraska. BOOM!”



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