|Becca Stareyes (beccastareyes) wrote,|
@ 2008-10-06 19:17:00
|Current music:||The Kinslayer-Nightwish|
Western Nebraska and politics
This isn't strictly about the 2008 election, but it does concern USA politics.
So, Nebraska, my home state, has a number of governmental quirks. Most state legislatures have two bodies, but it has one -- back in the Great Depression, someone decided that having a State House of Representatives and a State Senate was redundant, so they axed one and just had a State Legislature. It also has a nearly-unique way of voting for President.
For those of you who aren't living in the US, and don't really know how our politics work, while our President is elected over the nation, it might be best to think of the election as 51 elections, one in each state. Each state is then charged to send a number of people -- one for each Representative and Senator (plus DC gets someone) -- to the Electoral College to formally elect the president in December. Originally, this method was used because back in 1800-ish, the idea was that Joe Farmer was more likely to know something about who he voted for in the electoral college than some governor/senator/whoever that was running. Nowadays, many states have laws requiring their Electoral College members to vote the way the popular vote goes, winner take all. So even if Candidate A loses by one vote in a state, s/he still doesn't get any of that state's votes. Hence the emphasis on Florida in '00, and Ohio in '04 -- both states had close presidential races and enough votes in the Electoral College to matter.
Nebraska and Maine do that with two of their votes, but the votes that represent their House seats are proportioned by District. In Nebraska, the Congressional Districts are Omaha (biggest city in the state), Eastern 1/3 of Nebraska + Lincoln (state capital and college town), and Western 2/3 of Nebraska. These all have about the same population -- so Omaha is mostly urban, Western Nebraska is mostly cows, and Eastern Nebraska is a mix.
Western Nebraska... well, let's just put it this way. The current Athletic Director of the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, who was a former Head Football Coach for UNL, was once Western Nebraska's Representative. I like to say that even Jesus Christ Himself couldn't get elected on the Democratic ticket -- faced with voting against Jesus or voting Democrat and most Western Nebraskans would stay home.
It seems that other people share my sentiments. The polling site fivethirtyeight.com just changed their maps to account for Nebraska and Maine's voting system. It includes the quote of "If John McCain has a nervous breakdown and replaces himself on the ticket with Jack Abramoff, Obama might win 537 electoral votes -- with Western Nebraska being the holdout."
Oh, Nebraska. You so crazy.