George F. Will: Taking America's pulse before the elections

Published: Sunday, Nov. 4 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Finally, when Maine used to elect members of Congress in September, the saying was, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." Then in 1936, when President Franklin Roosevelt beat Alf Landon in 46 of 48 states, the joke was, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont." Tuesday evening the saying could be "As Maine's Second Congressional District goes, so goes the presidency." Forty-eight states allocate all their electoral votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. Nebraska and Maine, however, award two votes to the statewide winner, but one to whomever carries each congressional district. Obama will win Maine's popular vote, but Romney might win the Second District. Conceivably, one electoral vote could be the difference between 270-268 and 269-269 with the House of Representatives picking the president.

So, there. Enjoy Tuesday evening, after voting with Woody Allen's wisdom in mind: "One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

George Will's email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

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