For nearly a century, American electoral politics was characterized by the oft-repeated aphorism: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” These words rang true to Americans for at least two reasons – first, because of Maine’s early harvest and immoderate fall weather, it held gubernatorial and congressional elections in September. Hence, the winning party often hopefully viewed its results as a harbinger of victory in the November presidential election. Secondly, pundits regarded Maine as a statistical bellwether, since its winning gubernatorial party in September took the White House in November near three quarters of the time between 1832 and 1932. This reputation was especially cemented into American consciousness in 1888, when Maine was solidly Republican in September and predicted Benjamin Harrison’s electoral victory in spite of losing the nationwide popular vote. But Maine’s bellwether reputation was shattered forever in 1936,…

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