Maine Pretty Much Used To Tell The Country Who’d Be President
'As Maine goes, so goes the nation...'
That's how the old saying used to go. When I was a kid, I kind of interpreted that as Maine was the single most badass state in the country. I mean, it is, but in its own special way. But no longer in a way that dictates entire elections or anything. But once upon a time, the whole country would look at Maine first when it was election season.
No one really knows who coined that phrase, but we've all heard it at one time or another. A lot of folks likely assume it was because of the influence we carried as the lumber capital of the world, but really it came down to Maine's gubernatorial elections being a totally correct predictor of the presidential elections.
Back in the day, state elections were held in September.
This is the key piece of information here. From pretty much the state's inception in 1820, until decades after, the state and national elections were held in different months. As Maine would wrap its own elections, people began noticing that whoever Maine elected governor, that party would always win the presidential election.
This fact was true in 22 out of 29 elections for over 120 years. From 1820 until 1932, Maine nailed almost every single one. To the point where we got a lot of attention and people began heavily courting Maine voters to try and swing elections one way or the other. Hmmmm.... sounds like today with all the hub-bub around primaries.
In 1936, we finally began to lose our election mojo.
That year, Maine had all its big guns resting in the Republican party. We had a nearly all Republican state government, to the point where folks thought it was a done deal, but that Roosevelt destroyed Alf Landon in the election, handing him the worst defeat in election history.
After that, Maine pretty much became less than predictable when it came to presidential elections. And as such, Maine has lost its glory in that particular area. No one is courting us in any special ways, trying to influence our decisions. It's now just politics as usual here in the Pine Tree State.
What politics has come to mean in Maine these days, is that people just patently disrespect each other over who they vote for, and aren't interested in getting to know each other. It's not the hard-fast rule, but one look in any comment section will show where the sad little keyboard haters live. But sadly, that's now how "Maine goes...."