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Consequential.

Let's look it up: important, significant, momentous, far-reaching, serious.

Yep, that's it.

As a registered independent who has voted for both Democrats and Republicans -- and who happens to believe that the political parties have far too much power and sometimes place party above country -- I cannot remember a more consequential presidential election.

So, hey, let's all get engaged this time, pay attention, listen to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, inform ourselves, ultimately make our choices and cast a vote.

Can't remember when there has been more at stake when you consider this decision is locked down for four years.

This is not a year to just let those who choose not to vote for whatever reason effectively determine who's going to be the next president just because they did not show up.

It's a particularly volatile election year with polling numbers beginning to look like an irregular heart beat and battleground states growing in number.

Clinton will come to Omaha on Monday not to visit a battleground state, but to campaign in a battleground congressional district while also planting her flag in a crimson state with media coverage bleeding across the river into Iowa, a battleground state. Lots of check marks.

That congressional district vote is an Electoral College rarity existing only in Nebraska and Maine.

You can be quite certain Clinton would not be campaigning in Nebraska if the 2016 Legislature had approved the latest effort to return the state to a winner-take-all electoral vote system. That legislative bill had majority support, but was trapped when supporters fell one vote short of freeing it from a filibuster.

Clinton's appearance in Omaha conceivably could lure Trump to come here later, but a stop by Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence might be more likely.

Both Lincoln and Omaha clearly are in play, up for grabs in this presidential election.

But Lincoln, which voted for Bill Clinton twice, is sited within a congressional district in which strong Republican support in counties outside the city overwhelms Lincoln's more divided urban vote.

Omaha has sufficient population to be able to overrule the strong Republican vote in portions of Sarpy County that are attached to its congressional district.

So Nebraska remains a dependably red state with two blue dots, only one of which is located in a congressional district that it can dominate.

President Obama won the Omaha district's presidential electoral vote in 2008, but lost it to Mitt Romney in 2012. This year it's up for grabs.

With these two nominees, the upcoming presidential debates are going to provide compelling theater and might attract record audiences. Votes will be locked down -- and probably even changed -- as a result of those performances by Trump and Clinton with their sharply disparate styles and deep disagreements on substance.

The differences between the Republican national convention and the Democratic national convention were stark in terms of content and tone.

Those were two different versions of America in 2016 and beyond.

Expect more of that now, but even more intense and magnified. 

And personal. This ain't gonna be pretty.

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Buckle up, everyone; we've got a critical, consequential decision to make.

And all of us ought to do this together.

***

Hillary Clinton's Monday event at Omaha North High School launches a week of political activity in Nebraska as we move into August.

Here's what follows:

Monday: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will hold a town hall meeting with constituents at Lincoln Southwest High School, beginning at 5 p.m. 

Tuesday: Sen. Deb Fischer will hold what she calls "a listening session" with constituents in Lincoln at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce conference room at 1128 Lincoln Mall, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Nebraska's congressional delegation will meet with business and government leaders at the annual federal legislative summit at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum along Interstate 80 near Ashland, a big event hosted by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Friday: Former Sens. Bob Kerrey and Chuck Hagel will engage in a conversation about "service above self" as a kick-off to a Rotary district conference in Lincoln. 

***

Clinton's trip to Nebraska as the Democratic presidential nominee is such a rarity that Democrats have pointed back 80 years to 1936 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned in Nebraska for a second term.

That included a trip to Lincoln with Roosevelt arriving by train at the Burlington Station and riding down O Street on his way to a speech outside the new State Capitol.

Roosevelt made a couple of trips to Nebraska that year on a dual mission -- his re-election and the re-election of Sen. George W. Norris, who was running for the first time as an independent after leaving the Republican Party.

Roosevelt told Nebraskans he had participated in elections in only one state, his own state of New York, before coming to Nebraska to campaign for Norris.

"To my rule of non-participation in state elections I have made -- and so long as he lives -- I always will make one magnificently justified exception," the president said.

"George Norris' candidacy transcends state and party lines."

Norris won re-election that November with 44 percent of the vote; the Republican and Democratic nominees shared the other 56 percent.

***

Finishing up:

* A baseball trip last week dramatically demonstrated that they're still building new skyscrapers in New York, but there's plenty of evidence everywhere that Congress needs to partner with the new president to get serious about rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. Both Clinton and Trump support such a program -- as did President Obama. 

* Among the many foreign languages being spoken in New York now, another one has been added in the Bronx by trades unloading star Yankee players: "Wait until next year."

* August?  Really?

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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