Report: Nebraska May Hold The Key to Fixing A Broken Congress
Nebraska arguably has the most unique political system in the U.S. Not only are state lawmakers elected using nonpartisan elections, but they serve in a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature.
Open Primaries released a new study, titled The Myth of the Red State: Policy Over Party in the Nebraska State Capitol, on the impact this political makeup has had on state politics and the possible remedy it offers for the hyper-partisan environment on Capitol Hill.
This restructuring has generally freed the legislature from the type of strong-arm partisan politics that pervades political activity in Congress and most state legislatures. With no formal party alignments or caucuses, the Nebraska legislature operates under a unique political reality that allows coalitions to form issue by issue, typically based on government philosophy, geographic background, and constituency. Although the legislature consists of thirty-five Republicans, thirteen Democrats, and one independent, only eight members regularly vote the party line. The parties in Nebraska have less control over legislators then they do in most states. That lack of party control, for example, means that the Governor of Nebraska must reach out to individual members for support when he wants to advance an agenda. The interest level, demand for change, and time spent discussing an issue is set by the individual members of the legislature without regard for an official party stance. Members are independent trustees empowered to make their own decisions, and work out differences with other members on behalf of their constituents.