Is a Nebraska Democrat different from a national Democrat?
This is part three in Nebraska Radio Network’s series produced in collaboration with HuffPost.
Nebraska Democratic chair Jane Kleeb says a clear difference is on the issue of abortion. Kleeb says she has worked to welcome pro-life rural residents.
“They knew that I stood with them on so many of the fundamental issues and values that they held that it was okay for us to talk about that issue and disagree, because we had a relationship and they knew that I had their back,” Kleeb tells Nebraska Radio Network and HuffPost. “And, as Democrats, we have not done that enough in rural Nebraska.”
Kleeb says common threads run through Nebraska Democrats. She says Nebraska Democrats support the development of clean energy in an effort to reduce climate change, they support public education, they support unions, and they support access to health care.
Kleeb, who supports abortion rights, says she will always welcome Democrats who disagree with her on that issue.
The difference between Nebraska Democrats and national Democratic leaders might go deeper than that suggests University of Nebraska – Omaha political science professor Paul Landow. Landow, former executive director of the party, says Nebraska Democrats are family-oriented and rural in nature.
“Nebraska Democrats may not be all that much different than
Democrats everywhere else, but in the broad spectrum, they’re more conservative and they’re more Nebraska-like,” according to Landow.
Nebraska-like carries a vulnerability in the idealism of Midwesterners, according to Attorney Dave Domina.
“That permits them to be seduced by political divisions more easily than maybe people on the coasts. That may be the biggest difference,” according to Domina. “And so, they have to overcome that vulnerability.”
Domina, who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for United States Senate in 2014, says it is true that people who live in the Midwest think a little differently than those who live on the coasts.
On Monday, is Jane Kleeb the right person to lead Nebraska Democrats?
Eliot Nelson of HuffPost contributed to this article.
Click here for part one: Will fight against Keystone XL lead to victories for Democrats in 2018?
Click here for part two: Omaha political rally reveals split among Nebraska Democrats.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:10]