Tag Archives: responsiveness

Party v. Public Opinion: The Remnants of a Politics Past

These days when a partisan official chooses to break with the party to represent the interests of his constituents it really is news. Last week, Merv Riepe, a Republican State Senator in Nebraska cast the vote that blocked the passage of a near-total abortion ban in the state. According to the Washington Post, a recent poll of Nebraskans found “54 percent of people in Nebraska believed abortion should be legal in most or all cases” while “[j]ust 11 percent said all abortions should be banned.” The Washington Post suggests “Riepe’s vote reflects a growing realization among some Republicans that staking out extreme positions on abortion might be politically perilous.” It is possible, but it is more likely that it is a quirk, the remnants of a politics past–the vote of an 80-year legislator who keeps a small trinket “Do hard things” and represents a swing district in Nebraska.

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