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Nebraska Politics

Nebraska Governor Needs a Civics Lesson

If this article by the Lincoln Journal Star is any indication, the Republican Party thinks that Nebraskans aren’t aware of the difference between a branch of government and a political party.

The governor, whomever she is, is the key figure in a branch of government. The 49 senators are a separate branch of government. The state Supreme Court is a branch of government. The three branches work with each other but not for each other. It is natural to have friction between the branches, and in fact, such friction is usually regarded as an indicator that the government is working correctly.

This means that when a governor pays for a ballot initiative to allow the government to kill people, or pays for campaigns in another branch of government, it’s ethically and legally different from a private citizen, interest group, or political party working in elections.

The comment below from the director of the Nebraska Republican Party as quoted by Lincoln Journal Star is absurd. The governor should not fund the campaigns of those he agrees with in order to push his policies forward. The donations undermine the separation of powers in Nebraska government. The legislature should not do anything on behalf or at request of the governor simply because it’s the governor’s priority unless they truly, as a body, feel that is best for Nebraska. Of course, all three branches should work together, but all three must remain independent of each other in governing. Our democracy depends on it.

“Zoeller said the governor should have a collaborative relationship with senators, especially with the unique unicameral Legislature — and that’s the type he has right now.
‘That relationship has to be a collaborative one because if any governor across the country wants to get anything done, they have to go through the Legislature to get his or her policies done,’ he said.”

Our governor is party over people and some might say self over party. He ousted several incumbents from his own party from their seats, such as Seiler and Davis. Senator Ebke, a political scientist,  and Senator Krist, a decorated military Veteran,  left the Republican political party because of the governor’s leadership style. Will 2018 bring election results that show Nebraska wants more from government than a puppet legislature and dictator governor? Time will tell.