Sasse, critic of GOP, says he’s ‘independent conservative’

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Sunday that neither his Republican Party nor the Democrats stand for “very much more than being anti” and that’s why he often thinks about becoming an independent.

“The main thing that the Democrats are for is being anti-Republican and anti-Trump, and the main thing Republicans are for is being anti-Democrat and anti-CNN. And neither of these things are really worth getting out of bed in the morning for,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The first-term senator, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, said he considers himself “an independent conservative who happens to caucus with the Republicans.”

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He said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was nonetheless “committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as we can try to reform it and get it back to being a party that’s about the universal dignity of all Americans and the First Amendment as the beating heart of American life. But right now, that’s not what the party talks about very much.”

Sasse said he would like both major parties “to be healthier and be competing to be better than the other one amongst a bunch of good ideas, instead of trying to be less bad than the other one.”

Neither party, he said, has “a long-term vision” for the future of the nation or is “very much more than being anti. And anti, or anti-anti or anti-anti-anti. It’s pretty boring stuff.

Asked when he last considered bolting the GOP and becoming an independent, Sasse said: “I probably think about it every morning when I wake up and I figure out, why am I flying away from Nebraska to go to D.C. this week? Are we going to get real stuff done?”

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