Elections

2016 race makes me feel like a man 'without a party,' says longtime Democrat

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Find myself a person without a party: Bob Kerrey
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Bob Kerrey, Democratic elder statesman and Vietnam War hero, told CNBC on Wednesday he almost feels like a "person without a party" when he listens to some of the views espoused during this year's presidential race.

"I find myself sort of struggling, trying to figure out which party I'm in," said Kerrey, former U.S. senator and ex-governor from Nebraska. A recipient of the Medal of Honor, he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.

"I find myself almost a person without a party," the 72-year-old Kerrey said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

"I align with the Democrats on social issues," he said. "I align with Republicans on economic issues. I worry about national security, and I'm aligned typically with Republicans there. I'm concerned about the environment and align with Democrats on that issue."

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Despite his conservative-leaning tendencies on certain issues, Kerrey is supporting Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who claimed victory in Tuesday's close Kentucky primary. Democratic rival Bernie Sanders prevailed in Oregon.

Sanders won Nebraska's primary in March, while presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump won on the Republican side.

Kerrey said he's troubled by the anti-free trade sentiments expressed by presidential candidates on both sides. But he added it's key for Democrats and Republicans to agree on a plan to boost the economy.

Blaming partisan gridlock on the power of social media, Kerrey said: "One of the most dangerous forces in democracy is [uninformed] public opinion."

"It's not so much the country is polarized. It's easy to move the public with social media," he said. "It means a small number of people can leverage opposition and terrify politicians into doing nothing."