So You Support Donald Trump…
Many political candidates use databases to identify possible voters and guide them as they go door to door. My campaign- Robert Townsend for 97, does not use that strategy because I am running for all the district, not just members of one party. So I just start at one end of the block and work down to the other, hitting every house along the way. I even stop at the houses that have ‘TRUMP’ signs in the front yard. Surprisingly, like at most houses, I’m greeted by name… Many in the 97th know me, as patients, as relatives, or through our kid’s sports.
That gets me in the door with the Trump supporters. They like my ideas (which have little in common with Trump), and they like the fact I’m pro Second Amendment. But they won’t vote for me because I am running as a Democrat. I need support from EVERYONE in the 97th to win, so I thought about this and may have figured out the answer.
What do you like about Trump?
Many people claim they like maverick businessman Donald Trump because he ‘says it like it is’ and doesn’t bow down to special interests. He bucked his own party, and won. His opponent is a ‘political machine’ candidate. We talk about the campaign for the 97th, my positions, and the next thing you know there is a Townsend for the House sign in their yard. Why is that?
Debate is the Basis of Democracy
I don’t agree with many things Donald Trump says, in fact, I disagree with nearly all of them. For example, while I agree with proper vetting of people that want to come to the US, the idea of building a Berlin Wall style barrier on our border strikes me as very poorly conceived, expensive and doesn’t address the root problem. But I am not going to call you stupid if you like the idea. You aren’t stupid, or deplorable, or necessarily even racist. I can respect you and still disagree. We can debate it, and vote on it in the fall. But I and a lot of other people (maybe even YOU) wore a uniform to defend your right to an opinion. I can have one too, yet we can still respect each other. We’ll agree on vetting, but we will disagree on the wall.
I was an unexpected entrant into the race for the 97th. There were 5 Republicans and some of the local democratic parties ‘recruited’ a candidate to run against them, but didn’t announce it. I showed up at one of the meetings and said I filed and was going to run. That ‘irritated’ them and they refused to support me, to the point of refusing to let me speak at their events, they wouldn’t list me on their website as a candidate, wouldn’t let me march in their parades or sit at their booth at the fair.
Just prior to the election, they launched a smear campaign against me. Despite that, I beat their candidate in the primary, and beat him badly. Despite being told by the state party they will now support the elected candidate, they still refuse to do much of anything to back me, and several of their members actually work to undermine my campaign.
To this day, the candidate I beat by 20-30 points has yet to concede the primary election or offer public support, though one of the Republican candidates did endorse me over his party’s choice. They are putting out statements to the effect of their guy wasn’t nasty enough, the voters didn’t know what they were doing, or that if more people had voted their guy would have won. Typical sour grapes. I don’t back down to people like that, and won’t in Lansing either.
Speaking My Mind
I have positions that matter to the 97th. When asked about things of interest to the voters, I look into them, learn about them, and develop positions. I have opinions and speak my mind on the issues. I’ve addressed abortion, common core, gun rights, the Michigan Economy, and I even addressed their smear campaign prior to the primary so voters could make an informed choice. I continue to address issues while my opponent puts up pictures of his family and of blogs he was ‘present’ at events.
My goal in Lansing is to actually do something that matters, not move from one state job to a better state job. My medical practice, Denali Healthcare, has been an active advocate for the medical marijuana program, it has addressed pain management and addiction when no one else would. I’ve taken my lumps for that and learned some lessons, but I wasn’t beaten down as they hoped I would be, I am still there for my patients. There was a need, I recognized that need, and addressed it. I’ll continue that in Lansing. Not because I’ll gain financially, but because it needs to be done and I have the experience and judgement to do it.
My funding is from the 97th District. If nothing else, that means my priorities are here and my loyalty is with the 97th. I wasn’t selected by powerful people in my party to fill the seat, I saw the need and went for it on my own initiative. My opponent has taken tens of thousands of dollars from these special interests and is a ‘party machine’ candidate. One of the biggest concerns of the voters is a feeling their elected candidates don’t represent them, that they represent the special interests that made the huge contributions that got them elected to the office. If elected, I’ll represent the 97th, period.
A quick note about my former Republican opponent Brian Johnson. Following the primary Brian endorsed me over the Republican candidate. This was not sour grapes from a losing candidate, as they have attempted to spin it. Brian and I do not agree on everything, though we both share a strong independent theme. Brian endorsed me after long consideration because he had grown to know me during the campaign behind the scenes. He saw me as a caring, intelligent and reasonable person that considered the needs of others in making decisions, but saw I made those decisions based on my own research, logic and understanding of the question, not popular opinion.
He also saw I did not have the outside influence of special interests giving me my opinions (and by extension, telling me how to vote) in the form of massive campaign contributions- especially after seeing how those contributions affected the Republican Primary. So he crossed party lines to endorse me not as the Democratic Candidate, but as the BEST Candidate for the district despite some personal differences in approach and opinion.
For those of you that support Donald Trump. I’m not here to challenge your choice, or try to convince you to support Clinton- I’m pointing out the fact you can still vote for Robert Townsend in the 97th District. I am asking you to look into yourself and ask ‘What is it about Trump that I like’. I think, if you look, you will see many similarities between the presidential race and the race for the 97th (the Parties are just reversed). A maverick outsider against a political machine candidate. Real proposals vs generic feel good statements and images. An Independent Candidate that speaks his mind vs the special interest lobby.
I hope to have your vote for Robert Townsend for the 97th