I have a business in Au Gres. 85% of the people I vote for are Republican. Locally I vote more for the person than the party. From this article you sound more like a Republican than a Democrat. Think I need to know more about you. What do you plan on doing to help the 97th District?
That was a comment on one of Dr. Townsend’s blog posts. It raises a good question, is he a Republican or a Democrat. If you can’t tell, look at the positions. Small business, Education (both trade and college bound), Pro Second Amendment, Criminal Justice Reform, Healthcare, Pro Choice. A Representative must represent all the people in a district, not a party. Is it truly necessary to shoehorn them into a party label, or should you look at them from a standpoint of shared values? Do they have to agree with you on every position? Are you a one issue voter?
Republicans are Supporting Robert Townsend
Dr. Robert Townsend is running as a Democrat for the Michigan House of Representatives. But why are Republicans such as Bill Barnett, former 3 term Mayor of Cadillac, and Brian Johnson- former Republican candidate for the 97th endorsing him? The answer is that Dr. Townsend is an Independent Thinker with positions that appeal to many Republicans. He is conservative, has the same rating from the NRA as the Republican Candidate, and does not support more government than we need to be efficient. He is funded from within the 97th District and answers ONLY to the 97th District.
Robert Townsend also won the democratic primary with over 60% of the vote in most counties, a clear majority that demonstrates he is their choice for the District. Over 60% of Republicans supported someone other than the current Republican candidate. Many are wondering why the DeVos Family of Grand Rapids didn’t support THEIR candidate, why they selected another and gave them an overwhelming financial advantage in the race. Republicans that supported Link, Johnson, or Gilmore are wondering if the results of the primary were decided months ago in Grand Rapids, and if their votes really counted on August 2nd. They want to make sure their votes count in November. As a result they are looking at BOTH candidates and supporting the one whose positions they agree with and will support the 97th District in Lansing, rather than be a pawn in a political game for the super rich.
Most people identify with a political party in general. Cleary some people vote ‘straight ticket’ and are known to say ‘I like your positions, but I could never vote for a Democrat’, but most voters cast their ballot for the candidate rather than the party. I think many people are tired of the party politics- politicians seem to live in their own world and on the state and national levels we seem to see quite a bit of block voting for what is best for the ‘party’ rather than what is best for the people they represent. The rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, politicians who refused to accept ‘business as usual’ and promoted independent thinking and change was the response at the polls this year. They want free thinkers, and in the 97th, that is how Dr. Robert Townsend is described.
One example of party politics is the recent changes in the Voter Initiatives which took petitions signed by more than 500,000 Michigan residents off the ballot this November. It does not matter how you feel about marijuana or fracking, there were petitions being circulated to let you make your voice heard. Powerful people didn’t want to give you that choice, and with party based block voting they made sure you didn’t have it. They used their money and influence to make your choices for you, just as their interests in charter schools, right to work, and the defeat of the guarantee to collective bargaining have been taken out of your hands. Now these same people are trying to determine your Representative in Lansing.
In party politics we are dealing with blocks in the Legislature. The Republican/Democrat issue becomes a numbers game, which is why we are seeing people like the DeVos family pouring money into local races to add a rep to their voting block. But an independent representing the District, not the party block, can make a difference. Take the Second Amendment stand held by both candidates in the 97th- it is essentially identical. There is no need to ‘vote Republican’ to protect your gun rights. In fact, if you do, it will simply be another voice in a chorus of voices in the Republican Block. Just blends in with the murmur of the crowd. Contrast this to sending a Democrat to Lansing with those same Second Amendment values. That is the voice in the Democratic Party that rises above the murmur of the crowd to ask the question and make the point. With Robert Townsend, that voice will come from the 97th.
Dr. Robert Townsend’s Support
Dr. Robert Townsend has the support of his party, but does not have a ‘party machine’ behind him. There are no out of town ‘Kingmakers’ stacking the deck in his favor. His support comes from his neighbors, family, and patients- the voters of the 97th District. His loyalties are with the 97th District, not a party agenda or outside influence. If you supported Jacob Link, or Brian Johnson, or George Gilmore, ask yourself what you liked about ‘your’ candidate, and why didn’t the DeVos/Republican Kingmakers want to see your man in Lansing? Look at Dr. Townsend, and see if you see some of those same qualities- loyalty to the district, free thinking, and independent decision making, vote for the candidate, not the party. No amount of outside money can ‘make’ your voting decision for you…