Picks ‘n pans: The GOP is no longer a party, it’s a cult

DEAR READERS: You have every right to say I’m just one man expressing his opinion and nobody appointed me arbiter of issues and candidates for the Nov. 8 general election. However, I do attend most if not all meetings of local candidates, and as a political junkie, follow the issues. Furthermore, we now live in a news desert, so someone has to express an opinion. Feel free to send Townbroadcast a Letter to the Editor to add yours.

Mark Ludwig
Dr. Kimberly Barrington

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s finest moment was in 2012 when she was running for the seat occupied by Republican Scott Brown. While her supporters were making unsupported claims about Brown’s character, she told them she had no doubt he is a fine man, a good husband, a good father and a good citizen. But, she said, “It’s how he votes.”

So many candidates these days try to paint a picture of an opponent as Attila the Hun and pander to fear mongering.

That said, I want to make it clear if have a lot of respect for 43rd District State Rep. candidate Rachelle Smit. I have watched and listened to her up close at Martin Township Board meetings now for more than six years. She impresses me as a good wife, good mother, good citizen. However, I cannot support her bid because of “how she votes.”
Ms. Smit actively sought and captured the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, whom I believe was at the center of a disgraceful and seditious attempt to overthrow the United States government. The evidence is overwhelming. Without Trump, we wouldn’t have had to endure the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Angela Rigas, who also actively sought and trumpeted Trump’s support, is guilty of the same offense in her campaign in the House 79th District. I don’t know a great deal about Rigas personally, but I don’t need to know much more than she is willing to throw our republic under the bus if it helps get her elected.

Over the past seven years, the GOP has ceased to be a political party and has deteriorated into the depths of a cult that worships at the feet of Trump. Those who don’t march in lockstep with him risk being tossed aside by his fanatical supporters in primary elections. Consider former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who voted with him 92 percent of the time. Consider former Congressman Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids.

Both were removed from office because they had the temerity to disagree with the cult leader, whose toxic influence continues to plague the Republican Party.

Ms. Smit rightfully has called attention to her strong ties to farming as an asset, but we must not ignore the fact that her opponent, Mark Ludwig of Fennville, has even better credentials in the agricultural field. Ludwig once wrote a thoughtful column in Townbroadcast about area farmers’ challenges.

Kim Jorgensen Gane
Kai DeGraaf

I don’t know a lot about the opponents of Rigas, State Senator Aric Nesbitt, and senate candidate former State Rep. Tom Albert, but I don’t need to. I have given up on voting for any Republican for anything as long as the GOP stands with a celebrity who led a treasonous insurrection.

In bygone years, I used to split my ticket, usually voting for Republicans closer to home because I knew and grew to appreciate them. Today, they are trashed as “RHINOS,” (Republicans in name only). I miss them because they didn’t go along to get along with the likes of Trump, Q-Anon, right-wing whackos, the MAGA crowd and people with bat guano crazy opinions based on fear rather than evidence.

Therefore, besides Ludwig, I also support the candidacies Kim Jorgensen Gane against Nesbit, Kai DeGraaf against Albert, and Dr. Kimberly Barrington vs. Rigas.

The way I see it, the stakes are the preservation of our republic, saving it from attempts to have it fall into autocracy.


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