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Finley: Here's the hope for GOP's future

Jonathan Lindsey is running for the state Senate in Michigan. He’s a Republican. And he’s endorsed by Donald Trump.

If you think you know who Lindsey is based on that description, you’re wrong.

The Hillsdale County resident is also a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a degree in political science. Instead of cashing in on his Ivy League diploma, Lindsey joined the Army Special Forces after graduation.

The Green Beret served a combat tour in Afghanistan, and two more in Middle East locales he can’t disclose. He’s the son of a farmer and truck driver, and son-in-law of one of the nation’s most influential economists. And he’s a father of two who is determined to leave his children a better world.

What he’s not is a semi-fascist, as Joe Biden contends. And he’s definitely not a threat to democracy, as fear-mongering Democrats have labeled anyone running under the Republican banner this year.

“It does frustrate me because I love my country, I served my country, and I really want a positive future for my country and state,” Lindsey says. “When they say they’re worried about the future, well I’m worried about the future, too. My children are 6 and 4, and I worry about them being able to grow up and live in a free and prosperous country.”

He hears the claim that he and his fellow GOP candidates are the biggest threat to democracy, and shrugs it off.

“The rhetoric doesn’t have much to do with reality,” Lindsey says. “It sells well to say the other side is fascist. I don’t believe even they think that is true.”

Obviously not, or Democrats wouldn’t be spending so much money to get Trump-backed candidates nominated in GOP primaries, thinking they’ll be easier to beat in November. If they were so frightened for democracy, they wouldn’t take that risk.

Lindsey, 37, says he’s grateful for Trump’s endorsement, which helped him beat incumbent GOP Sen. Kim LaSata in the primary. He takes the position of many Republicans. He’s focused on the things Trump got done as president, and not so much his antics.

“A lot of the conversation about Trump is wrapped up in his personality,” he says. “This was a guy who cut taxes, reduced regulation, enacted criminal justice reform. He was the first president who made a really strong movement for getting us out of foreign entanglements. I look at Trump more from a policy standpoint. These are not the policies of a tyrant or a dictator."

Lindsey’s wife, Allison, is the daughter of Arthur Laffer, an economic adviser to Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan, including Trump, and author of the Laffer Curve. He could easily fit into the mold of an “establishment” Republican, but has managed to maintain the outsider brand cherished by today’s GOP voters.

As for the 2020 election, he is not a denier. But he does believe more should have been done before and after the balloting to ensure its integrity and maintain the confidence of the voters.

“People are saying it’s an existential threat to our country to bring forth an argument about the Constitution,” Lindsey says. “That you are a threat to our country, and saying that kind of argument should be criminalized. The attitude is that if someone disagrees with me, they’re not just wrong, they’re destructive to the nation. I think it’s pretty unhealthy.”

In Afghanistan, Lindsey risked his life to ensure that country’s people could cast their votes free from intimidation. He says the priority was to convince the electorate the election was fair and honest, and believes that should have been the case in America.

“If the 2020 election was all on the up and up, the way you convey that is not to shut down conversation,” he says. “A thorough look at the concerns that had the force of law behind it would have helped. It’s healthy to scrutinize.

“If this trajectory continues, if a large group of voters don’t believe in our elections, that’s a terminal condition for our self-governing country.”

That doesn’t sound like the ruminations of a semi-fascist. It sounds like someone steeped in the values of duty, honor, country.

I’ve been worried about the future of the GOP in Michigan. But if there are a whole lot more young Republicans out there like Jonathan Lindsey, I think it may be OK.

Twitter: @NolanFinleyDN

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Watch Finley on DPTV’s “One Detroit” at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.