It's the opinion of this NORTHERN voter that much of Northern Michigan remains conservative - but in an independent sort of way. The independent Northern voters find things in both Partys that appeal to them - that's why they can re-elect a Democrat from 1993-2010 and then elect a Tea-Publican in 2010. There isn't even a real sense of who we are or what actually constitutes a Northern voter's interests. Northern Michigan is a "region", not simply a couple of peninsulas. The downstate and out of state interests push their brands here and flood Northern media into households without even trying to understand - to know- what the North is all about. This why some things don't fly with voters up here.
The trick going forward, in my opinion, will be to identify "Michigan's True North", give voters a sense of belonging that they don't already have, analyze Northern politics from a deep down approach, propose a "yes WE can" campaign that emphasizes how the broadest population can benefit from a Democratic Representative vs an "owned" Republican extremist whose affectioante funding is more "southern" in orientation.
There needs to be intense investment in education in the Northern Region - not where colleges already exist but on high school campuses in RURAL areas. Tip O'Neil said it ... " all politics are local". When you save our RURAL post offices and bring public/private community colleges into the country - that's local.
There's nothing "community" about a community college if it's in someone else's community.
I spoke to a distinguished educator 2 YEARS ago who had just returned from CHINA. He said that the Central Government there just ordered 1,000 new colleges to be opened !
Government is part of OUR solution and this can happen here too. The question I would ask is if your government isn't working for you - LOCALLY - then who is it working for ?
I've met one man who has a sense of these things, an understanding that transcends the covetted politics of the national partys in an independent region - Derek Bailey. He leads from the front, builds coalitions, seeks common ground, informs, educates and has a record of accomplishments. He is ... " True North".