To the Editor:

Democrats and Republicans running for office seem to take pains to be silent about their affiliation. Case in point is the three-way legislative race in Brunswick’s House District 66.

Though Fred Horch clearly identifies himself on his palm card as a Green-Independent, the palm cards of both the Democratic and Republican candidates say nary a word about their parties. Yet the palm card is the signature means of communicating with the voter.

Are they ashamed to acknowledge the connection? Do they figure it’s best not to admit it for it may cost them votes? The shame and fear are understandable, I suppose, since both parties have not exactly covered themselves with glory in recent times.

But there is a severe downside to this, certainly from the vantage point of the voter as well as for accountable government. Once in office, the winner becomes part of the party’s legislative caucus. This is where priorities are set, party strategy is decided and conformity to what is decided is assumed and required.

So you are not really voting for the person but for the party. The caucus is run from the top, its leaders are the power brokers and you as a Democratic or Republican legislator are expected to “run in harness.”

The voter is beguiled and — to put the appropriate word on it — manipulated. Nor is this a transparent way to achieve accountability. The candidate can promise anything in the campaign, but the reality is the candidate’s conformity to what the caucus of the party in office decides.

With Fred Horch, you do better. He is clear about his party affiliation. He does not hide it and is proud of it. The Greens have no power structure in current office. Greens are well known for opposing hierarchy and conformity. Once in office, Fred is positioned to act on what he says in his campaign.

As we know, truth in packaging is absolutely important in making wise choices.

John Rensenbrink
Topsham