Election Reflections

As we stood in line to vote this week, the woman in front of us said there was one silver lining with the election being over. “I never thought I would be glad to see car commercials again,” she told Mike Wetzel, Sunrise Ford’s own TV star.

Yes, the nasty, divisive, repetitive ads are history. The outcome stunned half of the electorate, while Trump supporters were elated their candidate managed to win in what has become one of the biggest upsets in American history.

His victory most likely helped the down ballot Florida candidates—including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and newcomer Brian Mast, who took over the Treasure Coast congressional seat held by Patrick Murphy.  Mast, especially, was closely allied with Trump. Rubio, who indirectly questioned the size of Trump’s penis during the primary debates, has also pledged his support to Trump.

Those Republican victories could directly affect the Treasure Coast, especially when it comes to our fragile waterways. Rubio, who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Sugar, refuses to support a proposal to buy 60,000 acres of Big Sugar property to use to divert polluted Lake Okeechobee water through the Everglades. The plan, now being pushed by State Senator Joe Negron, needs federal approval and funding to pay for half of the $2.4 billion project.

Rubio defeated Democrat Patrick Murphy, a big proponent of cleaning up the lagoon, who pushed hard for it while serving as our congressman. Mast has said he will support the cleanup, but as a Congressional newcomer, one wonders how much clout he will have. Furthermore, Mast has said he strongly supports Trump and his policies. Trump has promised to cut federal regulations in half and I assume that includes environmental restrictions that now protect our rivers, lakes and streams. Trump touted  one of his first acts in office will be to repeal President Obama’s climate change initiatives—a signal that Trump will not be known as an environmental champion.

During her campaign, Hillary Clinton dispatched Carol Browner to the Treasure Coast to get a firsthand look at the algae that was choking the St. Lucie estuary. Browner, a University of Florida graduate, is the longest serving administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and well known for her common sense approach to solving environmental problems. No doubt, she would have had a major role in a Clinton administration, but I guarantee she won’t be on Trump’s short list for political appointees.

The struggling lagoon did not seem to affect local elections either. Gayle Harrell, the Stuart Republican, kept her state representative seat, defeating Democrat Crystal Lucas whose campaign centered on the river cleanup.

Trump pledged to bring back jobs, helping small business owners who feel disenfranchised. But the small business owners along the Treasure Coast—fishing charters, kayak franchises, hotels, restaurants, and real estate agencies—who depend on a clean Indian River for their livelihood may feel shortchanged this election cycle.

Many say they are just taking a “wait and see” attitude towards what happens next. As a political junkie myself, here are some suggestions on getting over the post election hangover.

First, turn off CNN, FOX and MSNBC. Watch some classic movies or catch up on some of the new shows on TV. Better yet, go to a movie theater and zone out for a few hours. Avoid the political rants on Facebook. Pick up a trashy novel instead. Listen to calming music while driving. No more talk radio on your AM dial. The weather is beautiful now. Go for a walk on the beach. Take a friend to lunch. Volunteer at a non-profit.

Thanksgiving will be here soon enough and you can begin the political rehashing around the dinner table then. In the meantime, enjoy the return of all of those TV car commercials—especially those from Sunrise Ford. Mike Wetzel promises no negative badmouthing from us.