By Greg Jackson
No matter how many celebrities come out. No matter how many millions of dollars are spent. No matter the negative press. No matter how funny some of you may find the late night monologues to be, it appears that the "referendum" on the current President of the United States is nothing more than a mythical, half-hearted battle cry that has failed to yield the results expected. Even more interesting is that on the local level of campaigns, many folks have adopted this strategy of denouncing the president in hopes of getting congresspersons, state legislators, county elected officials, dog catchers, etc., elected. Don't get me wrong, I also have issues with the POTUS, as I have with others in the past, but I believe the strategy of blame Trump for everything is very ineffective.
Case-and-point, the now infamous "Georgia 6" congressional race, where one party put up the former Georgia Secretary of State and the other party put up a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide. Tens of millions of dollars were donated to the filmmaker, along with high profile celebrity endorsements and the "referendum" battle cry. Every news station was tuned in to give Election Day results; and heck, I even believe one news source made a "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" Chicago-Daily-Tribune-type-mistake and announced the 30-year-old filmmaker as the newly elected congressman for Congressional District 6. However, it all panned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking, a fairy-tale ending that was not meant to happen.
It would appear that much of America is nothing like Orange County where big, outside dollars, are allowed to come into influence key elections, or where people are enamored with celebrity endorsements or being brought to the table for "show." With the exception of a few races, in every election cycle in Orange County we see unqualified, morally challenged individuals jump into a race. The only explanation for this is because even those persons feel that with the right amount of money, the right endorsement, the proper amount of time on television and the "referendum" battle cry, they too can become an elected official.
This idea of a "referendum" has put us in an unusual position of believing an entire political party can be dismantled just because we disagree with its members. It has also placed us in a dangerous position of accepting any idea just to oppose the thoughts or actions of an elected official. When did we sink to this level of acceptable fantasy in Orange County? When did it become okay for candidates to create their own reality and narrative about themselves without challenge? When did a single thought of opposition, versus working together, become the primary qualification to run for political office. When did outside money and ideologies become paramount to our own understanding of the needs of our community? Seeing as how this is becoming the acceptable trend in Orange County politics, perhaps you will do better to go-along-to-get-along and have faith that this strategy will work. Perhaps you too can adopt the idea that outside interests and ideas are superior to the needs of your own community. And perhaps, just perhaps, unicorns really do exist -- In my humble opinion.
Greg Jackson is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida, a military veteran, current Orange County District 2 Representative on the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and General Counsel for the Community Redevelopment Agency. He has been as an active member of the Central Florida community for nearly 20 years. He was most recently a candidate for the Florida House District 45 seat.