Christie: Voters questioning Florida’s closed primary elections — again

Even municipal elections, which are non-party races, can be affected by closed primaries on the same ballot. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

It never fails.

Every Florida primary election, thousands of voters from Milton to Marathon vent frustration about heading to the polls (or filling out a mail-in ballot) and once again not being able to vote for the major party candidate.

I understand their frustration. As a registered independent or No Party Affiliation (NPA) voter myself, it’s a little rough feeling like a player who keeps getting left out of the game. But that’s the system we all signed up for here in the Sunshine State.

Florida is one of just 11 states that have strictly “closed primaries” — that is, primaries in which only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary, and only registered Democrats in the Democratic primary.

A growing number of Floridians believe state lawmakers should think seriously about joining the 11 states that allow open primaries, in which any voter can cast a ballot in either party’s primary. Or the 24 states that have a mix of rules, with some allowing voters to cross party lines to vote, others that allow unaffiliated voters to participate.

RELATED: Primary election day should be independents’ day as well

Thought Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam would be the best gubernatorial candidate for the Republican Party? Tough.

Thought former Congresswoman Gwen Graham would be the best standard-bearer for the Democrats in the same gubernatorial contest? Too bad.

Or how about voting for your choice of which Democrat or Republican would best represent you in the state House or Senate? Sorry, you’ll have to wait until November.

Not surprising then that an increasing number of Florida voters are losing patience with this current “closed” system that shuts out some 27 percent of registered voters — read that, taxpayers.

That’s more than a quarter of Florida voters who are now choosing to identify as NPA. Why? Because they are tired of major party politics that produce lawmakers doing a poor job of lawmaking. And that’s a trend that many political observers say needs to be addressed.

A small crowd of voters streams into the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office on S. Military Trail in West Palm Beach as the doors open for early voting. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A couple other factors: the number of registered voters, both Democrat and Republican, who regularly cross party lines during general elections; and the remaining “Dixiecrats” in the state who haven’t voted for a Democrat since Harry S. Truman but don’t bother to change their party affiliation.

Post readers have weighed in this over the past couple of weeks.

From Allen Smith of Port St. Lucie:

Open primaries can lead to shenanigans

In a situation where one party has an incumbent running while the other party has four or five folks contending for the right to represent their party, it is possible and very likely that people registered with the established candidate’s party will cross over and vote for the least likely candidate of the opposing party.

In Michigan, where there are open primaries, this cross-party voting has taken place on numerous occasions; when there are a number of candidates running for a position, just a few votes can make the difference in who wins the opportunity to represent the party.

By swaying the election in the primary, the opposing party can assure victory in the general election. This is called political shenanigans and has prevented many good candidates from being the choice of their own party…

From Ann Malachowski of Tequesta:

Primaries should be open to all

I felt the pain of the letter writer who attempted to vote in the recently held primaries. I also attempted to vote 20 years ago, as a newly transplanted Florida resident, as an independent. Such an archaic, nonsensical law.

There is good news, however. The organization Florida Fair and Open Primaries is trying to add a constitutional amendment to the election ballot to change Florida primary elections from a closed political party system to a voter-nominated top-two open primary system.

I suggest that you look them up sign their petition then get everyone you know to do the same.

From Wayne Whitson of Lake Clarke Shores:

Nonpartisans should not get say in primary

I highly disagree with the letter “NPA voters shut out of primaries” (Tuesday).

Primary elections are “partisan business matters” conducted by the members of Republican and Democratic parties. This is how the main political parties select their slate of candidates for a general election.

If you choose not to be a member of either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, why do you feel entitled to vote in Republican or Democratic primary elections?

Using religion as an example, why should a rabbi or ordained minister (of any faith) be allowed to have a say as to who will become the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church? The obvious answer is: They can’t; they’re not members of the Roman Catholic Church…

And from Leslie Shenkel of Greenacres:

Independent, non-affiliated should not vote in primaries

Many independents and many non-affiliated voters feel they should have the right to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries. Let me tell them why they don’t and shouldn’t have.

These two organizations are semi-private clubs. Anyone can join the club, but you have to join. I live in Palm Beach County. I can not vote in Miami-Dade County. If I wanted to vote in Miami-Dade, I just have to move to Miami-Dade. No one could stop me, but I would have to move.

Move to where you want to vote. New York, California, Florida, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade or Democratic Party or Republican Party.

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Clearly, this debate isn’t going away.

The two major parties are not going to do anything that dilutes their power and influence. But why should they? As mentioned above, opening their primary makes the process susceptible to bad actors.

Still, as the rolls of NPA voters continues to grow, so do their own power and influence — especially as taxpayers.

And it gets harder for state lawmakers to ignore the cries of, “I want in!”

Tell us what you think by taking our poll, and leaving a comment here.

Christie: 2018 election: Florida’s environment don’t get no respect, no respect at all

Although Florida’s economy is heavily dependent on the environment, most political candidates are loathe to put, and keep those issues out front during a campaign.

The state’s environment could use a little more respect from political candidates this election season.

For the past several weeks, candidates have been trying to figure what issues are most important to voters. With some individual races as tight as they are, every hopeful running — be it for county commission or state senate — knows hitting on that one topic that resonates with voters can move the needle just enough to eke out a win. (Well, that and spending a lot of money on the campaign in the last couple weeks.)

RELATED: Post endorsements for the 2018 primary elections

But what are those hot-button voter issues?

Is it education? We do have a flashpoint issue in school security. There’s is also the much bigger issue of our K-12 public schools being in the bottom fifth in the nation. And Florida’s horrendous teacher pay has actually resulted in a shortage of about 4,000 teachers statewide to begin the 2018-19 school year.

Is it the economy? We do have this issue that, despite all the jobs created the last several years, too many residents complain they need two or three of them to make ends meet. That’s what happens when most of the jobs created are minimum wage. Meanwhile, the cost of housing is going through the roof in many places like, well, Palm Beach County.

Is it the environment? Or as I call it, “the Rodney Dangerfield of primary ballot issues.” Voters are witnessing a red tide causing massive fish kills, and manatee and turtle deaths up and down the Southwest Florida coast. They are watching the ongoing green goo affectionately known as “toxic blue-green algae” find its way into the backyard waterways of Treasure Coast residents. And of course, there’s that long-term, existential threat to our very way of life that everyone fears but few want to talk about: sea level rise. (That’s right, I said it.)

RELATED: The Environmental Issues Facing Florida This Election Season

In a survey released by the USA Today Network and Florida Atlantic University in June, voters said the environment was their No. 3 concern after economy and school safety, respectively. But unlike these first two, environmental issues cannot seem to get and/or maintain traction on the campaign trail.

How can that be, one might ask, when dead manatees are floating into marinas? How can that be when water is submerging roads and parks during King tides? And how can that be when several Martin County beaches — Jensen, Stuart, Bathtub and Hobe Sound  — are the latest to close as blue-green algae and red tide continue to spread throughout the state of Florida.

Venting on social media by irate residents about red tide and blue-green algae has gotten so bad that law enforcement is on edge.

A 250-pound Goliath grouper floats in the water in Sanibel, where red tide is killing millions of fish in Sanibel. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

And on August 13, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency over the ongoing toxic red tide bloom.

“The red tide, which grows offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, has drifted toward the coast and is being blamed for killing scores of animals, including manatees, turtles, and thousands of fish,” reported Palm Beach Post staff writer Kimberly Miller.

But around that same time, when he had the opportunity to confront Treasure Coast residents about the blue-green goo that’s ruining their fishing and boating, Scott elected to do the equivalent of a boating flyover — leaving residents and their questions hanging.

Algae in the Caloosahatchee River beside the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam in Alva, Fla. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The governor-turned-U.S. Senate candidate isn’t much different from his political brethren on this front; though most can seem to muster a bit more face-to-face compassion. Still, when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phillip Levine tried to ride his sea-level-rise street cred to the top of the ticket, it didn’t work that well. Sure, voters like that stuff. But who can focus on an environmental threat when another candidate is accusing you of being a supporter of President Donald Trump, and guns are blazing at high school football games?

As a result, the environment gets pushed to the back-burner in a state that built its image off of sunshine and beautiful beaches. The state’s three-legged economy — tourism, agriculture and real estate — is so dependent on the environment that every storm season holds the potential to lay waste to all three. Witness: Hurricane Irma.

But so short is our attention span in this era of breaking news that environmental issues, even when they are staring us in the face daily — again, I mention toxic red tide and green algae — can’t keep a politician’s attention. Today, for example, in the wake of a mass shooting at a gaming tournament on Sunday in Jacksonville, gun control is the topic du jour.

Sigh… maybe it will be different in the general election campaign.

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What do you think?… Should the environment be a higher priority for Florida politicians?

Take our poll, and leave a comment.

Christie: Follow the money in heated West Palm Beach commission race

Christina Lambert, who won the West Palm Beach City Commission District 5 seat in March, poses for photo with Mayor Jeri Muoio and other supporters. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

It’s been nearly three months since challenger Christina Lambert unseated West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio by a mere 183 votes in a heated, and increasingly controversial race.

The city hadn’t seen the likes of this kind of nastiness since Mayor Jeri Muoio defeated former Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell in a knockdown, drag-out, no-holds-barred mayoral brawl back in 2015.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Ex-West Palm commissioner: Foe’s consultant hid election contributors

And Materio is back for Round 2. According to the Post’s Tony Doris, she has filed three complaints with the Florida Elections Commission alleging that three shell companies were created to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for political purposes without declaring themselves political organizations — which are required to identify contributors.

The political purpose? Electing Lambert.

The contributors? Voters don’t know. But shouldn’t they, for the sake of transparency?

The proposed One Flagler tower was rejected by the West Palm Beach City Commission last September by a vote of 3-2.

Lambert, a newcomer with business community ties, managed to knock off the more seasoned Materio mainly because she had the money. She also had in her corner Rick Asnani, one of the county’s top political consultants.

That’s all good. Lambert won the seat, and is ensconced on the commission. Ready to vote, among other things, on a rejuvenated plan to create the Okeechobee Business District (OBD). Yep, the same OBD that would allow the construction of the 25-story One Flagler office building pretty much on Flagler Drive.

That’s not all good. A number of city residents — vocal city residents — don’t like the idea of building the tower on an already traffic-clogged Okeechobee Boulevard. They especially don’t like the fact that the issue seemed dead after it was defeated when it came before the commission in September.

But what a difference an election makes.

RELATED: West Palm: Lambert narrowly beats Materio; Shoaf wins District 1

Shanon Materio, former West Palm Beach city commissioner.

Materio has been accused of some stuff too.

“Ms. Materio used a campaign committee that was established in the month of February 2018, just one month before the election, and ran $23,000 in donations through the entity to help her campaign while hiding the donors,” Asnani told the Post. “Prior to that, Materio used a different political committee to send out a mailing that is being investigated by the Florida Elections Commission for potential illegal donations.”

Political operative Bill Newgent, for his part, filed complaints about a series of alleged misfilings and a missed deadline regarding Materio’s campaign documentation, Doris wrote.

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Election campaigns laws exist for a reason. The primary one being so that voters know who is influencing or attempting to influence candidates that are vying to represent constituents.

We know that transparency is a good thing… and “democracy dies in the darkness.”

But this long after the election, is there value in Materio’s insistence on knowing the names of the people or entities that contributed to those three mysterious shell companies created by Asnani?

Christie: Florida ban on greyhound racing could finally be going to the dogs

Florida voters look ready to ban greyhound racing by a supermajority vote, according to a new survey that shows the issue fares better at the polls if people identify the proposal with animal welfare instead of gambling. (Photo by David Spencer/The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: The Florida Constitution Revision Commission on Tuesday night gave preliminary approval to Proposal 67, which would phase out commercial greyhound racing in the state by 2020. The proposal will now go to the Style and Drafting Committee before returning to the full CRC for a final vote. If approved, it will appear on the November ballot.

Would Florida voters ban greyhound racing if a proposed constitutional amendment appeared on the November ballot?

According to a new survey released by animal rights group GREY2K USA, the answer is a solid “maybe” … that is, if the question focuses on animal welfare instead of anti-gambling.

RELATED: Poll: Florida voters favor Greyhound racing ban

The poll, which was shared and reported on by POLITICO Florida on Tuesday, showed a sampling of likely voters supported the measure, 65–27 percent. But POLITICO also reported that overall opposition remained flat. Support appeared to increase to about 70 percent after respondents were asked three questions in support and three questions in opposition to the proposed amendment.

The amendment, along with many others, is under consideration this week by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) to decide which proposals will go before voters this fall.

Of course, supporters of ending Florida’s controversial tradition of tying gambling (pari-mutuel wagering) to greyhound racing are heartened by the poll results. At the same, opponents — such as our own Palm Beach Kennel Club — are somewhat dismissive.

The two sides have been warring over the issue for years, as wagering on greyhound racing has been declining. But supporters of a ban have been out-maneuvered largely by the fact that 12 tracks still operating in the state are concerned about being shut out of other, more profitable forms of gambling — like card games and slots — if they lose the dogs.

RELATED: Editorial: Require injury reports for racing greyhounds

Efforts at “decoupling” the two issues, championed by lawmakers from Okaloosa to Palm Beach counties over the years have died during the legislative session as Florida struggles with its “gambling-versus-family” image.

But animal rights groups may have finally found a way to tip the scales in their favor. Everyday folks really do care passionately about dogs.

“Floridians are deeply concerned about the humane issues including confinement, greyhound deaths and injuries,” said Carey M. Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, told POLITICO Florida. “By contrast, roughly two-thirds of Florida voters are not moved at all by opposition arguments, including job claims. We gain support when it’s clear this is an animal welfare issue.”

Although commercial greyhound racing is banned in 40 states, Florida has been a particularly tough nut to crack with a majority of the nation’s 18 operational tracks located in the Sunshine State.

If the poll numbers hold up, the amendment would easily clear the 60 percent voter-approval threshold to become law in Florida.

Patrons at the Paddock Dining Room at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. (Photo by David Spencer/The Palm Beach Post)

That’s not likely to happen without a fight as breeders and kennel operators like Palm Beach Kennel Club, who insist that they take good care of their animals, call the proposed amendment a job-killer and “a backdoor way of expanding gambling” in the state.

The CRC, to avoid voters getting “ballot fatigue” from considering too many amendments, is also looking at combining disparate proposals on the ballot. This could be a good or bad thing depending on what the greyhound racing ban is coupled with, i.e. oil drilling, school board term limits or nursing homes.

Regardless, it’s looking as though voters will get a chance to vote on it. Take our poll here and tell us how you would vote:

Christie: PBC cities risk return of ‘Corruption County’ by shorting IG’s office

Palm Beach County Inspector General John A. Carey speaks with county commissioners before the start of a meeting at the Governmental Center in West Palm Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County’s Office of the Inspector General has to feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of local government.

They don’t get “no respect, no respect at all.”

Latest case in point: Despite documented success at ferreting out, and drawing attention to questionable government actions, county commissioners last month decided not to grant Inspector General John Carey’s budget request for $500,000 for additional staffers — part of a 10-person boost Carey wants over the next three years.

RELATED: Cities balk at idea of helping PB County pay for inspector general

This wasn’t some arbitrary request, mind you. The IG’s office, according to Carey, has questioned $24.7 million in costs, identified $21.9 million in potential cost savings and referred 119 cases to law enforcement, the county or Florida Commission on Ethics.

Not bad for a much-maligned agency that’s been under-funded, under-staffed and under-appreciated by many of the local elected officials it works for.

Remember that 15 of our 39 municipalities sued to keep from paying their share for running the IG’s office.

Remember also, that in response to a 2009 grand jury report citing repeated incidences by former members of the county and West Palm Beach city commissions — earning us the nickname “Corruption County” — 72 percent of voters in 2010 had had enough. They approved expanding the IG’s office to cover all then-38 municipalities, and to be funded by them.

By they way, that was a majority of voters in each and every municipality.

The will of the voters aside, however, 40 percent of the county’s cities didn’t like the idea of paying for someone to look over their shoulders. They should decide how their city’s money is spent; a rather compelling argument when budgets are tight.

That made for a protracted legal battle, which the cities eventually won in a December ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeal. The court determined that, “Notwithstanding the constitutional principle that ‘(a)ll political power is inherent in the people,’ voters may not waive a municipality’s sovereign immunity through a local referendum.”
No surprise that leaves the IG’s office in a rather tough spot. You see, it must by law provide oversight and conduct investigations not only in the county but in cities that don’t pay for its work.
Palm Beach Count Ethics Commissioner Sarah L. Shullman

County Ethics Commissioner Sarah L. Shullman told the Post’s Wayne Washington that the cities are being shortsighted in refusing to fund the office. She said that its basically contract review work, and even its fraud investigations can potentially save a city far more money than it would cost to contribute to the office’s budget.

Carey, meanwhile, is trying to stay above the fray and not bite the potential hands that might feed him.
He just wants the money for the additional staffing. “I’m trying to stay out of the argument between the cities and the county,” he said, but added that the office’s limited staffing “hurts our ability to serve the citizens of Palm Beach County, who voted overwhelmingly for our oversight. At the end of the day, I just hope we find a way to adequately fund the Office of the Inspector General.”
Yeah, good luck with that.
Carey did try to take his case to the public — albeit in an email to local media outlets the day before commissioners decided to accept County Administrator Verdenia Baker’s budget recommendation to hold off on the requested $500,000.
In a short, soft-spoken cover letter, he chided “friends and IG supporters” to:

  Please see the attached IG Update on our accomplishments to date and where we stand as a result of the end of the lawsuit over funding of your Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General.

  June marks my third year as your Inspector General.  Over the past three years, I have spoken to hundreds of business and community groups about what your Office of Inspector General is doing to guard taxpayer dollars and promote integrity, transparency and accountability in government.  If you have a group you would like me to speak to, please let me know.  I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to meet and speak with those I serve.

Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker said she seriously considered Carey’s request but decided that other staffing needs were more pressing. She also did not include funding for all of Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s request for new deputies. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Commissioners and Baker, who rightfully has her eye on a likely $25 million property tax revenue shortfall from a potential expansion of the homestead exemption next year, were moved, but not enough.
While some commissioners said they support the IG’s work, their hopes lie in the cities’ “voluntary” largesse.
“I think our recourse here is as clear as day,” Commissioner Hal Valeche said. “We need to go after the cities. They are getting a service and not paying for it, and that is not right. I don’t know how we apply leverage. We can shame the cities, which is my preferred course. You just don’t get something for nothing in this world.”
I’m not sure that the municipalities get that. They seem to be under the impression that they don’t need a corruption watchdog because we’re no longer “Corruption County” — a universally despised moniker.
But what if the reason we’re no longer “Corruption County” is precisely because we have a corruption watchdog?
Is it so hard to believe that government officials will behave badly when they are convinced no one is watching? Or that no one cares enough to do anything?
As much as we’d like to move past it, we need to remember that universally despised moniker was earned. A majority of taxpayers in every municipality agreed, and voted to do something about it.
A state appellate court shot them down. But that doesn’t erase their concern or wishes.
Our municipal government officials can either go on kidding themselves — and their residents — that “Corruption County” can’t happen again, or they can pony up the money to help pay for the IG’s work to make sure it doesn’t.

What do you think? …

Christie: Tough questions may signal tough re-election for Mast

Suzanne Reynolds of Jupiter plans to work to defeat Brian Mast in next election over his support of repealing and replacing Obamacare. (Photo/Bill DiPaolo)

Are U.S. Congressional District 18 voters having some buyer’s remorse when it comes to Rep. Brian Mast?

You can bet the Florida Democratic Party hopes so; especially after last month’s House vote for the controversial American Health Care Act — or Trumpcare

Mast, like other GOP House members (and some senators) around the country, has faced down some tough questioning from constituents at town halls the last few weeks. To the freshman congressman’s credit, he did not back down from his vote to essentially back President Donald J. Trump’s pledge to “repeal and replace” the troubled Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Before Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, met with constituents earlier this month, some protesters stood along PGA Boulevard to criticize his vote for a Republican health care bill. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Take this exchange with a voter, according to the Post’s George Bennett earlier this month:

“I am ‘pre-existing’ along with my family,” one woman told Mast at Tuesday’s meeting. “If they pull the ACA and they pull the pre-existing, what are we going to do?”

Said Mast: “This bill has my support because I absolutely do not believe that it will be pulling coverage from people with pre-existing conditions.”

Many in the crowd groaned, but Mast continued, saying “This is the reality. It is in word, written in the law, that you cannot do this. You cannot pull it away from people.”

“If they pull my pre-existing, can I come to your office and ask for your help to get insurance?” the woman asked Mast.

“I hope you do so, ma’am,” Mast replied.

Mast, who in 2010 lost both legs after stepping on a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, also told an occasionally raucous town hall meeting  in April:

“There are positives and negatives” in the health law known as Obamacare, said Rep. Brian Mast, who noted he gets his health care from the Veterans Health Administration. “I’m not going to pretend this is the easiest thing to work through.”

Indeed. And Dems are relishing that Florida’s 18th Congressional District, which includes Stuart, Port St. Lucie and part of northern Palm Beach County, an opening despite Mast winning last fall with 53.6 percent of the vote.

Politico reports that retired Army Major Corinna Robinson is talking to state and national Democrats about getting in, and she confirmed her interest. She has run unsuccessfully for Congress once before, but in South Dakota. In 2014, Robinson challenged GOP Rep. Kristi Noem in a campaign that generated very little outside attention, and lost 67-33. Robinson relocated to Florida in January for what Politico describes as “via a Pentagon job and Brookings congressional fellowship to support the counter-terrorism program at Joint Special Operations University at U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa.” (On the other side of the state.) One enthusiastic unnamed Democratic strategist praised Robinson as a “fucking unicorn.”

Worth mentioning: Another military veteran Pam Keith, who took 15 percent of the vote in the 2016 Senate primary, recently formed an exploratory committee.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, smiles as he greets supporters during his successful campaign last fall. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Not sure what other Dems are interested in challenging Mast. But a pushover, he won’t be.

Despite taking hits at three town hall this year, he hasn’t backed down from meeting with constituents (like some of his congressional brethren).

Also while those town halls have been noticeably packed with Democrats, party leaders shouldn’t forget that his district leans to the right.

In April, attendee Rhonda Giacomelli of Palm Beach Gardens said the gathering didn’t provide an accurate picture of Mast’s Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast district.

“They are passionate Democrats and I applaud their enthusiasm,” Giacomelli said of Mast’s critics, “but they don’t represent this district.”

Will Mast be able to hold on to his seat in 2018? Take our poll here.

Trump voters tell Post they look forward to change — and why

“Maverick.” “Change.” “Doer.” “Different.” “Smart.” “Enterprise.” “Doesn’t Owe Anybody.” “America.”

Those were some of the words used by 10 local people to describe Donald J. Trump, the unconventional candidate they helped elect to the presidency.

Republicans, Independents and one Democrat, they came to The Palm Beach Post last night to explain why they helped put the brash billionaire, builder, brand name and reality-TV star into the White House.

We had put out an appeal to Trump voters to speak to us. More than 200 replied. Though we didn’t get the racial or ethnic diversity we would have liked, we narrowed the group to a manageable size to hear from voters who said that they had been largely ignored during the long presidential campaign.

Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)
Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

“During the campaign I found that the mainstream media was so one-sided that I just couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Harvey, 66, of Boynton Beach. “I thought this would be an opportunity educate you as to why people don’t listen to you anymore.”

Alan Huber, 59, of Boynton Beach, said he was tired of the mainstream media portraying “anybody who was against Barack Obama’s policies is a racist, or Donald Trump is a racist.”

“We don’t have horns. We’re not racists. We’re actually among the most informed people there are,” Huber said.

They expressed deep concerns about jobs leaving America, illegal immigration and Obamacare. And they said they had great confidence that Trump would make inroads in these areas, and others, where other political leaders have failed.

They said they weren’t disturbed that Trump is shifting on some of his campaign promises — the border wall that’s now perhaps a fence, the 11 million deportations that might not occur, the reluctance to prosecute “crooked Hillary.” They view Trump as a master negotiator and his boldest campaign statements as opening gambits: he’ll attain his goals, even if it takes some modifications from his initial positions to get there.

“He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lee Roggenburg, 58, a financial adviser from Boca Raton.

“Donald Trump is going to run the country the way we need to run our businesses or our households,” said Patrice Boyland, 54, a self-described stay-at-home mom from Palm Beach Gardens. “In government, when something fails, they put more money towards it. He’s looking at things differently, on how to fix it — and it’s not always adding more money to the problem.”

It’s clear from these supporters that Trump will be entering the White House with a great deal of political strength — a big chunk of the American public that’s eager for him to shake things up and trusts that whatever surprises he springs on the political and media establishment, they’ll be for the better.

Take a look, then take our poll here…