As November 3rd approaches, we need to define the term “consensus.” In the presidential election it is a concept that is, by design, unachievable. We have a two-party system, not a strongman dictatorship. But achieving a consensus agreeing on a winner, well, that may be up in the air, at least on election night. Remember, in two recent presidential elections, the electorate and electoral college could not come to a consensus on the winner.
Fortunately, we do not have that problem on our local level. The four municipal elections – Vero Beach, Sebastian, Fellsmere and Orchid – will be determined by the number of votes cast for each candidate (unless there is a tie). No electoral college here. Even in the case of a tie, voters will have the final say.
To declare a “consensus” victory before an election would definitely be premature in our society and system of government. The term “consensus” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “general agreement; unanimity; solidarity in sentiment and belief.”
The term “consensus” when applied to the three-person editorial board at TCPalm simply means that these three journalists agreed to endorse a candidate. Three votes does not a victory make, nor should it be claimed as a victory be any candidate so named.
I have nothing against the process of editorial boards endorsing specific candidates. Inside Vero has done it in the past both successfully and unsuccessfully; so has the Press Journal and TCPalm. I have nothing against any candidate they endorse either.
What I have a problem with is the implication in the minds of some that this “consensus” has extraordinary meaning, like some kind of Papal blessing, to a candidate. There are five candidates in the Vero Beach City Council race running for three seats. My initial reaction is that I agree Robbie Brackett probably deserves a second term because he has completed his first term successfully, which I define here as, “a decent, intelligent person with a stake in the community who did not make decisions that are appalling to citizens and voters like some of his predecessors.”
Of the remaining candidates, voters will look at their accomplishments in our community, their records on issues of importance to voters in our community, and their commitments to the best future for our community. Vero Beach has been blessed with visionaries on City Council who have fought to preserve the idea of Vero Beach – our way of life, small town nature, concern for the environment and each other. We have also endured City Council members who see this community as nothing more than an opportunity for commercial exploitation. Inside Vero will evaluate candidates based on those criteria over the next few weeks.
But in the final analysis, voters will make their choices and on November 3rd, by 9:00 p.m., we will know the only “consensus” that matters – the will of the voters.