How Jacksonville can benefit from Donald Trump


Last Saturday, I checked out a protest against President-elect Donald Trump — the Jacksonville iteration of the #NotMyPresident movement.

As protests go, it was as Shakespeare wrote: “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Those in attendance – 150, maybe 200 – were peaceful, by and large.

The signs and speakers were all earnest, in that young, leftish, dissident way. And with an exception or two, they were obscenity free.

It was a legitimate, organic, if quixotic protest.

fullsizerender-7Apparently, they were supposed to go to the Florida Times-Union to make their displeasure known at the paper that endorsed Trump as a “change agent.”

They didn’t quite make it there; they did get to the Times-Union Center, however, a performance art space sponsored by the local paper.

Presumably, they cleared out before the evening performance of “A Dream of Gerontius” by Edward Elgar.

Since the election of Trump, which few reporters saw coming, there has been a restive mood locally … perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not.

There was a wave of weekend violence low-lighted by the cold-blooded murder of an 11-month-old baby, a horrible act that finds context in other heinous acts in the last week, including the placement of “whites-only” and “colored” signs over water fountains at a local high school, and a whiteboard at the University of North Florida filled with hateful graffiti and a slogan: “make America white again.”

And, as is the case everywhere, there are people locally — specifically women and members of the LGBT community — who have legitimate reason to wonder how drastically the legal landscape for them will change with Mike Pence as VP-elect and Steve Bannon of in a policymaking role.

In this context of social unrest and uncertainty, however, there is a paradox. And that paradox is that Jacksonville is positioned to do well under a Trump administration.

For one thing, Jacksonville is unique: a big city with a mayor who delivered what he called “strong support” of Trump.

Whereas the mayor’s office (and the governor’s office) were out of step with the Barack Obama White House, the support Mayor Lenny Curry offered to Trump will be acknowledged by the president-elect, who values “loyalty” to such a degree that three of his adult children and his son-in-law are integral to the presidential transition.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, has a laundry list of projects for which it could use federal help.

The deepening of the harbor for JAXPORT, which could be a billion-dollar project in the end. Funds to fix or replace failing bridges. Money for whatever the Jacksonville Transportation Authority decides to do with the Skyway people mover. New or refurbished cars are essential to maintain the integrity of the current system; however, expansion of the system has been on the wish list of many for a while.

In a Trump White House, where infrastructural renewal, including for transportation projects such as mass transit and commuter rail expansion, is expected to be financed via deficit spending, such asks are more plausible than they might have been in a Democratic White House.

Even Jacksonville’s septic tank phaseout project — ultimately at least a $300 million project — may find a more receptive federal audience than it would have if Clinton had won the election.

History tells us that domestic spending bubbles don’t last very long. Even the New Deal sputtered out as the U.S. entered World War II.

Would it be paradoxical for Jacksonville, a rare major city with a GOP city council and conservative mayor, to come out well from a flurry of federal spending?

Perhaps. But in a year of paradoxes and affronts to the conventional wisdom, what’s one more?

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Robert Tager

    November 15, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Isn’t it sad that the deficit spending for infrastructure was denied to Obama simply because he was a Democrat? Imagine how much stronger our economy would have be if his spending bills in 2009 and 2010 were passed. No difference in spend, just in party affiliation.

  • Joshua Cargile

    November 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    How will our poor and/or elderly residents fare when Medicare/Medicaid is cut to the bone?
    How will people living along the coast fare when climate change goes unchecked thanks to DT’s belief that it’s “a myth invented by China” and we stop our move toward lowering carbon emissions?
    How will people living near rivers and streams fare when the EPA is gutted by Myron Ebell, allowing pollution to run amok?
    How will our minority communities fare with a white nationalist racist and anti-semite as the President’s chief strategist?
    How will our national security fare when DT’s children are given Top Secret clearance for no apparent reason?
    How will our country fare during 4 years of kleptocracy at the hands of the least transparent, most deceptive President of all time?

    Answer to all of the above? Not very well at all.

Comments are closed.


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