This past week, Canada’s prime minister announced an about-face on a major campaign promise — electoral reform. Sadly, he barely blinked as he explained his reasons for betraying voters.
Meanwhile, the world was spellbound as President Donald Trump proceeded to honour his campaign promises…one-by-one.
Such is the sad, confused state of democracy in North America that one leader’s total reversal of policy is considered rather commonplace in political circles. At the same time, another leader’s determination to deliver what he promised, is greeted with shock and disbelief.
Taking Trump literally
As the horrifying honesty of this Trump administration unfolded, a steady stream of political commentators stuttered and struggled to explain. Previously, they had talked about how people should not take him “literally.” Um, yes. They should.
Now, I’m not saying that he has done everything he said he would. But he is at least trying to create the illusion that he has and he will.
Cue white guy in middle America, quietly tipping his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.
The fact that Trump is likely not qualified to hold the country’s highest elected office. means little to his supporters’, because, well, at least he is honest. That’s how desperate they are for decent representation.
A twisted reversal of morality
Trudeau, on the other hand who evidently lied about his commitment to getting rid of the “first past the post” system, is cast as a shining star by the press and the pundits.
Such is the sparkly mess that we now find ourselves.
In a twisted reversal of morality, misleading people is somehow less dishonourable. Because everyone’s doing it?
Being forthright is crass and unexpected. We’re confounded by Trump’s relentless executive orders, even though each one was part of the plan all along.
How did we get to this point?
In the United States and also in Canada, progressive political parties have become unbearably smug and insular.
Bernie Sanders was one answer, and we know how that turned out.
All it takes is one rebel backbencher stirring things up, casting doubt on the leader. This recent electoral reform backpedalling by Trudeau could provide the fuel to split supporters allowing an unexpected outlier to slip through the cracks.
Conservative parties are no better but they, at least, have started to assemble a playbook from which to draw upon. The Manning Centre is already running workshops on what they’ve learned from Trump’s victory.
Doing things “in real life”
Trump’s policies may be abhorrent to many (including myself) but his overtly simple solutions, and determination to implement them, resonates with many struggling Americans. And there’s a chance a similar mindset will catch on here in Canada too.
Highbrow liberals needs to venture out of their Facebook comfort zones and try doing things “IRL” (my Millennial daughter’s term for “in real life”). Talking to everyday people and understanding their fears. Enough already with the selfies, let’s put down the phones and be more down-to-earth.
It’s the worst possible time to be reneging on promises. Even Trudeau needs to take heed of the shifting political dynamic. Or risk a backlash.
Forget “deplorables,” we’ve got Kevin O’Leary waiting in the wings.
Miss Cranky Pants (aka Jody MacPherson) is a professional communicator, social media fan, politico, cyclist, divorcee (is it any wonder?) and coffee addict who gets a little testy without regular caffeine.