That large orange orb with the tiny hands just over the horizon isn’t here to bring us raisins, friends. For he is Donald Trump, and all he’s got are two scoops of doom. Now that he’s the officially the nominee of the grand old party of folks who don’t much care for non-whites, Trump has a new raft of lessons for the Canadian electorate.
Famous for being rich, and rich to show all the beta males of the world how fucking great he is, Trump’s unique mix of infamy, shamelessness, and revolting hair maintenance gives us a chance to look upon our democracy and weep, just a little bit.
You see, Canada too is vulnerable to the sort of grim hucksterism that Trump is pitching to the American public. Or at least, we could be if we lose sight of our “pleasant reasonableness,” according to CBC’s Aaron Wherry.
Our most world-class city was led not so long ago by a tottering buffoon of its own, you might remember. Wherry argues we maybe shouldn’t be so quick to look down our crack pipes at our southern neighbours, given we spawned Rob Ford.
The main lesson Wherry pulls from Trump's ascension is that cynicism and frivolity have come to the fore of American politics, something we should be wary of here in Canada. But it's hard for me to see the unserious making a real go of it in Canadian politics.
Perhaps this country’s best shot at matching Trump’s billionaire credentials and off-kilter lunacy was Pierre Karl Peladeau, and he’s gone now. The head of Québec’s separatist Parti Québécois for a just shy of a year, Peladeau was an instant political star upon his introduction, raising his fist in the air and declaring his support for separation from Canada. This threw a wrench of sorts into the PQ’s plan to fight the election on the firmer ground of fear of brown people with religious beliefs.
After the party lost the election, after only a few short years in power, PKP was quickly crowned party leader. From there he bumbled around from gaffe to gaffe for some months, never really finding his feet as a politician. Then he quit, hoping to save his family life.
That leaves us with the endless threat of Kevin O’Leary jumping into the race for Conservative Party leader. But the obnoxious O’Leary doesn’t seem to have the ability Trump does for taking the pulse of the everyman. Sure, they both play rich jerks on TV, but Kev doesn’t possess the deftness to both be rude and charming at the same time. He’s just loud and wealthy.
So even when we’re talking ultra-rich politicians, it’s hard to draw any real parallels between what happened in the Republican primaries and how things might play out in our own country. There’s very little connective tissue there, other than our shared border.
I’d suggest another lesson to be learned. As our media inches toward oblivion, and the never-stop nature of the internet reveals that all news is not local, but global, the temptation will grow to shoehorn international political lessons into the framework of our own politics.
It gives the illusion of urgency and meaning to explain why the big event that just happened there applies here. But what if it doesn’t? What if it’s just a bit too convenient that broad sweeping lessons from another country, with another system of government, with it’s own history, geography, and population, might be easily applied here.
Maybe the real lesson is we should be looking inward at our own problems to find our own solutions.
(This week’s topic c/o @scott_rennie)
Anyway, here’s this week’s roundup:
• CBC made hash this week of Hillary Clinton’s slogan “Love trumps hate” this week, writing it instead as “Love Trump’s hate.” They aren’t the first to do it, though. Last December, the Globe and Mail made the same mistake, forcing them to run a correction in their print edition.
• Meanwhile, over at the Globe, notorious floor-shitter and all around loon Chuck Johnson got a chance to explain why it’s tough out there for dudes on the alt-right who get banned from social media. It’s good to see the downtrodden thirst-mongers of the world can find new avenues to be heard, once they’re deemed too awful for the cesspool of twitter. (C/o @moebius_strip)
• A Canadian was gored right in the cajones during the famed Running of the Bulls. For more, we go live to the scene:
• Bob Marley’s Redemption Song has a Canadian connection, of course. Some of the lines are inspired by a speech given Jamaican politician and intellectual Marcus Garvey in Sydney, N.S. in the 1930s, according to a post on CBC Radio 2.