by Garfield Marks
Wow. Donald Trump defied expectations, polls and the ruling classes to become President-Elect of the United States on Nov. 8, 2016. Admittedly I was amazed.
When the New Democrats under Rachel Notley formed government, in conservative Alberta, I knew the ruling classes and political dynasties were on eroding beachheads. The status quo was not acceptable anymore. Trump ended the eras of the Clintons, the Bushes, the Kennedys — to name but a few — and brought in the age of the outsider and protectionism for the underclass.
In Europe, Brexit was the result of ignoring the general population living more than a mile from London’s city centre. The European Union did not offer much to the working class.
The signs were there all around us — Europe, Alberta, and in town halls all across the states — but the results were still enough to dumbfound the most imaginative political junkie. Trump’s win is not the anomaly many will have you believe but a sign of awakening of the suppressed and ignored underrepresented working person.
In Canada the federal emphasis has been geared towards the urban vote, and federal governments gearing policies and infrastructure spending to the urban centres. A journalist declared that Trump’s success was due to the “uneducated rural vote.” Should the federal government then, rethink this urban-based strategy?
Will TV personality and businessman Kevin O’Leary try to replicate Trump’s electoral success in Canada, with the Conservative Party? Possibly, but will he have the same appeal to the rural population?
O’Leary does have similarities with Trump, reality TV, business, and personalities — and the Conservatives are in search of a leader. Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton was associated with the political dynasty of a former president, so would O’Leary’s opponent be associated with the political dynasty of a current and a former Prime Minister? But would the rural vote galvanize around a Trump wannabe?
Has NAFTA — the free trade agreement that Trump would tear up — garnered the same sense of oppression from the Canadian underclass that Trump extols about the U.S. underclass? Possibly, but can O’Leary capitalize on it in the 2019 federal election?
Will Canada’s rural vote mobilize against a political dynasty? Does the working class want an outsider in the highest seat? Will they stay with the status quo? We will see in the next Canadian federal election.