For whom the bell tolls, Justin
The federal Liberals are surely paying close attention to the unfolding political drama in the US -- attention to their own analogues, the Democratic Party, not Trump. There are important lessons.
Lessons, and not that the Liberals should fear a Trump here in Canada, not at all.
The lessons for the Liberals are in the disintegration of the Democratic Party’s once-wide popular support, the loss of their former cross-class support.
The Americans haven’t had a credible NDP-like party for eons, so the liberals there have enjoyed the support of most progressives, especially unions. Historically, this support has included, besides unions, small businesses (plus the giants), cultural and arts people, sports-on-Sundays folks, immigrants, young professionals, new families – a huge section of the voting population. Today, those voters have cocooned, or even switched to conservative, while the unions, besides the coal-mining and rust-belt disasters, are falling before a double whammy of anti-union state legislation plus loss of jobs to automation and computerization (let’s hear Trump explain that to his detail-deaf followers!).
There’s plenty of discussion going on in the States about these changes, especially within the so-called “blue” communities, supporting the Democrats.
The parallel with Canada’s Liberals is growing, and this merits Liberals’ attention -- and action. Action, not reliance on clichés. We mean keeping one’s principles . . . and actually getting results in legislation, not merely announcements about plans, more studies, and road-show consultations.
This is long-term. Justin – and I suppose there HAD to be a time when we’d have a head-of-state named Justin (to quote “22 Minutes”) –Trudeau’s popularity seems to be holding, due in part to comparisons with Trump, the Brits’ recent PMs, and to our own pre-Trump ideologue. Plus, Trudeau faces no focussed competition while the PC and NDP pick their leaders. Talk about honeymoons!
Will the Liberals repeat the Democrats’ mistake of assuming their traditional constituencies are theirs for life? With our world upside down, in terms of wealth inequality and the resulting stagnation of earnings and life-style consumption, “the people” are looking for new faces and forces -- to blame.
Distrust of traditional media is one result (although why anyone would trust Gossip Media remains puzzling). From there, it’s but one step to distrust “government”, its massive bureaucracy and its often unsavoury players. This is the gateway to Trumpland, and Canada’s not immune.
We understand that personalities and public images can be distractions, especially Trump’s; it is the economic and social forces behind those images that should concern the Liberal Party. Those forces are hostile, well funded, media-savy, and well served by social media. They have a clear corporate, anti-social agenda, and all with support from south of the border.
Perhaps Justin can lead his party and supporters through this asteroid-impact political upheaval. It concerns all of us that the Liberals still rely so much on their clichés about Canadians’ common sense and compassion. That thinking led the Democrats to defeat.