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How to avoid a Canadian Trump

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It's worth trying to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, because unless we build a wall high enough to stop drones and satellites, a Trump presidency would have a big effect on Canada.  

His supporters are clearly angry. Some of that comes from racist white people in a country that gets less white every year, and some comes from changing norms around race, gender and sexuality often called "political correctness" followed by "gone mad" followed by several exclamation marks.  

But a big part of their anger comes from the free trade agreements, declining union membership and cashing in of the social safety net over the past few decades. The neoliberal era shifted risk from companies to workers. And now these underprivileged, insecure workers are angry at the companies, politicians and media who told them that what's good for business is good for everyone. Because it turns out, that wasn't true.

But neoliberals still believe it is true, and it's so fun watching them freak out about Trump and in their desperation get behind Mitt Romney, who is apparently going to rouse the masses from astride his dancing horse, Rafalca. They're finally being forced to reckon with regular people who don't give a crap about their ideology. They want good jobs -- and job security.

So if we want to avoid a Canadian Trump, instead of dismissing angry, alienated Canadians as racist bumpkins, we should probably try to convince them that the fight for economic justice is their fight too, and that fight would be a better use of their energy than chanting something like "Ford! Ford! Ford!"

This video originally appeared in The Toronto Star

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