American Republicans mostly hitched their wagons to Donald Trump’s dark star in this year’s U.S. mid-term elections, and notwithstanding passage of control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats it has worked remarkably well for them.
If you imagine this lesson is lost on Canadian movement conservatives, think again.
The politics of Trumpism were already here in Canada, of course. Fear, hatred and division — not to mention fake news, climate change denial, sexual hysteria and active voter suppression — have already been tried in Canada, and have already proved effective. I give you … Doug Ford.
Thank god we still have paper ballots and federal elections administered nationally by a federal agency, but don’t expect that to be enough to keep Canadian Conservatives from being seduced by the allure of Trumpism, at least as long as it appears to be working somewhere.
Not so long ago, as a reporter for the New York Times observed last night, the post-mortem consensus of the Republican Party after Barack Obama’s defeat of Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. presidential election “was brutally straightforward: Expand the tent or risk extinction.”
Here in Alberta in the same approximate time frame, as the still-progressive Conservative Party transitioned from the neoliberal shock doctrine of Ralph Klein through the more moderate Ed Stelmach years to the apparently progressive Alison Redford era, the Conservative consensus was much the same.
Trumpism is the norm among conservatives on both sides of the Medicine Line. All the more so thanks to over-represented rural ridings in Canada and low-population rural Red States south of the 49th, where the first-past-the-post mechanisms of the electoral college and the anti-democratic design of the U.S. Senate bias national election results toward the right.
So say hello to more like Devin Dreeshen — the Alberta United Conservative Party’s new MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.
Romney, by the way, appears to be back — this time as senator for the state of Utah. And, who knows, maybe in office he will prove to be one of those rare moderate Republicans, the theocratic leanings of the state he represents notwithstanding.
As for control of the House by the Democrats, that’s good news, but perhaps less so than Canadian progressives may hope. The U.S. Democrats under their current leadership are yet to prove that they can organize a booze-up in a brewery, and a surprising number of their elected candidates aren’t much more than Republicans with blue neckties.
What’s more, partisan warfare with the Democrats may well suit Trump.
Still, you have to admit this is a more hopeful outcome than the alternative of the executive, the judiciary and both parts of the legislative branch of the U.S. government in the hands of the Trump kleptocracy.
David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.
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