What if we really had to live with a President Trump next door .. and grow our own democracy in Canada?

Aug 25th, 2015 | By | Category: USA Today

Steve Benen.

Steve Benen, who writes for Rachel Maddow’s blog, has finally clued us in on what it is about hotelier Donald Trump’s sudden surge to prominence in the US Republican primary pre-season that is seriously interesting.

Benen’s August 24, 2015 piece on “Are the rules of politics being rewritten?” declares : “Political science, based largely on careful scrutiny of previous elections … suggests the Trump Show will soon end. We’re witnessing a fun amusement-park ride … but it will stop long before Americans actually start casting votes and/or participating in caucuses.”

Yet Trump’s continued strong showing over the last number of weeks has raised a poignant question. What if the rules of the game deduced by political science from the past several decades finally prove out of date, on the road to the 2016 US Presidential election?  Or, “more to the point, what if the rules are being rewritten?”

Norm Ornstein.

Steve Benen goes on : “What if, as political scientist Norm Ornstein asked in The Atlantic, ‘this time really is different’”? And then he quotes Ornstein : “I have seen the Republican Party go from being a center-right party … to a right-right party …  to a right-radical party … There is a party center that two decades ago would have been considered the bedrock right, and a new right that is off the old charts …”

Benen offers his own elaboration on the theme : “Perhaps Republican politics have been radicalized to a degree unseen in modern American history …  Maybe the combination of social media and freewheeling campaign-finance laws have changed the nature of the game? Perhaps the transformative nature of the Obama era has had an unhealthy impact on how conservative voters approach their political expectations … ?”

The very bottom line is : What if Donald Trump does win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination? Steve Benen still doesn’t think he has a very good chance at all. But : “A month ago, I would have said Trump had zero chance at the nomination. Today, I’d say his odds are … probably better than zero.”

Donald Trump shakes hands with former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, at a Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto event, back in the day.

Meanwhile, with our 2015 Canadian federal election campaign now in official motion, we are  bound to wonder whether the same right-wing extremism may or may not be a part of the transition from the Progressive Conservatives of John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney to Stephen Harper’s new Conservative Party of Canada.

This finally raises the past, present, and future of democracy in Canada. And this reminds us that it’s time for the next installment of Randall White’s current work in progress, Children of the Global Village — Canada in the 21st Century : Tales about the history that matters.

If you go to our Long Journey to a Canadian Republic page, on the bar above (or just CLICK HERE), you will find a short introduction to the project, along with the “Prologue : too much geography.” This is followed by links to the six chapters in Part I, and the first chapter in Part II. Summarizing the birth of modern democracy in the Canadian past, you will now find as well a link to Part II, Chapter 2 : “The beginnings of various regional democracies in what is now Canada, after the War of 1812.”

What would Donald Trump think of all this? Does he know that the US tried to invade Canada during the War of 1812 etc? (Or as Randall White explained to us, while admiring the summer sailboats on a sparkling Lake Ontario, that “Canada developed its own parliamentary democratic traditions after the War of 1812”?)

Would Trump build a wall along “the world’s longest shared border” between the United States and Canada, to prevent Canadian comedians and software engineers from invading California today? (Or repossessing the old French Fort Detroit?) What about the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto?

And how would Donald Trump get on with Stephen Harper anyway? Are there reasons to believe that governments managed by either Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau (or both ??) would do better for Canada in the potentially perilous new American political times ahead? Especially if Trump did somehow manage to finally win the White House, and start something seriously crazy in the land of the free and home of the brave ????

Mulcair and Trudeau together, at Jim Flaherty’s funeral, April 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn.

It does make you think about what to do up here in the wilderness on October 19 —  with all these gathering extreme right-wing trends among the “Yankee[s] to the south of us, who must south of us remain.” (And see the headline on Éric Grenier’s August 25 polling analysis for CBC News : “Conservatives have lost edge they had on the economy … The trump card that has decided elections” in their favour since 2006 may have run its course. You can’t quite hear the Canadian people abruptly saying “You’re fired” to PM Harper yet. But … there does seem to be some kind of breeze blowing … Now, will it last past Labour Day seems to be the next question? )

Tags: , , ,

Leave Comment