Doug Frump and the Power of No

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Doug Frump1.jpgIs Doug Ford “like” Donald Trump, as Kathleen Wynn suggested yesterday?

I just listened to two pundits on CBC comparing similarities and differences between Ford and Trump’s policies. In the carefully “balanced” manner of all CBC political interviews, one “expert” was earnest and angry and of vaguely liberal mien; the other was smarmy and dismissive and more or less conservative. But they both agreed that issues in the US and issues in Canada have created very different political environments, making the comparison problematic.

They’re missing the point. Ford supporters aren’t voting on “issues”, or for “policies”. They’re not voting “for” anything. They’re voting against.

I heard the best, clearest statement of Ford’s real position during an interview with him in February, on “The House”. Ford was asked to explain his promise to fight “the Elites”. His response “I’m not talking about any one specific person. But I always say, the three parties, the LIberals, NPD and the PCs, they have the elites, and the elites, my definition is, they look down on you. They look down on the average person. They think they’re smarter than everyone…I think everyone knows what I mean when I talk about Elites”.

That’s the heart of Ford’s campaign, and the core of what he shares with Donald Trump. He’s another rich kid who inherited his dad’s business, but who pretends to speak for the angry and resentful; a corrupt influence peddler donning the mantle of virtue to capitalize on corruption by Wynn’s predecessor. But he wants you to vote for him because you’re mad at some undefined folks somewhere who look down on you. You can show them. He’ll be your middle finger; elect him and he’ll make those folks squirm. Won’t that be great? Isn’t “making lefty heads explode” the best possible criterion for selecting a provincial leader? (Jay, don’t answer that.)

That bitter core defines both the Ford campaign and the Trump administration. It’s the “Wreck It Ralph” school of governance: a platform that says “If I elected I will fire… I will undo… I will repeal… I will revoke… I will say no”. There’s no vision there. Toronto tried “Governance by NO” with Rob Ford, and it failed; the United States tried it with Trump, and we’re being treated to the spectacle of its slow motion meltdown daily. But Homo Politicus is a slow learner: and now it looks as though there are enough Ontarians angry at Wynn and distrustful of Horvath to initiate our very own provincial suicide attempt.

Is Doug Ford another Donald Trump? Yes; because his one political idea is “No”. And while “No” may be enough to get you elected, it’s not enough to govern.

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This page contains a single entry by Balbulican published on April 19, 2018 3:04 PM.

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