Why Populist Politicians Are Unbeatable As Facts Don't Matter

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Mighty Middle
Why Populist Politicians Are Unbeatable As Facts Don't Matter

Editorial from today's Toronto Star.

The Star’s democracy reporter Sabrina Nanji trained an instructive spotlight this week on a major – possibly pivotal - challenge facing the Liberal and NDP campaigns in the June 7 election in Ontario.

In studying the unlikely coalition that makes up so-called Ford Nation, Nanji encountered a Windsor resident, a single mother on social assistance, who was having trouble finding work and who had two children under 12, both with learning disabilities.

The woman’s answer to her plight?

She plans to vote for the team of Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford.

She intends to do so despite the fact none of the sketchy proposals Ford has so far set out would alleviate her considerable problems, and could quite possibly make them worse.

So why would someone dependent on government, being offered the enticements of denticare and pharmacare and improved mental-health services by other candidates, opt for a retailer of deep budget cuts, corporate tax cuts, privatization, deregulation and an inevitable reduction of social services?

It is, on the face of it, a puzzle.

But the phenomenon of voting against one’s own economic interests is hardly unique to Ontario. That trend has supported the rise of populist leaders across the continent and around the world.

As Thomas Frank wrote more than a decade ago in his book What’s the Matter With Kansas?, the question of how so many people can get their fundamental interests so wrong is “the pre-eminent question of our times.”

As Frank said, people who identify as working-class continually opt to support conservative agendas that favour the corporate classes and have done “historic harm to working-class people.”

Their answer to a corporate world that has “so manifestly screwed them,” Frank marvelled, is to support rich men dedicated to serving the interests of that very world.

His book tried to understand “the species of derangement that has brought so many ordinary people to such a self-damaging, political extreme (that) they strangle their own life chances.”

The woman in Windsor revealed something of that by explaining she reached her decision because she felt abandoned by government and politicians.

Her vote – and those of many like her — will be motivated less by consideration of her own economic concerns than by “values,” “moral interests” and that large sense of woundedness.

In fact, that self-image of victimhood is a recurring drumbeat in populist parades, as is the resentment at having been disrespected by patronizing and undeserving elites.

Populists believe that if the collective voice of ordinary, authentic people – of which they are one, and however inexpert they may be – were heeded all would be great again.

“Since the populists are unwilling to admit that the real world might be complicated – that solutions might prove elusive even for people with good intentions – they need somebody to blame,” Harvard politics professor Yascha Mounk says in his new book The People vs. Democracy.

“And blame they do.”

To that end, populist leaders like Ford manufacture a parade of cartoonish scapegoats – bent-pinkied champagne sippers and the like - for followers to target.

The American professor George Lakoff has said that if we were wholly rational, we would make ourselves aware of the relevant facts and figures and calculate our way to the logical conclusion.

“But voters don’t behave that way,” he said.

“They vote against their obvious self-interest; they allow bias, prejudice and emotion to guide their decisions. . . Or they quietly reach conclusions independent of their interests without consciously knowing why.

“Deft politicians (as well as savvy marketers) take advantage of our ignorance of our own minds to appeal to the sub-conscious level.”

While it might seem a simple task for Ford’s opponents to change such minds by setting out some facts and figures, the challenge is extraordinarily difficult.

Perhaps no one understands the phenomenon of populism and the tenacious loyalty to Ford Nation better than Nick Kouvalis, the one-time strategist for the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Kouvalis grew up among such folks in Windsor, ran focus groups to study them during the former mayor’s rise, and knew that emotion – not economics – drove their political decisions.

“They believed the elites had been given so much that little was left for them,” Kouvalis told city councillor John Filion for his book The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford. “That sense of unfairness put a chip on their shoulders.”

“Ford Nation inherently has been treated like s---,” he said. “That’s how they feel. They didn’t get their fair share in life. They were rejected.”

He said populist leaders play to that grievance and, to date, Ford has been running to type and laying it on with a trowel.

What should concern Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath – as polls consistently suggest Ford enjoys support in majority government territory – is how immoveable those drawn to populists are once committed.

“Once they’ve made a decision they have a hard time admitting they’re wrong,” he said.

Wynne or Horwath will need to find a way to crack that nut and shift the attention of such voters from their large grievances to their immediate interests.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/04/20/with-populist-poli...

SocialJustice101

Doug Ford LOST the mayoral election.   He also LOST the popular vote in the PC leadership race.  How is that unbeatable?  

As for Trump, he also LOST the popular vote.

Why do we call them "populist" when they keep losing the POPULAR vote?

Mighty Middle

SocialJustice101 wrote:

Doug Ford LOST the mayoral election.   He also LOST the popular vote in the PC leadership race.  How is that unbeatable?  

As for Trump, he also LOST the popular vote.

Why do we call them "populist" when they keep losing the POPULAR vote?

Trump & Ford might of lost the popular vote, but they won were it counted. In the electoral college. If that is where the win is, you campaign by winning the electoral college, not the popular vote.

Ford lost mayoral race by 7% but was 10% ahead of Olivia Chow

Rev Pesky

Quite right, SocialJustice101. But there's another fundamental problem with the analysis as above. That is, the credibility problem the 'progressive' politicians have. They have promised much, in the past, and delivered next to nothing, so voters quite rightly look at them as a bunch of liars who could care less about them.

Those voters, having been abandoned by their progressive champions, look at the field and say to themselves, 'well, perhaps if this politician can lift the overall economy, I will be a beneficiary.

One thing for sure. They know voting for the left does nothing for them.

voice of the damned

Kouvalis grew up among such folks in Windsor, ran focus groups to study them during the former mayor’s rise, and knew that emotion – not economics – drove their political decisions.

“They believed the elites had been given so much that little was left for them,” Kouvalis told city councillor John Filion for his book The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford. “That sense of unfairness put a chip on their shoulders.”

“Ford Nation inherently has been treated like s---,” he said. “That’s how they feel. They didn’t get their fair share in life. They were rejected.”

But are those beliefs neccesarily "emotion, not economics", as the Star paraphrases the view? To the extent that such things are measurable(and the left usually thinks that they are), maybe those people HAVE been treated like shit. Okay, so their ideas about how to fix the problem might be incorrect, by the Star's reckoning or even by oblective analysis, but that doesn't mean that the underlying motivation is purely irrational.

As for Doug Ford losing the mayoralty, well, yeah, he lost, but still managed to come in second, with a third of the vote, while running pretty much the heir apparent to the most flamboyantly inappropriate mayor Canada has ever known. And the guy who did win wasn't exactly pushing a progressive agenda either.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

The problem with this thread is that Ford and Trump are not populists. They are FAUX populists and anyone thinking they are the answer to their problems is deluded and brainless. Never mind the acute idiocy of not viewing them as 'elites'

They are rich scumsuckers who don't give a fuck about you. They don't relate with you. They were born into money,they didn't make themselves rich. Just the luck of the draw of the gene pool.

What was 'populist' and not 'elite' about Mike Harris? And that's precisely what you're going to get with Ford. His talk (depending on who he's talking to) is pure rhetoric. It's bullshit. You need a shovel to work your way out from any of his rallies.

josh

In the case of Ontario, there are a couple of problems with the theory.  One there are three candidates, two of whom are not what the author would describe as populists.  So the populist can win with well less than a majority.  Second one of the candidates and parties are incredibly unpopular.  Third the other party has an attractive platform, but a leader who, for whatever reason, doesn’t appear attractive to these populist voters.  

But it is true that there is a significant slice of voters who are cynical about politics and government, and believe all politicians lie.  So why not elect someone who appears not to try to appear as if he’s not lying, and seems like one of them, even though he or she might be in a different economic stratosphere.

Pondering

Yes well it's unfortunate that the left refuses to be populist. Singh seems to be but I don't know if the party will support him or continuing infighting. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Pondering wrote:

Yes well it's unfortunate that the left refuses to be populist. Singh seems to be but I don't know if the party will support him or continuing infighting. 

Singh,Singh,Singh...blah,blah,blah.

He could be Karl Marx  mixed with Che Gueverra and it means nothing. The party is still Mulcair's. This idea that Canada will become a social democracy once the NDP is elected doesn't reflect any form of reality.

Look at Rachel Notley. She's an oil pipe shilling right winger and it's the Alberta NDP's official policy.

Look at most,if not all,provincial NDP governments. Far from progressive. Have you been following the Liberal convention? They are taking over all the progressive policies the NDP should or may unofficially support.

Maybe this is why the Singh is the Second Coming NDP is barely holding their head above 20%. If they expect more support and reach the 30% benchmark,they are going to have to get their act together. Right now they are a hot mess.

R.E.Wood

Mighty Middle wrote:

Trump & Ford might of lost the popular vote, but they won were it counted. In the electoral college. If that is where the win is, you campaign by winning the electoral college, not the popular vote.

Ford lost mayoral race by 7% but was 10% ahead of Olivia Chow

Excuse me as I play grammar police for a minute, because the phrase "might of" makes me want to scream, and I've seen you use it or other variants before. What you mean is "might have", or it's abbreviation "might've" (which, admittedly, sounds like "might of", but isn't.) This holds true for "should of" ("should have" / "should've") and "could of" ("could have" / "could've"), etc...  The incorrect use of "might of" is a plague of the internet and the undereducated, and groups you in with people who don't know the difference between "your" and "you're", and I trust you're better than that. 

Mighty Middle

R.E.Wood wrote:

Excuse me as I play grammar police for a minute, because the phrase "might of" makes me want to scream, and I've seen you use it or other variants before.

I MIGHT HAVE not noticed that before, but I will be more careful from now on. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

alan smithee wrote:

Maybe this is why the Singh is the Second Coming NDP is barely holding their head above 20%. If they expect more support and reach the 30% benchmark,they are going to have to get their act together. Right now they are a hot mess.

If Tom Mulcair was "Angry Tom" in 2013 and railed against Trudeau being an elitist and silver spoon, and spouted populist langauge (like ripping up NAFTA and getting out of NATO which a good portion of the NDP support) I think he would have won the election.

Sean in Ottawa

Wow -- this will be one of the common frustrating threads on babble where people try to play semantics without knowing the words.

Populist means a party or person seeking to get the support of the ordinary people. - usually, railing against the establishment or elite. It does not mean that there is not mendacity involved. It does not mean they deliver on the promises. It does not mean that the common people would gain. It does not mean that the populists are not the most elite of the elite. They can be sincere or much like a carnival barker, magician or other con artist.

Populism has to do with the communication of the politics not the content of what is delivered.

Populists are common in countries with a democratic vote since the success of any political campaign is to gain enough of the people to support it, knowing that the elite who really control things do not form anything like a purality.

The elites have the most political operators becuase they can afford them. They are in the best position to claim populism even as they have the least real interest in delivering on a populist agenda.

A populist is not a person who has one the popular vote either. It is one who has sought getting it by campaigning against an elite or establishment, percieved or real. They often fail.

Millionaire Ross Perot was a populist. So was right wing Preston Manning. So, arguably, was Thatcher, a grocers daughter who damaged the common people for at least a generation after appealing to them to win against a wasteful bureacracy. So was Hitler, who appealed to common Germans about the humiliation of the treaty and fed and increased a popular racism. And so was Jack Layton. Layton does not seem to fit this list because he had actual policies and a direction that would have at least attempted to deliver something to the people and he did not fit into the common model of totalitarians who often use populism to gain the power they seek. But all used the idea of the elites to gain support from common people. Most had no intention of delivering.

It is frustrating on rabble having these ridiculous tortured conversations trying to use the root of a word to contradict the common and very established meaning. This approach is dangerously anti-knowledge as it undermines the meanings of words which are the foundation of knowledge and means of sharing it.

There are many words that mean opposites that come from the same root. This is becuase there is no requirement for words to develop according to the spirit of the root source of the word. A source meaning can come in to the language reflecting something about any aspect of the meaning even if the definition ends up in opposition.

Skirt and shirt have the same root. Canon and cannon also. But how about oversee and overlook? One is to supervise and the other is to miss. Left can mean remaining or gone. Trim could mean to add decoration or to cut off excess. Pretending language does not work that way and seeking consistency between origins and current meanings is to destroy the history of language.

Now for those wanting to play semantics in this completely invalid way -- let them look at the history of the word porcelain. Then we can talk.

And yes -- populism is about attempted appeal and nothing to do with policies or delivery. It is more often about coopting populism to deliver the opposite than it is about delivering anything for the people. But it can be either since it is about the targeting of a movement rather than its substance.

In other words populism is no more about policies for and from the people than National Socialism is about being socialist.

Now, before I finish my rant here -- let's point out that populism can be defeated contrary to the title. It can even be defeated by real rather than faux socialism -- something real for the people that would actually benefit them. For that, you need people who believe in it, you need people who are able to communicate it in plain clear terms, you need a lot of solidarity and support, you need charisma to make direct connections to p[eople, you need luck and you need resources.

And sometimes when the populism is based on a real committment to the people you don't want to defeat it. You want to elect it. Populism is a form of political promise. It can be defeated. When false you want it to be. When real you don't want it to be. People need to know the difference.

The real issue is that you need to replace propaganda with informed judgment. The nature of this entire discussion is about the fact that populism is a label not a reality. You defeat faux populism when you have people recognize this, learn to tell the difference, and use judgment over propaganda.

Facts do matter becuase they distinguish between a false label and a real one. It also matters that you make this distinction and have people investigate propaganda.

Mighty Middle

I think populism only moves people when you have a messenger who resonates with the public. Preston Manning has no charisma. Ross Perot was overshadowed by Bill Clinton who oozed charisma.

Kellie Leitch tried to run on a populist platform, but her communication skills were poor and she had no charisma. When you combine a good communicator/orator spouting a populist platform, then they become unbeatable.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Yes well it's unfortunate that the left refuses to be populist.

Wrong.

It is just that they are often not that good at it. Maybe they are out classed by the right who can afford the social psychologists to make a better campaign on it -- even if it is false.

But Layton was definitely a populist So was Barrett, Douglas and others.

So was Trudeau even if he was full of shit, lying, and an elite himself running for an elitist, establishment party. What did you think all that shit about middle class was? It had nothing to do with actual policy intentions (a tax cut for the upper income earners at the cost of the very top income earners and ultimately, those from above the middle down). It was an appeal to populism that was a lie -- like most of them are.

Yes, Ford is also a populist. Full of shit like most of them. They would like nothing better than to have you think all populists are full of shit so that they won't have to make the pretence and a sincere one would never get elected.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Mighty Middle wrote:

I think populism only moves people when you have a messenger who resonates with the public. Preston Manning has no charisma. Ross Perot was overshadowed by Bill Clinton who oozed charisma.

Kellie Leitch tried to run on a populist platform, but her communication skills were poor and she had no charisma. When you combine a good communicator/orator spouting a populist platform, then they become unbeatable.

So tell me more about Prime Minister Douglas. Premier Lewis. Educate me.

Mighty Middle

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So tell me more about Prime Minister Douglas. Premier Lewis. Educate me.

If Social Media & the 24 hour news channels existed back then, as their words would be playing on so many different platforms over and over and over again.

Sean in Ottawa

Mighty Middle wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So tell me more about Prime Minister Douglas. Premier Lewis. Educate me.

If Social Media & the 24 hour news channels existed back then, as their words would be playing on so many different platforms over and over and over again.

Sad that you believe that. Means you understand little about politics or social media. Means you understand less about public psychology manipulation and propaganda.

Do you really think that the opposing message and fears of socialism would have spread any less on social media than the message of benefits of democratic socialist platforms? Are you unable to understand that this changes the whole nature of the types of people (not their platforms) that would be running?

The worst is this ridiculous tendency to speak in absolutes. Most times when people say this will always do that -- unless they are speaking about a scientific law, they will be wrong.

Yes populism works and it is often successful, even when it is 99% BS. But that does not mean it cannot be defeated.

Let me complete the logical hole in your argument: pit two populists against each other and explain to me how neither can be defeated.

This debate here is an example why logic and philosophy ought to be part of general education. The running to absolute arguments, without evidence, is actually probably the most common logical mistake made by people arguing.

Sean in Ottawa

Mighty Middle wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So tell me more about Prime Minister Douglas. Premier Lewis. Educate me.

If Social Media & the 24 hour news channels existed back then, as their words would be playing on so many different platforms over and over and over again.

Your understanding of media is also lacking to the extreme.

Social media and 24 hour media have created a competing universe with so much relevant volume that there has been a fundamental change in perception of the news. 25 years ago there was basically, with little variation, on a body of news available. Different spins and different opinions on it, but the majority of information available to the public was a common set of facts that most agreed on. People argued what was a good idea or what something meant but less about what happened. The fact that there were people contributing to these news sources from different backgrounds, percpectives and ideology reduced, to some degree, the amount of outright fabrication. Sure margins were excluded and their were biases, but it was not like today.

Today the advent of 24 hour news and specialty channels and social media, has allowed each person to be their own biased news producer. When people got similar news they could not employ a confirmation bias in the material they chose to listen to -- they got it all agreeable or not. Today, the vast majority of people who consider themselves informed listen only, or very much mostly, to sources that confirm their existing biases. What this means is that people are more polarized, biases have the appearance of evidence where there is none, and people are quite possible more ignorant, even though, if you know where to look the infomration is more available. The point is, that unless you are already inclined to believe it, you probably will not look.

We are at the point where a direction of opinion can form a cult without requiring people to be in a compound. They will create their own walls and the cult can be nationwide with the person in the next house in a different cult.

Mighty Middle

Trump has his own propaganda machine with Fox News. The Toronto Sun has decided to throw objectivity out the window and be Doug Ford propaganda machine for the Ontario election

http://www.canadalandshow.com/toronto-sun-provincial-election-plans/

Add that plus right-wing talk radio pushing for Ford, and you have a perfect storm. In addition to the mainstream media airing Ford latest "outrageous" comment, which is free earned media.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

R.E.Wood wrote:

Excuse me as I play grammar police for a minute, because the phrase "might of" makes me want to scream, and I've seen you use it or other variants before.

I MIGHT HAVE not noticed that before, but I will be more careful from now on. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

alan smithee wrote:

Maybe this is why the Singh is the Second Coming NDP is barely holding their head above 20%. If they expect more support and reach the 30% benchmark,they are going to have to get their act together. Right now they are a hot mess.

If Tom Mulcair was "Angry Tom" in 2013 and railed against Trudeau being an elitist and silver spoon, and spouted populist langauge (like ripping up NAFTA and getting out of NATO which a good portion of the NDP support) I think he would have won the election.

One problem. 'Angry Tom'  was an elitist. He decided to move to the centre,opening the left to the Liberals.

The question is,who was more likeable. Clearly Trudeau was. He's still popular. The NDP would have lost anyway. Everyone was aware of Trudeau's priveleged life but didn't care.

You can make the same case as my former sentence in regard to Ford. People don't care about his privileged life. The joke is daft voters who can't recognize that Ford is solidly part of the 'elite'  voters claim to be tired of.

They're in for a big and nasty surprise.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

Trump has his own propaganda machine with Fox News. The Toronto Sun has decided to throw objectivity out the window and be Doug Ford propaganda machine for the Ontario election

http://www.canadalandshow.com/toronto-sun-provincial-election-plans/

Add that plus right-wing talk radio pushing for Ford, and you have a perfect storm. In addition to the mainstream media airing Ford latest "outrageous" comment, which is free earned media.

And this surprises who? They spend 365 days a year cheerleading the PC's and CPC.If it were the Star it would be worth noting. And I'm kinda certain that more people read the Star than the Sun.They're right wing. Anybody who is awake knows this. Moving along.Nothing to see here.

Mighty Middle

alan smithee wrote:

One problem. 'Angry Tom'  was an elitist. He decided to move to the centre,opening the left to the Liberals.

He didn't brand himself as an "elitist" in the election. He kept mentioning how he grew up with 10 brothers and sisters, where he had work for everything he got, and things were not easy for him. He definately branded himself as the non-elitist, but didn't push that narrative strong enough.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

One problem. 'Angry Tom'  was an elitist. He decided to move to the centre,opening the left to the Liberals.

He didn't brand himself as an "elitist" in the election. He kept mentioning how he grew up with 10 brothers and sisters, where he had work for everything he got, and things were not easy for him. He definately branded himself as the non-elitist, but didn't push that narrative strong enough.

\Oh,I see he didn't label HIMSELF an elitist. And Trudeau did? Or Wynne? Or Horwath? Please provide a link where any of them referred to themselves as 'elites'

Mighty Middle

alan smithee wrote:

And this surprises who? They spend 365 days a year cheerleading the PC's and CPC.They're right wing. Anybody who is awake knows this. Moving along.Nothing to see here.

It is estimated that Trump had 2 Billion dollars of free advertsing as the three 24-hour news channels aired so much Trump stories. You can't compete with that type of publicity. And now the mainstream media in Ontario is doing the exact same thing. Giving Ford all this free advertising based on all the outrageous things he is saying.

Meanwhile Andrea Horwath can only wish to get that type of publicity.

Mighty Middle

alan smithee wrote:

 And Trudeau did? Or Wynne? Or Horwath?

The Conservatives did indeed brand Trudeau as an elitist. And Now Jagmeet Singh is sort of running on an anti-elitist agenda, calling Trudeau an elitist. Singh doing that while earing a $3,000 suit.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

And this surprises who? They spend 365 days a year cheerleading the PC's and CPC.They're right wing. Anybody who is awake knows this. Moving along.Nothing to see here.

It is estimated that Trump had 2 Billion dollars of free advertsing as the three 24-hour news channels aired so much Trump stories. You can't compete with that type of publicity. And now the mainstream media in Ontario is doing the exact same thing. Giving Ford all this free advertising based on all the outrageous things he is saying.

Meanwhile Andrea Horwath can only wish to get that type of publicity.

You're assuming everyone in Toronto and all of Ontario read the Sun. This is patently untrue. Le Journal de Montreal spends every day of the year villifying the Liberals and prpping up Conservvative governments like CAQ or federal Cons. Yet the Quebec Liberals have been in power for 15 years. BTW,to be fair CTV Montreal has been trying to prop up CAQ for at least the last 3 years. Sometimes it works,most of the time it doesn't.

And nobody is reading the newspapers anymore save for older voters over 50.

Mighty Middle

alan smithee wrote:

And nobody is reading the newspapers anymore save for older voters over 50.

Yes but the Toronto Sun is spreading the "Vote Ford" message on social media as well through a variety of platforms.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

 And Trudeau did? Or Wynne? Or Horwath?

The Conservatives did indeed brand Trudeau as an elitist. And Now Jagmeet Singh is sort of running on an anti-elitist agenda, calling Trudeau an elitist. Singh doing that while earing a $3,000 suit.

I see. So all that the NDP or Liberals have to do is call Ford an elitist and the sheep will follow? And last I checked,Ford isn't walking around in casual  clothing. You think he's wearing a $200 suit? Lame,MM. Lame.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

And nobody is reading the newspapers anymore save for older voters over 50.

Yes but the Toronto Sun is spreading the "Vote Ford" message on social media as well through a variety of platforms.

It's only going to resonate with those who already support Ford. I.E. ' Ford Nation' . It's not going to resonate with those who don't like him. And there are a lot. Why do you think Horwath is making the most political capital than the other 2 parties? Horwath has a chance of pulling off an upset. Sorry to burst your Ford bubble.

Mighty Middle

alan smithee wrote:

It's only going to resonate with those who already support Ford. I.E. ' Ford Nation' . It's not going to resonate with those who don't like him. And there are a lot. Why do you think Horwath is making the most political capital than the other 2 parties? Horwath has a chance of pulling off an upset. Sorry to burst your Ford bubble.

Ford is pulling votes from both Liberal and NDP supporters, which has him leading in the polls. And they seem unmoveable to move back to either the Liberal or NDP camp. Which is the whole point of the article.

What should concern Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath – as polls consistently suggest Ford enjoys support in majority government territory – is how immoveable those drawn to populists are once committed.

“Once they’ve made a decision they have a hard time admitting they’re wrong,” he said.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

It's only going to resonate with those who already support Ford. I.E. ' Ford Nation' . It's not going to resonate with those who don't like him. And there are a lot. Why do you think Horwath is making the most political capital than the other 2 parties? Horwath has a chance of pulling off an upset. Sorry to burst your Ford bubble.

Ford is pulling votes from both Liberal and NDP supporters, which has him leading in the polls. And they seem unmoveable to move back to either the Liberal or NDP camp. Which is the whole point of the article.

What should concern Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath – as polls consistently suggest Ford enjoys support in majority government territory – is how immoveable those drawn to populists are once committed.

“Once they’ve made a decision they have a hard time admitting they’re wrong,” he said.

It's POPULIST messages such as this ;

Doug Ford's announcement today showed Ontarians exactly where his priorities lay -- and it's not with everyday families and working people.

Over the next four years, Ford will cut $5.2 billion from health care and the other public services that families count on, and give that money to profitable corporations like his company in the form of another tax cut. After 15 years of Liberal rule in Ontario, our hospitals and our children's schools simply cannot take any more cuts.

Fo...rd will not address the 32,000-person wait list for long-term care, he will not fix the hospital overcrowding and hallway medicine crisis, and he will never repair crumbling schools or make sure that folks can afford their prescriptions or to go to the dentist.

It's time to stop switching between Conservative cuts and Liberal cuts. Let's stop settling for bad or worse.

My plan is to ask the most profitable corporations to pay their fair share, with rates that are competitive with the combined corporate tax rates in neighbouring provinces and the Great Lake states.

It's time to ask those at the very top to pay their fair share. It's time for change for the better in Ontario.

That can bring NDP voters back to the NDP and possibly bleed some Liberal support.

When it becomes clear to more people what an inexperienced BUFFOON Ford is,his support will shrink.

Quit with the Ford is a populist angle that you provide over and over and over. He's not a populist. You can hypothesize how he's inevitably going to win the election but he's still NOT a populist. New Democrats planning on voting for him are rank morons. And Ontarians are going to be in for a nasty surprise once Ford wins.

All they have to do is look to the South.

Sean in Ottawa

For the most part this thread is puke inducing defeatism.

You know why the left does not beat right wing populism?

It doesn't try very often and tucks its head in the folds of its ass asking for mercy and blaming the media.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

For the most part this thread is puke inducing defeatism.

You know why the left does not beat right wing populism?

It doesn't try very often and tucks its head in the folds of its ass asking for mercy and blaming the media.

 

Sean,are you suggesting the Left is blaming the media for Ford's success so far? According to MM,the Toronto Sun's predictable cheerleading is going to help Ford win. And who knows? Maybe it will. But this fucking bullshit that the media is only covering Ford because he's 'exciting' is the words of a 'Ford Nation'  loser.

I don't see anywhere where Horwath has blamed the media. Nor real New Democrats in and out of this thread.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

alan smithee wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Yes well it's unfortunate that the left refuses to be populist. Singh seems to be but I don't know if the party will support him or continuing infighting. 

Singh,Singh,Singh...blah,blah,blah.

He could be Karl Marx  mixed with Che Gueverra and it means nothing. The party is still Mulcair's. This idea that Canada will become a social democracy once the NDP is elected doesn't reflect any form of reality.

Look at Rachel Notley. She's an oil pipe shilling right winger and it's the Alberta NDP's official policy.

Look at most,if not all,provincial NDP governments. Far from progressive. Have you been following the Liberal convention? They are taking over all the progressive policies the NDP should or may unofficially support.

Maybe this is why the Singh is the Second Coming NDP is barely holding their head above 20%. If they expect more support and reach the 30% benchmark,they are going to have to get their act together. Right now they are a hot mess.

There really needs to be a clear-out of the current party bureaucracy, with their jobs being filled by dissident union organizers and people from the social movements...people organizing on the issues(inequality, which can't be organized on without addressing class) that connect with ordinary people's lives.  

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The social movements, all of which target the real issues of huge numbers of ordinary people, can be part of a populist appeal.  It's not as though populism can only be done by people who are distanced from and contemptuous of those who make organizing for causes a major part of their lives.

In both cases, it's about helping the voiceless find their voice, and building coalition among the many.  

 

Mighty Middle

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

For the most part this thread is puke inducing defeatism.

You know why the left does not beat right wing populism?

It doesn't try very often and tucks its head in the folds of its ass asking for mercy and blaming the media.

Because right now Doug Ford can go out and tell people he will eliminated Ontario $300 Billion debt by the end of the year.

And his supporters will believe him (which includes both former Liberal and NDP supporters). Politics is no longer about facts. It is about feelings and emotions.

Which is why facts don't matter anymore. People will believe what their messiah will tell them, even if it is untrue.

Mighty Middle

Here is what Shania Twain (who is from Timmins) says about Trump

"I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/22/shania-twain-unexpected-re...

So that is kind of indicitive of the Ontario mindset right now, even though Shania has not lived in Canada for over 20 years. That whole populist thing again as Shania says

"I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent."

Where people are voting on a "feeling" and not based on facts.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mighty Middle wrote:

Here is what Shania Twain (who is from Timmins) says about Trump

"I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/22/shania-twain-unexpected-re...

So that is kind of indicitive of the Ontario mindset right now, even though Shania has not lived in Canada for over 20 years. That whole populist thing again as Shania says

"I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent."

Where people are voting on a "feeling" and not based on facts.

Who really gives a fuck what that countrified bimbo has to say?

And this continuous ass sucking of Ford is really becoming abrasive.

JKR

Mighty Middle wrote:

Here is what Shania Twain (who is from Timmins) says about Trump

"I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/22/shania-twain-unexpected-re...

So that is kind of indicitive of the Ontario mindset right now, even though Shania has not lived in Canada for over 20 years. That whole populist thing again as Shania says

"I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent."

Where people are voting on a "feeling" and not based on facts.

I think Twain is "authentically" happy paying less in taxes due to the Republican tax cuts for the rich.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It's certainly true that some otherwise undistinguished "populist" politicians acheive electoral success by taking "the low road", and so they may seem unbeatable.  Think, Trump, or possibly Ford (and at any rate, the real Ford). 

But there's some "True Scotsman" in that analysis, in that when someone like Kellie Leitch takes that exact same low road and comes in last, we say "well, she was no populist, if populist shares a linguistic root with popular."

Quote:
I think Twain is "authentically" happy paying less in taxes due to the Republican tax cuts for the rich.

I doubt she'd be calling the water that her hotdogs were boiled in "soup" if Clinton had won.

Sure, it feels good in the belly to write off comments like hers as "right wing greed" or "lack of a soul" or whatever, but then we miss an opportunity to really look at what's really going on.

And I'm not about to proclaim "what's really going on", other than to suggest that it's probably not someone earning 5 million a year reflexively voting for whoever can save them $100K on their taxes.  Was Clinton about to tax "the rich" down to a three-car garage?

cco

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Populist means a party or person seeking to get the support of the ordinary people. - usually, railing against the establishment or elite. It does not mean that there is not mendacity involved. It does not mean they deliver on the promises. It does not mean that the common people would gain. It does not mean that the populists are not the most elite of the elite. They can be sincere or much like a carnival barker, magician or other con artist.

Populism has to do with the communication of the politics not the content of what is delivered.

It's also a very useful label for the media and establishment parties to use to characterize all opposition as motivated by dangerous racism, which they, the gatekeepers, are the only defense against. If you oppose free trade, privatization, and bankers, why, you're the next Trump. Left-right distinctions don't matter once they're done characterizing.

JKR

Shania probably also appreciated Trump's white supremacy. I think Trump did very well among country music fans.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Shania probably also appreciated Trump's white supremacy.

That's a pretty big accusation.  Is it based on things Twain actually said (notwithstanding support for Trump, for other reasons)?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Shania probably also appreciated Trump's white supremacy.

That's a pretty big accusation.  Is it based on things Twain actually said (notwithstanding support for Trump, for other reasons)?

It's based on what Trump actually said but maybe she just likes his comb over?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Shania probably also appreciated Trump's white supremacy.

That's a pretty big accusation.  Is it based on things Twain actually said (notwithstanding support for Trump, for other reasons)?

It's also problematic when you consider that, while Twain is not of First Nations ancestry herself, her stepfather is Ojibway from the Mattigami First Nation, and that she also claimed that she was of Cree heritage on her birth father's side of the family-a claim disputed by her birth father's family.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And I join those who reject the idea that politicians like Trump and the Fords are or were populist.  Demagogues, yes-populists no, because their programs never included any actual measures designed to improve the material condition of "the common people".  

josh

Seemed honest?  Emphasis on seemed is the best construction to put on it.

But yes, I think more people than ever are voting on entertainment value.

Rev Pesky

Shania Twain on Trump:

he seemed honest

All I can tell you from reading this is that Shania Twain is either the most gullible person in the world, or the real reason she (would have - edit) voted for Trump was something other than what she said.

It was absolutely clear during his campaign that honesty was not a plank in his platform, and this was pointed out many times by both Democrats and Republicans.

I think at some point we have to acknowledge that what appealed to voters about Trump was the racism, bigotry, anti-intellectualism and downright vindictiveness of his campaign.

The left generally is hobbled by the fact it cannot take those positions. That, and the clear lack of having achieved promised gains in the past.

Pendulums, as they will, swing, and perhaps there will be a swing towards a more progressive electorate in the future. In the meantime, the best that can be done is to organzie people around specific issues, and have as much effect as possible on public policy.

josh

I guess some people confuse not giving safe, prepackaged talking points with honesty.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

josh wrote:

Seemed honest?  Emphasis on seemed is the best construction to put on it.

It puts me in mind of the old joke of the ancient "Borscht Belt" comic-picture somebody of the George Burns/Milton Berle era, cigar chomped in his mouth-who is approached by an 18-year-old kid seeking advice:

Kid: What's the most important thing in life?
Old Comic:  Kid, the most important thing is sincerity...once ya can fake that, ya got it made.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

JKR wrote:
Mighty Middle wrote:

Here is what Shania Twain (who is from Timmins) says about Trump

"I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/apr/22/shania-twain-unexpected-re...

So that is kind of indicitive of the Ontario mindset right now, even though Shania has not lived in Canada for over 20 years. That whole populist thing again as Shania says

"I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent."

Where people are voting on a "feeling" and not based on facts.

I think Twain is "authentically" happy paying less in taxes due to the Republican tax cuts for the rich.[/quote

Twain has now apologized for saying she'd have voted for Trump:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/celebrity/shania-twain-apologizes-for-sa...

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