Trumpism has come to Ontario. The highly unpopular movement in the US fueled by social conservatives has reared its head in Ontario politics last night when controversial PC leadership candidate Doug Ford won the Progressive Conservative leadership amidst social media chants of Make Ontario Great Again (MOGA which is ripped from Trump’s Make America Great Again). As the US deals with its social conservative hangover ours in Ontario may just be getting started.
Ford has indicated that he is willing to re-open the abortion debate in Ontario, cut the public service in order to pay for ripping up cap and trade, attacking the working poor by promising to roll back a minimum wage increase, and has in the past compared parents of disabled children to terrorists. Make no mistake, this election in Ontario is about to get very divisive, especially on social media, which is right out of Trump’s play book. Ford can’t move the party to the center, or even the center right without losing the support of his base, so in order to try and secure a path to victory he will bring in wedge issues and try and win the next election by dividing the electorate – the same path Trump took in order to secure his victory – but will it work in Ontario. Probably not.
The one thing that MOGA supporters need to understand is that Trump didn’t win the election by dividing the electorate. Hillary Clinton lost because the left went to Bernie Sanders. Our politics is different than the US. Unlike the US which has 2 major parties, we have 3 and one the NDP that supports Sander’s values which were highly popular in the US. Had the US election been between Trump and Sanders, Sanders would have won by a landslide. Trump’s win in the US has been grossly misunderstood by the MOGA crowd here in Ontario as a coming out moment for social conservatives. Social conservatives feel empowered by Trump’s win because they finally believe they are making inroads into mainstream politics. That doesn’t appear to be the case at all.
The left vote is not likely to split in June which is what Ford would need to secure a victory here in Ontario. The Liberals are so unpopular that the protest vote on the left will likely go to the NDP. Since Ford’s win, I’ve seen a number of PC party faithful suggest they would also be moving their vote to the NDP in June. Ontario has no appetite for Trump north, nor the divisive politics of social conservatism at a time of great economic and global uncertainty. Remember Walkerton? We’ve been watching Trump from north of the boarder and the majority don’t like what they see.