Why Conservatives Can't Crack Urban Ridings
November 1st, 2021 | JH
Conservatives have once again failed miserably at gaining votes and seats in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. The usual talking heads repeat the usual advice about what needs to happen in order to win over people in those high population centers. It usually consists of “moving to the centre” which means “moving to the left”. Putting aside the fact that Erin O’Toole did exactly that in the last election and still failed miserably, we need to be honest about why conservatism doesn’t sell (and never will) in those big cities.
The Nature Of Big Urban Living
Crushing millions of people together in urban settings can have a detrimental effect on humanity. Much like James Calhoun’s mouse utopia experiment, big urban living can corrupt and degrade and dehumanize. As Thomas Jefferson put it…
“The mobs of great cities add just so much to support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body…I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get plied upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe…I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man.”
Reams of people affecting group think and trying to manage one another is the progressive outcome of too many people being together for too long. Micromanaging people’s lives is the consequence of dense living in which everyone’s actions directly affect one another. This is authoritarian socialism organically expressed. People become ants needing to be orchestrated for the purposes of order. The psychology of this type of living becomes internalized making things like freedom and personal responsibility, alien and unnecessary.
When you get into specific policy prescriptions like gun rights for example, a rural voter imagines a man and his son duck hunting, while an urban voter imagines a gang member with a sideways held handgun. It’s difficult to bridge these two worldviews and it requires issue education on behalf of urban voters. If you need to educate voters before they vote for you, you are going to lose.
Speaking of education, we are often told that the more educated someone is the more they veer left in their worldview. Ten years in university? You’re a smart progressive voter! Drop out in grade 10 in order to work on the rigs? You’re a dumb conservative voter! Therefore, the smarter you are the more likely you are to vote for progressive political parties!
That’s the spin on the education angle.
What’s actually happening is that highly educated people tend to get indoctrinated at institutions of higher learning. This can happen cynically by means of cultural Marxism or organically with the occurrence of luxury beliefs. In short, educated people tend to move left because they’ve been taught to do so by progressive activists, or they desire to do so because they are aspirational status seekers.
In the first case, as Michael Malice puts it, “It’s easier to train a smart dog than a dumb dog” and the progressive hegemony that is pushing leftist culture is very sophisticated about doing the training. They indoctrinate in order to attain power and influence.
In the second case, people just follow the herd because progressivism is hegemonic and top-down, and they aspire to become status elite, or at least to signal that they are on the right side of the status elite.
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Where does this indoctrination and elitism tend to reside the most?
In big urban centers like Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. These cities are power centers for universities, governments and corporations, the trifecta of progressive modernism.
Conservatism doesn’t sell here because it’s contrary to the progressive clubhouse culture. The ruling elites hate conservatism (even though they privately live more conservatively than they publicly admit. (In Malice’s words, preach the 1960s, but live the 1950s.) and their hatred trickles down to the managerial class aspiring to elite status. All of these people are “educated” in systemic professions that are thoroughly marinated in woke progressiveness.
They will never vote for a conservative party unless they have some sort of David Mamet-style conversion.
Urban women tend to be young and single and self-select for the type of progressivism that we associate with urban life. The Conservative Party identified them as “Zoeys” when they tried to reach out to this group back when Harper was in charge.
They are childless and professional and educated. Social standing is more important to them than reason or logic and they use their political views as a form of moral signalling. It’s all about broadcasting that they are a good person, which runs contrary to conservatism’s more practical and sometimes harsh reality-style beliefs.
I was once a part of a non-profit group run almost exclusively by these types of women. (I was young and single…give me a break!) What quickly became apparent was how naïve they were about the harshness of life. They wanted to help homeless people without ever being around homeless people. I had been around homeless people…a lot…and had a much harder view of them, as anyone who has experience does.
Nevertheless, these girls were very Oprah in their ideology. It was more about making themselves feel good about their intentions than about doing anything real. That sums up urban progressive women and their voting habits.
They vote progressive because they want to signal themselves as caring and good-hearted and conservatives can’t talk or reason them out of that. Voting progressive is a female fashion statement for fabulous big city gals.
Immigrants are mostly non-Western these days and this has been the case for decades now. They also tend to congregate in big urban areas where they can find enclaves of people like themselves from their home country so as to build a support network and a sense of community within Canada.
Their numbers in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are enormous compared to the rest of the country. This gives them a huge voice when it comes to elections.
So why do they all vote left?
First of all, immigrants are new to our system and they don’t know the parties or the histories in the same way that average Canadians do. Actually, scratch that, average Canadians don’t know anything either, but what the “Old Stock” think they know comes from living in Canada for decades on end and following patterns and habits as a result.
Since immigrants are new and feel somewhat like outsiders, they tend to react to social cues much more heavily than Canadian-born residents. They look around and pick up attitudes and notice lawn signs and try to adopt what most people in their community already embrace in order to be a part of the in-group.
My neighbours in Alberta are from South America and they voted Conservative and they made sure to let people know it. People in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal do the same thing with Liberals. They follow the herd.
Secondly, most immigrants are from non-Western countries and cultures. There’s an argument to be made that the very notion of conservatism within Western democracy harkens back to a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant culture.
When Winston Churchill proclaimed the glories of democracy during World War II, it didn’t occur to him that his audience in the non-white part of the empire would take it to heart. He talked about the little Englishman going into the little booth and using his pencil to cast his ballot and wasn’t this very wonderful? The unstated implication was that the rest of the non-white empire had to obviously be governed via the British Empire institutions with appointed governor generals or Viceroys and the like. When democracy spread throughout the empire, the results were…mixed.
We’ve seen most recently what happened to the Middle East when the democracy of the Arab Spring spread throughout the region…with horrific results.
"These cities are power centers for universities, governments and corporations, the trifecta of progressive modernism."
Perhaps the reason conservatism doesn’t sell in immigrant-rich communities is simply because conservative principals don’t appeal to non-WASPs in general. Most non-WASPs immigrating to Canada come from countries with thoroughly corrupt democracies or various types of overbearing autocratic, Communistic, or even despotic governments. The very idea of “government” is that a good government is one that “takes care of you” and “gives you lots of stuff” and a bad government is one that doesn’t.
The long and winding history of Western democracy via Great Britain, through to the establishment of the United States and dismantling of the British Empire after World War 2, left us with a lot of experience and literature regarding civic duty and freedom and separation of powers and blah, blah, blah. None of that stuff matters to a non-Western immigrant that arrives in Canada for economic opportunity and likes the politician that offers them the most free stuff.
Didn’t Harper win a majority by sending out Jason Kenney to do the “curry in a hurry” thing? Didn’t they win immigrant ridings by aggressively reaching out and making friends? Isn’t this all that needs to be done? (If so, why did they stop trying? Or did they?)
More likely, Harper’s 2011 win was simply an accident. Jack Layton split the progressive vote. The plurality of Old Stock whites in those immigrant ridings likely allowed a one-off win. Conservatives haven’t really been able to win in these ridings (apart from Vancouver to an ever diminishing respect) since before Mulroney began the age of mass immigration in 1990. The losses were dismissed throughout the 90’s as a right-wing vote split and from 2000-2010 it looked as though the Conservatives would never muster a win better than an extremely weak minority. 2011 was a fluke and the natural results of 21st century Canada have been presenting themselves to us ever since. Conservatives have a hard ceiling of about 130 seats and it’s likely going to get worse.
So, there’s four reasons the cards are stacked against conservatism in urban ridings. Urban ridings are antithetical to conservative principles; the people are progressively indoctrinated via education; there are too many leftist women peacocking their progressivism; and the ridings are constantly growing with non-Western immigrants who relate to government the same way kids relate to Santa Claus.
What can be done?
Probably nothing. Erin O’Toole cucked the Conservative Party harder than it has ever been cucked, and it didn’t matter. Maxime Bernier barely made a dent in those cities.
Perhaps another fluke will happen,personality politics may come into play (imagine a celebrity CPC leader like Don Cherry or Ryan Reynolds), or an untenable scandal may allow the extremely cucked CPC another weak minority once or twice, but fundamentally it doesn’t matter. Centre-right parties haven’t been capable of winning heavily urban ridings in generations… what’s going to change now that progressivism is hegemonic and immigration rates are being cranked up to 400,000 a year?
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