What A Fall Election Means For Trudeau
June 1st, 2020 | JH
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.” - Alexander Fraser Tytler
It’s likely that Trudeau’s Liberals are planning a fall election. If you’re a conservative in Canada, you are likely dismayed and disheartened by recent polls that show Justin Trudeau’s Liberals winning a massive landslide majority if an election were held today. Leger has the Liberals at 44% with the Conservatives down at 25%. Abacus Data has the Liberals up at 39% with the Conservatives down at 31%.
The trend is clear. Since March, the Liberals have dominated the polls across the board. If anything, they seem to be getting stronger and stronger.
There are a few current reasons for this. Covid-19 explains most of it. Some of the so-called, “Rally Around the Flag” effect is in play, so people simply support the party in power during times of crisis. Even though to conservative eyes it looks like the Liberals have been wildly incompetent in their handling of the issue, the general population seems to think the Liberals have done a terrific job! People in Ontario always have their noses pressed against the storefront glass of America as well, and upon consuming Trump Derangement Syndrome-infected US media they are inclined to view our own government’s response favourably. “Better than Trump!” seems to be an Ontario motto.
The Conservatives also don’t currently have a leader in place either. This always degrades low-info voter’s impressions of political parties since personality politics looms large over mainstream opinion. If MacKay or O’Toole were in place properly right now, they could begin to establish themselves and the party in the hearts and minds of people who don’t care about politics. Scheer is just yesterday’s man throwing stones. Nobody who didn’t vote for him cares.
Another big event makes a fall election likely.
The US presidential election. Trump is potentially set to win a second term in November. How much would Trudeau like to compare and contrast himself with Trump? This strategy would be very successful in Ontario since people in that province are obsessed with US politics and are consumed with how we can differentiate ourselves from them. If Trudeau called an election that ran from September through to mid-October, he could use the fear and hate of Trump to his advantage.
Lastly, the NDP is broke. They were already in bad shape in 2019 and had trouble launching a national campaign. Immediately following an election, fundraising tends to decline for all parties…people are just burned out on politics and donations dry up for awhile. All of this combined with Covid-19 is pushing the NDP to the breaking point. Since Trudeau’s brand of Liberalism is basically just NDP plus corporatism…why not go for the knock-out blow? Trudeau would have a good chance at taking 20 or 30 NDP seats. He could finally do what his father intended and absorb the NDP into the Liberal Party, making it permanently more left-wing in the process.
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.” - Alexander Fraser Tytler
People pass this quote around whenever their preferred political candidate doesn’t win an election. Most people use this quote to try to activate people into action. They either implicitly or explicitly suggest that we are at the stage of apathy and that we can correct course by getting involved and start voting!
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The deeper problem is that our society has moved from apathy to dependency. All this free money being sloshed around has functioned as a moral hazard. Is there any doubt that the progressive appetite for a Universal Basic Income hasn’t been whetted by the CERB payments? Replacing CERB with some kind of UBI is the biggest part of the agenda, but aside from that we’ve also had payments to seniors, increased payment under the Canadian Child Benefit, subsidies for wages for businesses, targeted payments for groups like urban natives, and enormous amounts of liquidity pushed into the system helping to prop up everything. This is the nanny state on steroids.
We’re assured that this is all just temporary, but as Milton Friedman said, “There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary government program.”
When our economy fails to roar back to life or these “temporary” relief programs begin ending, watch the public demand more support. Justin Trudeau will be only too happy to provide it. This is the main reason we will likely be looking at an election this fall. The opportunity is too good to pass up.
The Liberal campaign will be based around giving people what they want. Literally purchasing people’s vote will be the platform for Justin’s re-election. He can afford to do this since Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio will be 48.4% in 2020-2021. This is much higher than where we’ve been recently, but still roughly where the country was back in 2000. This time, however, interest rates are way lower so the ease of piling on more debt is lighter.
It’s going to be a long and rough recovery and tough choices will have to be made or foisted upon us down the road. The best time to ensure longevity of power is to campaign before the grind sets in. Before people begin scapegoating the current government for everything. Before the big payments become unwieldy and unrealistic. Better to run a positive campaign this fall and grab a four-year majority than wait for the sunny days to wear off and be at the mercy of the opposition deciding to hold an election at the worst possible moment.
"The deeper problem is that our society has moved from apathy to dependency."
An election this fall would leave no time for Erin O’Toole or Peter MacKay to make a big mark on the general public. They would still be establishing themselves as party leader and immediately be forced into election mode. This was the same tactic Jean Chretien successfully used against Stockwell Day back in 2000.
Don’t be surprised if we see Trudeau criss-crossing the country this summer in a pre-campaign celebration of Canadian values, government cash and control. The people will love it and they’ll love him. Come October, watch for a landslide Liberal majority fuelled with borrowed money and progressive platitudes. People in Ontario will shout, “We’re not Trump!” and cash their government money in order to buy their government cheese. It’s a long time until the hangover arrives, so don’t worry…be happy. Vote Liberal!
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