30 May 2017

Andrew Scheer's Social Conservatives

Looking at an article about the recent leadership election election for the Conservative Party of Canada, it's interesting to see that a significant number of the votes for the 'social conservative' candidates came from the Greater Toronto Area, specifically the separate city of Mississauga (where the airport is) and the visible minority bastion of Scarborough, a suburban district on the opposite side of Toronto from Mississauga. (Mississauga also has a visible minority majority.)

The Canadian obsession with America's navel is a problem, I think, in understanding what is going on. In their haste to identify Canada's Trump (Kellie Leitch! Kevin O'Leary!), they overlooked that while there might be Trump voters in Canada, there isn't an actual Trump, so the coalition Trump assembled is more diffuse and, at its root different, because Canada is a different country

While all the focus has been on rural voters in the United States coming out in bigger numbers, and urban voters in smaller ones (the exchange that cost Hillary Clinton the election), the real battleground remains the suburbs. The Clinton campaign was geared to detaching Republican women voters from the Trump candidacy. It failed. The Andrew Scheer campaign was geared to the election-winning formula deployed by Stephen Harper, of not doing too much for any faction that would be costly in terms of potential voters. It succeeded. In both cases the suburban voter was the target.

Suburban interests have carried the greatest weight in politics in the Anglosphere for many decades now, at least since the late 1960s. Despite the 'revival' of urban living in the last couple of decades, there is no indication that in national elections the political calculus has changed. However, it is possible that governing has. But that's another topic.