Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Canadians, Donald Trump’s candidacy is no reason to panic
Since the 1990s, the U.S. political roller coaster has often confounded Canadians. Many scoffed when the largest country in the world seemed to be paralyzed for months by the oldest scandal in the world — a married man, Bill Clinton, making time with a younger woman, Monica Lewinsky, who wasn’t his wife. Many were dismayed when the eminently prime-ministerial Al Gore lost to the easily mockable George W. Bush in 2000 — especially because Gore won more popular votes than Bush did. Still, nothing compares to the panic and horror Donald Trump’s candidacy has evoked.
Canadian confusion about the American presidential campaign circus makes sense: most Americans are equally disturbed. This campaign has been one of the most surprising and upsetting clashes in decades, and it has only just begun. Remember the too-long Canadian campaign of 78 days? U.S. Election Day, Nov. 8, is still eight months away.
The United States appears hopelessly divided, with the Republican surprise and the Democratic surprise suggesting the country is being pulled in opposite directions. Bernie Sanders may be the American Canadians most love to love: down-to-earth, earnest, substantive, unstylish, collectivist and socialist in a cuddly, non-Stalinist way. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is the type of American Canadians most love to hate: arrogant, flamboyant, egotistical, jingoistic and demagogic, playing personality politics.
A president Donald Trump meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be even more awkward than Ronald Reagan meeting Pierre Trudeau. When they met in 1981, Reagan wore a suitably statesmanlike dark suit with a conservative striped tie, while Trudeau, looking more Floridian than Washingtonian, wore an open-necked shirt with a tan sports jacket, while sporting a dandyish red rose. (Continued: Montreal Gazette)