For many Canadians watching US politics gives us an insight into the thinking of our southern neighbours. In comparison to us, the left-right continuum picks up much more to the right in the States. But nonetheless there are many similarities.
The current Donald J. Trump phenomenon is providing great entertainment, but it also brings to my mind a local occurrence. You are, of course, no doubt aware of Trump’s growing lead in the race to be the Republican nominee. I suspect you also familiar with his bombastic, over-the-top approach, shoot from the lip style. This seems to be striking a chord with many members of the electorate. At least for now, with the election a long way off.
Here in the Canadian province of Quebec there are those who long for a separate country. They would like to see the province declare independence from Canada. On two occasions we have had special votes – or referendums – on the issue and both times the independence-seeking side has been defeated.
An interesting observation is that when there is no referendum impending, no provincial election on the horizon, pollsters find that support for independence rises . It’s safe to claim how you would vote, when there is no chance of actually voting for some while.
Think of the old joke where a woman asks how much pork chops are and is told 79 cents a pound. She is taken aback and says that the store across the street sells them for 59 cents a pound. The butcher asks her why she doesn’t just buy them across the street.. To which she replies that they are all out of them The butcher then says “Oh I see … Well, if I didn’t have any pork chops they’d be 59 cents a pound too.” It’s easy to claim you would sell something that you don’t actually have for a very low price. You are safe. (Rain-checks aside …)
In telephone surveys and street corner interviews it is easy to express support for The Donald. But it is my belief that when push comes to shove, and the casting of votes takes place in primaries, Republican voters will choose a candidate based on logic, rather than sensationalism. Just my community service. In the meantime Mr. Trump provides much fodder for discussion and good old entertainment.