This September has turned out to be a surprisingly busy month for elections – here in the U.S., and around the world. On Monday, Canada concluded its own national parliamentary election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau actually called this early snap election in the hopes of regaining a majority for his vaguely center-left Liberal Party in Parliament. Then as the campaign kicked off, the opposition Conservatives started to feel some wind at their backs due to the perception of public backlash over Trudeau’s snap election gamble.
Trudeau sought to make the election a referendum on his government’s relative success at containing COVID-19 and driving up vaccinations, while Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole projected a more moderate and inclusive image in the hopes of winning back voters who ditched the Conservatives when they took a more far-right turn in the previous two elections. But even as O’Toole sought to serve more Gen Z friendly aesthetics, the gruesome combination of his own party’s provincial leaders’ flip-flops on COVID-19 public health safety and O’Toole’s struggle to reconcile his own moderate persona with the bulk of his party’s more far-right positions on issues like gun violence, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ civil rights, and climate change resulted in a sort of “reverse triangulation” where the Liberals and the more leftist New Democratic Party (NDP) hit the Conservatives from the left while the more openly fascist People’s Party of Canada (PPC) hit them from the right.
The end result of all of this? Canada will have another Liberal minority government where the Liberals will likely have to continue to depend on the NDP’s cooperation to stay in power and pass legislation. Trudeau got chastened for demanding Canadians’ votes without making enough of a case on why the Liberals earned the right to a majority government. The Conservatives got giddy over some public polls showing them in a prime position to form the next government, but ultimately their own befuddled attempt to have it both ways with the far-right bit them on both ends. The Liberals instead have first dibs on forming the next government, but they will have to contend with the more progressive demands of the NDP just to keep what they already had before this election.
Does any of this sound familiar yet? California, here we come again. Even closer to home, we can see some ideological “family resemblance” with Nevada gubernatorial candidates Dean Heller (R) and Joe Lombardo (R) seemingly attempting here what Erin O’Toole just tried and failed to accomplish in Canada. And just as Trudeau had to “f–k around and find out” by calling this election and finishing with another minority government, President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats have yet to make more of a case to American voters that they’re doing enough to justify another two years of a federal “trifecta” government.
Obviously, America’s political system differs from Canada’s in multiple and significant ways. However, the global realignment seems to be taking hold and forming similar contours across international borders. As much as we love to brag about how much #WeMatter, we may not be all that unique any more.
Image provided by the Office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, licensed under Creative Commons, and made available by YouTube and Wikimedia