Trumpism 2.0 and what it means for Canada
Since Donald Trump became president, Canadian commentators have often blamed Trumpism for unsavory aspects of our own political discourse. Kellie Leitch proposing a test of Canadian values? Trumpism! Québec passes laws to ban religious attire? Trumpism! Will Doug Ford become Ontario’s premier in 2018? Trumpism! And, well, you get the point.
Those shots are vague and prevent us from looking inward and examining how our own politicians and the media ecosystem have contributed to the decline of our political discourse. Furthermore, it often leads us to play down our own internal problems of extremism, such as the problem of white supremacists in the Canadian Armed Forces, or how we tend to push ourselves above our weight when it comes to producing disinformation influencers.
While we shouldn’t blame Americans for all of our problems, it’s naïve to think that what happens in America ends up staying in America, leaving Canadians unaffected. If Trumpism revives in the US in the run-up to 2024, Canada will feel it.
For starters, it’s important to note that Canada has its own contingent of Trump supporters. It’s not exactly surprising that right-leaning Canadians are generally more supportive of right-leaning politicians in the US, as there is likely to be some overlap there. However, you should start to worry when significant factions of Canada’s Conservative Party voters begin to believe the blatant disinformation that Trump and other Republican politicians are peddling, such as the repeated, and factually false, claim that the US presidential election of 2020 was stolen from Trump.
If the disinformation spreader-in-chief starts to escalate things in the coming years, it won’t just be Americans who will be worse off, writes columnist @supriyadwivedi. #cdnpoli
According to a survey conducted by Angus Reid At the end of 2020, 41 percent of conservative voters believed that the US election was unfair and that the results should be challenged. That’s a stark contrast to the 95 percent of Liberal voters and 92 percent of NDP voters who said the election was fair.
And while it’s shocking to think that many conservative voters believe disinformation used to justify an armed insurrection, it shouldn’t be particularly surprising once you consider where conservatives on both sides of the border get their information.
Of course, it’s hard to have an honest and substantive discussion of how information flows are contributing to the demise of our political sphere when much of our legacy political media actively ignores what’s being discussed in conservative Canadian media circles, whether in AM radio or online. outlets like Rebel and The Post Millennial.
A key finding of the Media Ecosystem Observatory report on the Canadian Election Disinformation Project was that one of the predominant areas of misinformation during the 2021 election was allegations of widespread voter fraud: “Many of the claims that were made were similar to the narratives that emerged during and after the US presidential election of 2020”.
I guess it’s much more palatable to our national psyche to pretend that the modern Canadian conservative movement consists exclusively of Munk debates and Andrew Coyne columns rather than fueling conspiracy theories and Trudeau hashtags for treason.
The report highlights that regardless of “widespread misinformation” during the 2021 election, the results were not significantly affected. It also notes that Canada has shown resilience in the face of misinformation and disinformation. It’s okay. But it is not clear how much longer we can achieve this.
Canada has put in place some protective measures that have generally helped avert some of the most troubling aspects of what’s happening in the United States.
First, unlike American Conservatives, Canadian Conservatives have, until recently, largely avoided playing actively with the anti-vaccine crowd. However, once the federal election happened, the conservative think tank apparently decided it could no longer politically afford to be blatantly against disease and death and was no longer ready and willing to fully endorse vaccines. A year later, and the party favorite is happily shilling for end vaccine mandatesand the topic of conversation is to finish “all mandates”, throwing masks into the mix because, why not, I suppose.
Canadians also benefit from increased trust in our public institutions, as well as the mainstream media, but the years of the pandemic have eroded A lot of that
Meanwhile, the polarization in Canada is growingas well as the predictable results that come with it, such as hate crimes and threats to politicians Y journalists. Furthermore, as the report notes, Canadians “increasingly obtain their political information from a variety of unreliable sources,” and given our “high levels of exposure to US-based information, Canada is vulnerable to polarization and misinformation circulating in the United States. .”
None of these factors bodes well for Canada’s future. Past Canadian resilience in the face of American polarization and disinformation should not make us complacent about our future. If chief disinformation disseminator Donald Trump starts to escalate things in the coming years, not only Americans will be hurt, but Canadians as well.