, 04.17.2018 01:22 PM

Doug Ford, and why the populi like his vox

Abacus (with whom Daisy proudly does work, full disclosure, etc.) has a fascinating poll out about who is in the so-called Ford Nation, what they think, why they think it, etc. etc. It’s here.

Now, in recent weeks/months, some folks have been asking me: “Warren, why don’t you hate Doug Ford as much as me and my friends in the Annex do?  Why do you say nice things about him?”

Well, two reasons.  One, I like him.  I’ve written about why, here.  When I was being used as a human piñata, Doug was the first guy to call me.  In politics, you tend to remember calls like that.

Two, the claim that Doug Ford is Donald Trump is fucking idiotic.  The Doug Ford I know is readily seen here – I encourage you to watch all of it – and he bears no resemblance, in any way, to the Mango Mussolini. (Some days, as I told Evan Solomon on his CFRA show yesterday, I’m not even sure Doug is an ideological conservative.)

Why is Doug winning?  Lots of reasons.  Weariness with the Ontario Liberals.  Suspicion about the Ontario New Democrats plans.  But, mainly, I think it’s because his opponents have greatly underestimated him.  I used to work for a guy, remember, who was underestimated all the time.

And Doug is sort of like that guy, that little guy from Shawinigan.  And, he’s like Ralph Klein, Mel Lastman, René Lévesque, Jean Chrétien. He’s like all of those populist-type politicians who are anti-politicians.  He doesn’t look a matinee idol, he doesn’t use perfect grammar, he sometimes (and often) says the wrong thing.

And people like him/them for it.  They don’t like Doug despite his failings – they like him because of his failings.  Get it?

Don’t believe me?  Check out this Abacus slide.  It tells why he is ahead, and why he is likely to stay there.

Comments are open.


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    Matt says:

    Speaking of the Trump-Ford comparisons, a day after their idiotic tweet about alternative names for Ford’s campaign but, the Ontario Liberal Party twitter posted this:

    Ontario Liberal Party
    Donald Trump says he “loves the blacks.” Did Doug Ford deliberately choose to ignore the black community leaders debate?


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      Miles Lunn says:

      Based on the way the Liberals are behaving, their internal numbers must be really bad as they come across not as a party in a close race, but one well back and is smacking of desperation.

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      Matt says:

      So, apparently this tweet went from idiotic to cluster f–k for the Ontario Liberals.

      First, the original tweet attributed the “loves the blacks” quote to Ford.

      They had remove it, issue an apology and then they put up the above tweet attributing the quote to Trump and tried draw a direct comparison to Ford.

      Now, it appears they had to delete the tweet again because Trump never actually said “loves the blacks”.


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      Pedant says:

      Accusing Ford of racism are they? Yeah like THAT won’t backfire spectacularly.

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        Peter says:

        It will certainly please and reinforce the self-righteousness of voters who already intend to vote for them and wouldn’t vote for the PCs to save their mothers. I doubt it will do much more. I wonder whether they are just opening with racism and are planning to follow up with “stupid, uneducated people” and “angry old white guys”. That’s proven to be such a successful strategy elsewhere, like the States and Europe.

        Sometimes I imagine a lot of progressives wake up in the morning, have a quick coffee and then spend a half-hour admiring themselves in a mirror.

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    Robert White says:

    Doug Ford is speaking in platitudes with no fully released platform planks other than sophomoric knee-jerk memes that will in no way garner the vote on populist rhetoric or substantive argument. Frankly, Doug blew the election outright when he sold every one of his chances to succeed by aborting the baked-in-the-cake Carbon Pricing Tax Plan that Patrick Brown crazy pants had orchestrated via the PC Survey prior to the election launch 2018.

    Carbon based Taxation is a must for governance at the federal & provincial levels all across CANADA, and even the Yanks will eventually realize that they have to buy in or be phased out on Climate Based Taxation planning which is centrally derived, and top-down-on a global scale.

    When people like Doug Ford realize that Carbon Based Taxation is predominantly accepted throughout the world of Environmental Sciences & Life Sciences he will be forced to adjust his thinking. If he does not endorse Carbon Based Taxation he will not win over the unions, or government workers. To add insult to injury he will be dismissed by all the colleges & universities across Ontario too.

    Please tell Doug to release his full platform for the election so that we may subject his rhetoric to peer review, Warren.

    P.S. Great picture of you & the band back in the days. My drum kit was similar. What bass is that in the picture?


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      Miles Lunn says:

      I support a carbon tax myself, but I don’t think this will be nearly as big an issue as some think. Most support the concept of carbon pricing, but as soon as they hear it will mean higher prices at the pump, they come out against it. Otherwise most polls I’ve seen show people want action on climate change, but want someone else to pay for it.

      As for platform, agree he will need one and that could make him vulnerable although to be fair most parties usually only release them after the writ is dropped not before. In BC, where I live now (I lived in Ontario from 2006-2017), the BC NDP released theirs last year on April 14th, 2017, while the election was May 9th, 2017 so only 25 days before the election which would be equivalent to Ford releasing his on May 13th, 2018. In the 2006 election, I remember the Liberals releasing their platform less than 10 days before the election although being in government you sort of had an idea where they were heading.

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      Lyndon Dunkley says:

      The Venn Diagram of potential Ford voters and voters who want more carbon tax has less overlap than HRC voters and Michael Cohen clients.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I will give Ford his due: this election won’t be about preventing Ford from winning. Rather it’s all about stopping Ford from winning. There ‘s a difference.

    Either progressives line up behind the NDP or we lose power, period. Ford is already that much of a powerful political force.

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      Miles Lunn says:

      It’s not just left vs. right, also there is change vs. status quo. Amongst Liberals, definitely most have NDP as second choice according to Mainstreet’s poll but amongst NDP supporters its almost equal with 34% saying Liberals, but 26% saying PCs and with Greens it is 26% NDP, 17% PCs, and 14% Liberals. True Ford is a polarizing figure so will have an easier time uniting progressives than say Elliott would have and also unlike with Elliott, the PCs are unlikely to get close to the 50% mark, although I could easily see them getting in the 42-43% range depending on how the campaign goes and what turnout is like. In 2014 we had a federal Conservative government so at that time the mood seemed to be to go leftward, but now I get a sense there is less of that and will little appetite for a strong rightward shift, I do think the median voter would like a Blue Liberal/Red Tory type platform which no party currently offers. If you look at taxes as well as balanced budgets, public opinion has shifted a fair bit in the last couple of years, just like it did in the previous before.

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      Fred from BC says:

      “Either progressives line up behind the NDP or we lose power, period.”

      That might work on the younger generation who don’t remember the term “Rae Days”…

  4. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Karl-Milton Marx-Friedman says:

    Re; Ford popularity.

    There are a bunch of factors at play here;
    a) winds of change,
    b) Doug is affable,
    c) perceptions of overspending,
    d) The Debt to Vote ratio is too damned high,
    e) cerebral Premier with good messaging but perhaps too academic,
    f) Ford brand recognition (good/bad),
    g) no-nonsense retail politician,
    h) shakes peoples hands,tactile like Clinton,
    i) Ontario Catholics are forgiving of his brother’s transgressions??
    j) ….there a lot of reasons Doug Ford will likely win…

    Put Your Diapers On Because This is How the Liberals Win:

    Really the Liberals should be campaigning on: “Do NOT vote NDP where Tories could win through Splitting the centre left vote”. Make the reasoned choice on election day and “we will create a grand coalition od the centre left.” Drop the ridings that swing NDP and say: “We want our team to vote NDP in riding X etc and you, the kind Dippers of Ontarion, will vote Liberal in riding Y etc.” Sure candidates will be upset but the Queen has to remain on the crown to effect the change we believe in. You don’t even have to get NDP permission, but sign a document that says that NDP MPPs will be absorbed into a new Grand Coalition for Ontario.

    The goal is to send the Tories packing-type campaign strategy. “We know Doug will cut funding.” “We can choose the Ontario we want through strategic voting.!”

    It’s desperate but these are desperate times.

    Hand-shake deal with Horvath next week, <ake her the Minister of Finance in a new coalition.

    Failure to do this and Doug will win a majority.

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      Miles Lunn says:

      With Wynne’s record low approval ratings, the NDP would be crazy to agree to this. This would just smack of desperation for the Liberals and the NDP would be punished for enabling it. People want the Liberals gone and trying to help them to stop Doug Ford won’t work. The NDP’s best hope is voters on their own come to this conclusion and then coalesce behind them. It may work next time around if the Liberals are no longer in power or if the Liberals weren’t so wildly unpopular and the throw the bums out attitude wasn’t so strong.

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    Brian Dundas says:

    You and your reach across the aisle centrism is the reason we will have a Premier who is a buffoon, anti-gay (how many times has Doug marched on pride day?) and someone who will gut the government in the form of the great, trickle down, no taxes Kansas experiment that has gone so well – and warm the planet for good measure. For years the progressive voice in the US was contained in the columns of Michael Kinsley and Roger Cohen. The result? Continued acquiescence and ceding of ground to the right wing ending up with Donald Trump. Thanks for ceding ground and normalizing idiotic reactionaries, Warren. All because he called you. Wow, how susceptible you are to a modicum of charm. That’s pathetic.

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      Matt says:

      Not marching in the Toronto Pride parade = Ford is anti-gay. Gotcha.

      Then why does Doug have an openly gay woman as a senior member of his communications team?

      Lots of gay people I know refuse to participate in any of Pride Toronto events. Gues they are anti-gay too.

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        David Ray says:

        Past is prologue.

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      Miles Lunn says:

      Actually we need more people like Warren Kinsella who can reach across the aisle. Part of the reason people like Trump got elected is you have a society in the US where too many go to their own echo chamber and so rather than doubling down on it we need to move away from it.

      As for Doug Ford in terms of cutting size of government, I don’t think you will see Harris II, more likely it will be like Harper or even like what you have in Quebec right now. Continuously spending beyond what you have year after year will eventually come back to bite you. Now agree Doug Ford may not be the best person to deal with it, but at least he seems to recognize the problem even if he doesn’t have the right solutions, whereas both Wynne and Howarth seem to be pretending it doesn’t exist.

      On taxes, we have to stay competitive and if our rates are too high businesses go elsewhere. Kansas already had competitive rates so cutting further made no sense, but Ontario’s top marginal rate is 53.53% (this is provincial + federal) which is the second highest in North America behind Nova Scotia and would be in the top 7 of the OECD countries. So trying to bring our top rate down to the Canadian average or G7 average is hardly radical. Trying to make it one of the lowest tax jurisdictions is so obviously we will have to wait and see what is in Ford’s platform before commenting on whether the tax cuts are reasonable or excessive.

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      David Ray says:

      For Sale. Used writer. Susceptible to Flattery.

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    Jamie Gilcig says:

    When all your fed is chocolate, even if it’s tasty chocolate, you get tired of….chocolate.

    People know their daily struggles. We see the injustices in our lives.

    For many we know that the status quo will not lead to happiness. The alternative might not either, but sometimes you get to a place that all the spin in the world won’t keep you from wanting change.

    Like the Wizard in Oz, I think that once Kathy is turfed soundly we just might find out how truly bad things have been and if for no other reason that’s enough for real change.

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    Willie P says:

    As Hunter S. Thompson once said about Jimmy Carter: “I like Jimmy Carter. I also like grapefruit, Jack Daniels whiskey and shotguns. That doesn’t mean I want any of those to be President either.”

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