— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016
“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”
- The Washington Times
“One of the best books of the year.”
- The Hill Times
“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”
- National Post
“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”
- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV
“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”
- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics
“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”
- Huffington Post
“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”
- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio
“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”
- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory
“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
“I absolutely recommend this book.”
- Paul Wells, Maclean’s
“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”
- Calgary Herald
PUNTA NIZUC, MEXICO – A wall.
The reason? Mexicans are “rapists,” he says. “Murderers,” too.
Now, like everyone else, Mexicans have been transfixed by the ongoing psychodrama that is Donald Trump. They’ve watched, for months, as a horrified Republican establishment – and then a perplexed and/or concerned Democrat establishment – have tried to come to grips with Trump’s undeniable momentum.
They’re not big fans. Former Mexican president Vincente Fox called Trump “racist and ignorant” for what he said about Mexico. He said Trump’s anti-Mexican insults – which the short-fingered vulgarian has repeated over and over – were “disgraceful and highly offensive.”
“He thinks building the ‘Trump Wall’ will right every wrong in the United States,” Fox said. “Indeed, he’s built a huge mental wall around himself already, which doesn’t allow him to see the greatness of our people.”
And Mexico is indeed great. It was the place where five complex civilizations came into being thousands of years ago – and several centuries before pink-skinned (or, in Trump’s case, orange-skinned) Europeans arrived. The Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Aztec indigenous peoples were innovating in architecture, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and theology while Donald Trump’s ancestors were still dragging their hirsute knuckles around in what would later become Rhineland Germany.
(Oh, and on Trump’s German antecedents: Vincente Fox said that the putative Republican Party nominee reminded him of Adolf Hitler. We note, without comment, that Hitler had a deep, documented affinity for the birthplace of the Trump family name. Draw your own conclusions.)
Anyway. It’s hard to spend too much time thinking about a subject as ugly as Trumpism, in a place as beautiful as this. But, as his team’s sturmabteilung march gets closer to the prize in Cleveland, we need to. Can he be stopped? Can he be beaten?
Take it from visiting Canadians, Mexican allies: Trump-style politicians can indeed be beaten. Up in the frigid North, we had extended exposure to a variant on the Trump genus: former Ford Nation.
Ford Nation, many Americans will perhaps recall, was just as offensive, and just as bigoted, and just as out-of-control as is Donald Trump. Despite all that, its champion Rob Ford won a landslide victory in the mayoral race in Canada’s largest and moost diverse city in 2010 – and his brother Doug very nearly repeated the feat in 2014. Rob, in particular, would go on to become the most famous Canadian. But for all the wrong reasons.
Ford denied smoking crack cocaine, then admitted he had indeed smoked it while in office. He denied drinking and driving – and reading and driving – but those things turned out to be true, too.
He used racial epithets to describe non-white Torontonians, who form a majority in that city of some five million. He said and did awful things – on one occasion bowling over a female councillor who got in his way, and on another occasion extending his middle finger to a child. He swore at people. He got drunk in public.
Mexicans heard all about Rob Ford because, for a time, he was the most famous Canadian who ever lived – more famous that Michael J. Fox, Celine Dion and Arcade Fire all put together. He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel. He was name-checked in late-night talk show monologues. He was international news – day after interminable day.
Mexicans observing the Trump phenomenon with dismay will be sadly familiar with how too many Toronto voters initially reacted to Rob Ford. Instead of denouncing him, they laughed at him. Instead of seeking his ouster, they indicated they would be willing to vote for him again. Instead of opposing him, they lined up to get selfies taken with him – or they stood in queues to purchase his bobble-head doll, conveniently sold right out of the Office of the Mayor of Toronto.
Pundits and politicos roundly and angrily condemned Rob Ford, naturally. Political panel talking heads would intone – again and again – that, this time, he had gone too far. That he was finished.
But with every elite dismissal – with every op-ed from yet another pointy-headed intellectual – Ford Nation only grew more popular. A large segment of Torontonians loved how Rob and Doug Ford enraged the establishment. They weren’t horrified by their outrageousness – they were drawn to it.
Ford Nation voters, in the main, were angry, older white men living in Toronto’s inner suburbs. They lacked post-secondary education and riches, but Rob Ford was their guy. The more the media and the elites attacked him, the more they liked it. Sound familiar?
Rob Ford became a lot less popular. He started to lose. Because Torontonians had become weary of all the drama, all the time.
When the city’s 2014 municipal election rolled around, Ford Nation’s principal challenger turned out to be a calm, thoughtful, inoffensive former business executive named John Tory. Tory – against whom, full disclosure, I had briefly campaigned with another canddiate – was the embodiment of wholesome Canadianess. Compared to Ford, he was a bit boring. He was a little bland, even. He was nice.
And it worked. He won.
Many years earlier, Tory had been chief of staff to the long-serving Ontario Premier, Bill Davis. Davis famously personified the “bland works” formula, and always did his utmost to be as unexciting as possible. Tory, a smart student, did likewise. He beat Ford Nation, and rather decisively, too.
Politicians (or, more accurately, anti-politicians) like Rob Ford and Donald Trump are cut from the same cloth. They have no legislative accomplishments to speak of. They have no overriding policy goal. They simply are the ultra-conservative millionaire sons of million fathers. So, to get noticed, they talk LOUDER. They are more OUTRAGEOUS. They say things NO ONE ELSE WILL.
The Ford Nation movement was defeated – just as Trump’s can and will be beaten – for this reason: after a while, average folks simply get tired of being at the circus all the time. After a while – and even if they distrust or dislike government, as many Canadians and Americans and Mexicans increasingly do – they just want to go home, watch TV, and not hear from politicians anymore. Particularly the shouty ones – who don’t know how to do anything but, you know, shout.
Want to defeat Donald Trump, North America? Don’t be outraged and offended all the time. Be Canadian instead: wear him down with civility and honesty and decency.
Trump, like Ford, won’t know what hit him.
Wall or no wall.
Ten years ago today, Daisy Group opened for business in Yorkville. We’re still here (as a business, and in Yorkville, too).
Ten years late, I will confess this much: I was nervous as Hell on that day, and on the days leading up to it, too. I had four little kids and one big mortgage, and I couldn’t afford to fail. I’d been a journalist at the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen, a partner at a Bay Street law firm, and Special Assistant to that Jean Chrétien guy – but there’d always been someone else responsible for the payroll. Not me.
Well, on May 1, 2006, I became the one who would be held accountable. I signed for that loan, personally, and I was responsible for the half-dozen terrific people who had put their trust in me. You want fear? Try laying awake at night, worrying about payroll for your start-up small business. That’s fear.
We’re still here for two reasons, I think. One, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with some simply extraordinary people over the past decade. They have been (almost without exception) truly exceptional. There’s one who started as a Summer student, and is now a senior lawyer at the biggest law firm in the country. There’s one who is the Chief of Staff in one of the country’s biggest municipalities. There’s a few who became parents, which is no small achievement, too. There’s several who became senior advisors to Prime Ministers and Premiers and cabinet ministers. There’s that one who just recently left us, to take up a full scholarship at some university overseas – Oxford or something.
We’re also here because of our extraordinary clients: 3M, who have been here with us from the very first day. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, and the Carcross-Tagish First Nation, who have been with us for years. Twitter. Catholic, Jewish and Muslim advocacy groups. The two largest school boards in the country. All kinds of animal welfare groups. Environmental causes. Lots of Liberal Party stuff, at all levels. Dozens of individual candidates. Farmer’s groups. The Department of Justice and Indian and Northern Affairs. Bar associations, law firms. People who needed help, and quite a few pro bono cases along the way, too.
Apart from becoming a Dad – and apart from becoming partner to that Lisa person, who works here now, by the by – starting the Daisy Group was the best thing I ever did. It gave me the freedom to be me, which is something that is, per the cliché, priceless. (It’s given me not a few gray hairs, naturally, but that’s a story for another day.)
Anyway, here’s a snapshot of May 1, 2006 – scroll to the bottom. (Stéphane Dion came to visit, no less.)
Can’t believe a decade has gone by. And the Daisy Group is still here. Happy birthday to us!
I’m not going to dispute the findings. It looks like serious people doing serious work. But, for the demographic particle that is me, it doesn’t add up.
I’m obviously an early adopter to this Internet thing and the Internet’s bastard children – Facebook, Twitter, blah blah blah. This here web site, which existed before the word “blog” did, has been around for 15 years and attracts 3.5 million visitors a year. I’m maxxed out on Facebook friends, and I’ve got 21,000+ Twitter pals. And so on.
Those figures don’t indicate that I have anything particularly novel or revelatory to say, of course. They simply suggest I’ve just been doing his stuff for a long time, and I’m a known quantity. I’m not a human being, I like to tell my family, I’m a web site.
My Internet doings have gotten me business, lost me business, and gotten me in trouble. There was the “baking cookies” incident of a decade ago, there was the barbecued cat incident of 2009, and there was the “segregationist?” thing in 2014. (I’m always intrigued that two of the Big Three concerned food. Food is political, I’ve decided.)
Those gaffes aside, nobody has ever successfully sued me over the web site. There’s a Law Society complaint against me by Andre Marin and his cabal, but I haven’t lost a minute of sleep over that one. I usually get the last word on stuff like that, and I reach more eyeballs than most newspaper columnists in Canada. Marin and his chums are about to learn that the hard way.
Anyway. I’ve reached this observation, in a typically long-winded fashion: for me, this Internet stuff has worked out okay. It has been good, even. It’s been good because I’ve gotten to meet folks like you. Sounds corny, but it’s true.
Case in point: a few days ago, the misses and me were at the wonderful Salad King on Yonge. We were going to Canadian Tire to get stuff to clean the deck at Daisy. (Daughter Two was going to scrub it for us, you see, in anticipation of the big Daisy tenth anniversay party on June 7. She earned her pay.)
So, there we were, and a group of young guys came up to us. One asked me if I was Warren Kinsella.
I usually say: “That depends. Do you work at Revenue Canada?”
I didn’t this time. I stuck out my hand. “Yep. That’s me.”
He shook it and introduced himself. “I have all your books and read your stuff online every day,” he said.
I said what I always say: “Well, you shouldn’t do that.” Gets a laugh, usually.
We talked a bit more and the young guy and his friends moved on. We returned to our spring rolls.
Anyway. Here’s the point: if it wasn’t for the web site, if it wasn’t for social media, I would have never met that young guy. I would’ve never talked to him. I was grateful, therefore, that he considered my musings had some value, and that he said he enjoyed reading them. I was happy we’d met.
Another example: my new friend Mohamed Elibiary. We got together for the first time a few days ago. Mohamed is a Texan, a Republican, a proud Muslim, and an expert in de-radicalizing Muslin youth. We met on Twitter and hit it off. He is an amazing and fascinating guy (who despairs of Trump, by the way).
But for social media, but for the Web, we likely would have never met. We would never have become pals. Just like the kid at the Salad King, and tons of others. Tons.
That – for this Internet participant, at least – isn’t depressing. It’s good. It’s positive. And, I think, it’s made my world bigger.