“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!”
Gratis. No one will listen, however. No one ever listens to me.
Back when he was Liberal leader, I worked for Jean Chrétien.
I was his Special Assistant. I wrote speeches for him, helped out on Question Period, approved his correspondence, stuff like that. I didn’t ever have anything to do with his trips to different parts of Canada, thank God. Other guys did that.
Early on, one story made the rounds in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, however. All of us heard about it, and we didn’t forget it.
Chrétien was out and about in the hinterland – Northern Ontario, I think, but it doesn’t matter. He and his one assistant clambered off the plane, alighted on the tarmac, and they saw It.
It was a limo.
It stood there, all shiny and big and black, a beaming local Liberal organizer beside it. The local organizer had rented the limo to squire the Liberal leader around during his visit.
Chrétien’s face reddened. The assistant stammered. The local organized frowned.
“We will not get in that,” said the assistant, trying to be as nice as possible. “We will wait here until someone shows up with a Chevy or a car like that, please, one ideally made in Canada.”
“It shouldn’t be fancy.”
There may have been some swear words somewhere in there, too, but this is a family newspaper. Suffice to say that all of us who worked for Jean Chrétien – and all of the local Liberal organizers, too – got the message.
The message, per the political bard (Tip O’Neill, natch), is this: in politics, take the job seriously.
When I worked for Jean Chretien in Ottawa, my favourite thing – aside from sitting at The Bosses’ knee, and listening to his war stories, of course – was hanging out on the Summertime Sparks Street mall at lunchtime, eating a hotdog, and reading the New York Times.
Not only was it enjoyable, it changed my life. It was in the pages of the Times, in 1992, that I learned about the “war room” that had been set up by Messrs. Carville and Stephanopoulos and others in Little Rock. I got in touch with them, and the rest is history. The first Canadian political war room in the 1993 election, in which we did alright.
Since then, my love for the Times has never diminished. It is, in fact, the only newspaper to which Lisa and I subscribe.
Why? Here’s why.
It values its writers, and it shows.
It tells great stories. Stories matter.
It contains the best writing you can find for the price.
It is smart and treats its readers like they’re smart, too.
Philosophically, ideologically, emotionally: the political party I belong to, in my head and my heart, is the Democratic Party of the United States. And if I still lived Stateside, that’s the party I would be voting for, and the party I would be working for, 24/7. (Full disclosure: my wife and I are, in fact, volunteering on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign this Summer and Fall in both Maine and New York.)
This isn’t to say, however, that I’m not still a Liberal Party supporter, or that I don’t think the Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party often have good ideas and good people. Notwithstanding their quirks and peccadilloes, I like Canadian partisans a lot. They’re passionate, intelligent, motivated folks – whether they be Grit, Tory or Dipper. They make a difference.
But, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the three main Canadian political parties aren’t all that different. They possess distinctions without differences. Case in point: the 2015 Canadian election campaign – when the New Democrats (with balanced budgets and billion-dollar budgets for defence) moved Right, the Liberals (with deficit spending and pulling out of the ISIS fight) moved Left, and the Conservatives (with their willingness to boot out any candidate who dared raise the topics of abortion or gay marriage) moved away from what they had once been.
In 2015, and before, you needed a magnifying glass to detect dissimilarities between the Canadian political parties. The 2015 campaign was about personalities, not policy, and Justin Trudeau won because he had a nicer personality than the other two guys.
Not so here in the U.S. Here, there is true political clarity. Here, the contrasts are real and readily-seen. Here, there is (and usually is) a clear choice between two starkly-opposed political polarities.
Up in Canada, all of the Canadian political parties often become indistinguishable when they win the privilege of power. In government, they really aren’t all that different. Bob Rae’s New Democrats (appropriately) imposed austerity measures when they ran things in Ontario, Rachel Notley’s NDP enthusiastically (appropriately) supports pipelines and the Oil Patch, and Stephen Harper’s Conservatives (appropriately) spent like drunken sailors in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global recession. And Justin Trudeau’s Liberals (belatedly, but correctly) decided they’d been wrong about ISIS, and have committed Canada to something Harper never, ever did – troops on the ground, in harm’s way.
But here in the U.S.? The Democrats and the Republicans approach governing very differently. The former believe government can be a force for good, and the latter simply don’t. The aforementioned 2008-2009 global recession came about precisely because Republicans eliminated government’s ability to regulate Wall Street’s excesses. Democrats, meanwhile, proudly used government power and spending to clean up the GOP’s mess.
In the U.S., they don’t pussyfoot around with Orwellian Newspeak, like Canadians do on the issue of abortion. Up in Canada, we prattle on about “choice” and play semantic games, calling one side “pro-life” and the other “pro-choice,” so that they almost sound like they believe in the same thing. South of the border, the issue is “abortion,” and you are either for it (like the Democrats always are) or you are against it (like the Republicans always are). I’m for it. Abortion should be safe, rare and legal.
In the U.S., Democrats don’t like capital punishment, and the Republicans do. But Democrats – like me – believe that sometimes the state is entitled to apply the ultimate penalty. When there is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – in the case of Paul Bernardo, say, who tortured and raped and murdered children on film – Democrats reluctantly accept that capital punishment can and should be applied. I do, too.
In the U.S., Democrats don’t particularly like war, while Republicans think it is the solution to every problem. But, unlike in Canada – where our defence capacity has been underfunded and underwhelming for generations, through successive governments of all stripes, and where we depend on other nations to maintain our national defence – Democrats are unafraid to use military might when diplomacy fails.
Thus, Hillary Clinton pushed for the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Bill Clinton led the military effort to stop the Bosnian genocide, and Barack Obama has raised military spending to historic highs – comparatively higher than it was during Ronald Reagan’s Cold War buildup, in fact. Under Obama, for example, Obama’s “surge” of U.S. troops in Afghanistan was double what it was under George W. Bush. Democrats aren’t wimps.
It’s worth noting, at his point, that most Canadians mostly agree with the Democratic position on all of the stuff above. An Ipsos poll showed in February that six in ten Canadian favour abortion “in any circumstances.” For years, in poll after poll, an equivalent number of Canadians – about two-thirds – support the death penalty. And various surveys over the past decade show slightly fewer Canadians support more or stable defence spending – about half.
But, when it comes to taking on the likes of ISIS, as many as three in four Canadians opposed Trudeau’s promise to withdraw from the anti-ISIS bombing mission. And nearly as many want to see more resources devoted to the anti-ISIS fight.
See? I may be Democrat, but the majority of Canadians are, too.
Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats, take note.
Whenever we’d see a Trump bumper sticker, or billboard, or T-shirt, we’d point it out to each other. “There’s another one,” we’d say. Then we’d lapse into silence.
All along highway 90, we were reminded that we weren’t in Canada anymore. It was weird.
And, unlike when we are in Canada – where it’s safe to call Donald Trump a racist and bigot and a white nationalist out loud – we kept our comments to ourselves. At the border crossing in Niagara Falls, in fact, our son implored us to say nothing about Trump. “They have microphones at the border,” he said, nervously, and we did what he asked.
So, as we got deeper into America, we continued to keep quiet about Donald Trump. As our son suggested, it’s hard to know which white person supports him, and which one doesn’t.
Gallup, however, has now given us a useful field guide. As everyone expected, it tends to be older, whiter men. But the assumption everybody previously made about the core Trump vote – me included – is wrong.
Before Massachusetts, I simply assumed – like everyone else – that Trump’s vote was rooted in economic insecurity and resentments. Until Massachusetts, I had bought into all of the Rust Belt theory: he was attracting the support of older white men in the primaries who believed they lost their manufacturing jobs to trade deals, technology and globalization. Until Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of post secondary education in the union, you see. And, in the primaries, Donald Trump won Massachusetts in a landslide.
Gallup has now released a massive study about all of this stuff. The poll makes clear that the number one preoccupation of the Trump vote isn’t the economy. It’s race.
“His supporters are less educated and more likely to work in blue collar occupations, but they earn relative high household incomes, and living in areas more exposed to trade or immigration does not increase Trump support. There is stronger evidence that racial isolation and less strictly economic measures of social status, namely health and intergenerational mobility, are robustly predictive of more favorable views toward Trump, and these factors predict support for him but not other Republican presidential candidates.”
Race, not economy. That’s why Trump called Mexicans rapists and murderers, and that’s why he called for a ban on Muslims, and that’s why he said blacks are the cause of crime. Race. He knew exactly what he was doing in the primaries. It worked.
Being a Canadian, I of course thought that the election and re-election of a black man as president meant that the United States of America – where I lived for years, and which I love – meant the end of racism. I watched Jesse Jackson cry on Election Night in 2008 (I may have too), and I concluded that America had been reborn.
Well, it hasn’t been, and Trump is irrefutable proof.
So too his vote. They aren’t a media construct, either. They aren’t made up. They are real people, flesh and blood. And they feel have been left behind by trade, technology and the times. If we’re being honest with ourselves, they actually have been, haven’t they?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not making excuses. Donald Trump is of course a deranged, autocratic, racist piece of shit. He is the worst of the worst. That is the truth.
But, as we headed South along the turnpike, this also is true: he has awoken a beast. And, after Trump loses in November, everyone will still have to contend with that beast roaming America, upending conventions and common wisdom.
The beast is coming to Canada, too. Just watch. Rob Ford was just the beginning.