June 22nd, 2024

Both left and right need to change to get votes


By Letter to the Editor on August 25, 2021.

Editor:
Thinking about the federal election, I found the following report very interesting. It deals with the question of who votes for whom.
It reports the survey done by an economist Thomas Piketty. It shows that in 1970 the majority of highest earning and best educated voters in most of the western countries supported right of centre political candidates like Christian Democrats, and Conservatives, and Republicans. Meanwhile, the lower earning and the less educated farmers and labourers voted for the left of centre parties like the Democratic, CCF (NDP) in Canada, Labour, and Social Democratic parties.
Forty years later in 2010 however, the same researcher found the rich stayed with the right of centre parties, but the well educated have switched their support to the centre left parties.
Picketty calls the wealthy business class who remained right of centre parties supporters, “Merchants Right,” and the educated who moved to the left, “Brahmins Left.”
As for the less educated and the low income earners, they have switched their support to the right of centre parties. They are found as the core supporters of the populist right-wing causes like the Donald Trump Presidency and Brexit.
What happened during those 40 years? The report does not say.
My guess as an amateur observer is that the “Brahmin Left” felt betrayed by the “Merchant Right.”
The economic meltdown of 2008 had confirmed a suspicion that the market is amoral. The banks exploited the gullible average income public with products like subprime mortgages. Banks failed but were bailed out by government funds because they were “too big to fail.” Meanwhile the average income earners lost their homes, pensions, and life savings.
Even the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, was appalled by the recklessness and amoral behaviours of the financial sector. “Merchant Right” chose profit rather than fairness.
Nevertheless, the middle class youths who joined hippies and anti-war movements safely remained Middle Class.
I have a difficulty guessing what happened to the lower-income and less educated masses who became Trump and Brexit supporters. 
It is possible that they have never embraced left-wing ideology. Their aspiration could always have been joining the filthy-rich class. They might have felt betrayed when they lost jobs and homes while the elitist Brahmin Left remained comfortably middle class in academia, board room, or bureaucracy. They might have concluded that the educated Left are hypocrites and traitors.
As for those in the agricultural sector who joined the CCF during the depression and the 1940’s in Canada, with the shift from small scale family farms to capital intensive mechanized big business, they joined the “Merchant Right.”
If both Left and Right want to take back the lost ground, the Left must learn to talk to those who work in sweat and blood; and the Right must learn the way to appeal to the people who think. 
Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui
Lethbridge

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Fedup Conservative

The conservative MLAs from the Lougheed era certainly knew what happened. The conservatives became Reformers , who you can’t trust, and the educated people saw through them while the uneducated ones were easily fooled by them and still are. It’s how they keep getting re-elected. The uneducated easy to fools ones out number the smart ones, which is how dictators become so powerful.
Ralph Klein’s father Phil and I couldn’t believe how stupid many Albertans were, it didn’t matter what Ralph did to them he still got re-elected. Even Klein’s daughter Angie tried to help us vote him out.
There is another reason why he was allowed to remain in power. Die hard conservatives, including my father stopped voting. They used the excuse that they only voted conservative and there was nothing conservative about Klein and they were right. I was furious with them for not helping us defeat him.
The percentage of eligible voters dropped down to 30s and we were told that it was mainly ignorant seniors who were voting that were fooled by Klein and keeping him in power. Our senior friends who were working at polling stations confirmed that it was mainly seniors they were seeing voting.
People wonder why I keep bad mouth my fellow seniors but it isn’t hard to understand what they have done to us. They have literally destroyed our children’s future.
A young man asked me if I was another one of those stupid seniors who helped Jason Kenney get elected. I told him I certainly wasn’t. He told me his stupid grandparents did. It’s not surprising that these ignorant seniors are giving us seniors, that don’t deserve it , a bad name.
It isn’t hard to understand how stupid they are when you see the ones who hurl their sarcastic comments at those of us who aren’t as dumb as them.

Dennis Bremner

Tad said “Thinking about the federal election, I found the following report very interesting. It deals with the question of who votes for whom.”
But, again, that does not matter to Fedup Con, any political topic posted you skew to Provincial and you call seniors stupid? You can’t read lol

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
Fedup Conservative

I have belonged to a seniors club in Edmonton for 22 years. Lawyers that we have known during those years state that the majority of seniors will agree with you for calling seniors stupid because they know ones who are themselves. My friends and I know that out of our club’s membership of 82 seniors we doubt there are 5 or 6 who wouldn’t agree with me.
Oddly enough yesterday on another blog , a senior told me that him and his 91 year old father agree with everything I say about stupid seniors. His father has two sisters in their late 80s who are still going around singing the praises of Ralph Klein and believing every lie that Jason Kenney feeds them. Their families are thoroughly discussed with them for being so stupid.

The other thing the lawyers taught us is the fact that the seniors who attack me think that I am directing my attacks directly at them because they feel so guilty of what they have done.

So what do you feel guilty about? Supporting Klein, Stelmach, Redford or was it Kenney? Now that you have realized what a huge mistake it was and aren’t man enough to admit you were wrong. We know many others who are man enough to admit it.
Even former premier Don Getty told me that inviting Liberal, turned Reformer Ralph Klein into the Conservative Party was the dumbest thing he had ever done, he was man enough to admit it.

TJohnston

I remember reading U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan’s comments about the Great Recession’s, especially the role played by the deregulation of capital markets. The only thing that surprised me about his observations was that he was surprised.

Les Elford

Tad I thank you for your commentary and agree, political change is absolutely necessary.
I really do not know or understand enough about this subject, but have been obsessed for a number of years now with the sense; there is something just not right with all levels of government within Canada and around the world. I have begun to see, fairly (or not) rightly (or wrongly) striking similarities between politicians and political parties and cults. Since we are now in a Federal election, with a Municipal election in Alberta around the corner and the governing party in Alberta a train wreck. I thought I would pose the question; Have Our Canadian Political Parties Become Cults?
I truly do not have a clue so did some very quick, very basic, very elementary looking at what the internet had to say on the subject.
What is a Political Cult?
“A political cult often has an authoritarian leader who has a malignant narcissistic personality disorder. Such a person claims to have all of the answers and requires blind obedience. Such a person displays an incapacity for empathy nor an ability to sincerely admit making mistakes or harming others. Such a person is a pathological liar and is therefore untrustworthy. Authoritarians create and run organizations which use ideologies that are black and white, all or nothing, good versus evil and us against them.” (end of quote)  (https://freedomofmind.com)

12 Ways Political Parties Are No Different Than Cults (January 26, 2018) by Wes Messamore
“Dr. Michael D. Langone is an American counseling psychologist who specializes in research about cultic groups, and the Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), a tax-exempt research and educational organization concerned about psychological manipulation and cultic groups. He’s been consulted by hundreds of former cult members and their families. Langone helped develop a checklist of Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups as an analytical tool for people to evaluate groups, programs, and relationships”
As yourself if any of the following feels familiar from our current politicians and political parties.
1.“The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.”

2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).The chanting, and slogans, and denunciations help condition party voters to march in lockstep together. “Yes We Can! Yes We Can!” “Drill Baby, Drill! Drill Baby, Drill!” “Four More Years! Four More Years!” “Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!” “Hope!” “Change!” “MAGA!” “I Like Ike!” And denunciation of the other party and its leaders is a major and vital element, just like the “Two Minutes’ Hate” in Nineteen Eighty-Four is an essential tool of control for the ruling party of Big Brother.

4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar, or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity). Power swings back and forth between the parties because the public eventually sobers up, but by the time it does, a new messianic figure is introduced to keep the cultic dynamic in play and the establishment in power.

5. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

6. The leader is not accountable to any authorities. They can engage in all kinds of behaviors that most consider reprehensible and unacceptable, that they can even cheat, that they can even break the law, and do so with impunity, and it’s not good for our society.

7. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group. Just look at how zealous party members talk to each other.

8. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

9. The group is preoccupied with making money.( No comment necessary)

10. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members audited financial statement.

12. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. This is the bread and butter of the two party system, right? Both parties are guilty of inveterate alarmism.“ (end of quote)
All of the above is USA based, however the theory appears relevant for Canadian Political Parties and politicians.
It is said the definition of insanity is; doing the same thing repetitively; over and over and over again and then expecting a different result. We currently are in another election (for some still unknown reason, other than power)
The current governing party expects us to trust and believe they can fix the mess we are in and make life better,  by doing the same things which caused the problem  and who are responsible for creating the disaster we all face in the first place. The same can be said of the Alberta UCP. “Trust us we are here to help”
 So; I have to ask who are the crazy ones; Is it them for expecting us to believe and trust them. Or is it us for potentially believing and trusting them (again) and voting them back in (Liberals, and UCP).
The status –quo does NOT appear to be working and none of these people and their current ideology is the only answer. So yes I agree; “Both left and right need to change to get votes” and do what they are supposed to do.Long ago Abraham Lincoln feared what is currently occurring within political; parties
 I admit it is easy to critique, perhaps there are no easy answers. I know I am not smart enough to have them, but this current system seems very, very broken to me. Perhaps more Citizen Assemblies, or independent members may be able to remedy the situation somewhat. At the very least it may help in lessening the corruption and interference from lobbyist’s and big corporations.

Respectfully;

TonyPargeter

I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that it’s the political right wing everywhere in the world, including current conservative parties here and the GOP in the States that come closest to your definition of “cultism.” Look at their leaders. It’s the Tea party down there and the Reform party up here that took over and transformed what used to be a reasonable right wing into what we now call the “alt right, or the religious right,” which of course ushered in “extremism,” which religion naturally lends itself to…..alternate realities spawn alternate authorities .So even our precious, hard-earned rule of law has to struggle with the ultimate “leg up”–“divine law.”
As for this upcoming election, Trudeau is indeed guilty of being too much of a pugilist, but is far from alone in that; none of his male colleagues in parliament are much different. It’s just wrong that our individual and collective well beings are at the mercy of constant, petty gamesmanship; if only women could have a chance to try and show if they could do at least THAT differently.
So with minority status, Trudeau has been hectored relentlessly for the last two years by the opposition, particularly the always more avid “cons,” all fully enabled by the media. But that minority has actually worked better, creating what most people want, which is more collaboration and just more good governance, period. So that could be seen as the more valid criticism of calling an election, but his observation is still correct; democracy as a concept is at a critical juncture right now because of that cultish, loutish right wing hauling us steadily toward autocracy with new, improved digital tactics to swell misinformation, a.k.a. lies and “big lies,” finding our Achilles heel and manipulating it shamelessly with shocking success. In that evil, dark corner the looming, existential reality of climate change is not recognized, to say the least; it wasn’t even voted as being REAL or worthy of policy by conservatives here at their annual convention. And then there’s the pandemic, which for some perverse reason (and completely unfairly) no one is willing to even give credit where it’s due to the Liberals, but it has been useful in flushing out all the worst of the political right–the freedumb libertarians, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, anti-science, anti-expertise, and generally anti-intellectual thugs lurking there.
So it strikes me as obvious that unless we vote down and marginalize the party of NO as Jon Stewart used to call Republicans, they’ll finish the job they started.

Les Elford

Tony; Thank you for your reply and commentary. Please understand I do not have the answers, but sense something is wrong and needs to be fixed. And yes if there is a will there is a way to start the process of repair. As Tad mentioned earlier, “both the left and the right need to change”
My intent is simply to stir thought and instill dialogue. Especially during this time, when we have the opportunity to speak and create change.

Respectfully;

TonyPargeter

I think you missed my point though. Politics have never been more polarized, and therefore never more clear. One side recognizes climate change and the other does NOT. That’s really all you need to know at this point, unless you don’t “believe” the science either…..

Dennis Bremner

The interesting thing about Canadian Liberals is they seem to weave between left and right of center to garner more votes, to shaft the other two parties. So while Conservatives march up the Right side of Center and NDP the left side, Liberals move back and forth like a drunken sailor sniping both parties platforms.
Ultimately, Canadian Politics could swing Communist if the Communist party stuffed as many bribes in Quebec and Ontario as the Liberals do. So its now no longer a path of ethics and direction its a path of bribes and conflict of interests. Trudeau could rack up another 3-4 conflicts and probably will, but if those conflicts grease Ontario and Quebec, it no longer matters to Central Canadians, as long as they are getting their part of the grease! The silence is deafening!
He who wins Quebec and Ontario, wins the election. So all party leaders try to outdo each other in bribes. The greater the dollar amount promised by a party to these provinces, the greater the chance of winning!
So in the end, left, right, center only matter if you are not being bribed, it would appear?

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
TonyPargeter

That’s a fairly paranoid take, which indicates your own political leanings; conservatives are the conspiracy theorists among us, and the denialists (as I pointed out in the earlier comment, the parties of NO.) What seems to be happening now with conservatives is that many don’t want to admit to that affiliation, (like Erin O’Toole and Blaine Hyggen) which is telling, but it’s still how they think and how they are inclined to vote in the voting booth. It’s like religion; people don’t always want to claim that creed either. Conservatism IS more of a “creed” or a “cult” or a “tribe,” and the closed quality to all those is the problem with them. Liberals or progressives are simply more open, and so are more like modern society. It’s what makes them the “natural governing party” in Canada, 60% of us are progressive leaning, which drives the more regressive 40% crazy.
But the reason that Ontario and Quebec decide Canadian elections is basically a geographical one. Settlement started there because of the St. Lawrence River, so there is a larger population there, and since this is a democracy and the majority rules…..but blaming them or any political party for that is irrational and a bit churlish (which is actually how the entire right wing presents actually.)
And the Liberals appear to move around politically because the line moves and they are trying to consider all views because they have progressive ideas, liberal ideas that they want to put into action, but can only do that with voter support, just like every other political party.

Fedup Conservative

My sister, who spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments, along with conservative MPs at the federal level, has been saying for years that we need to get rid of this party stupidity and run the elections like we do at the municipal levels where people vote for the right person and don’t care what party he or she belongs to. She blames Party Politics for creating the mess we are in and I think she is right.