Ford vs. Trump: A tale of two populists during COVID-19
A good piece by Steve Paikin of TV Ontario that touches on a topic I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about.
If you’ve been here before or know me at all, you’re likely aware that I have little use for either Doug Ford or the rest of his Progressive Conservative government. They, much like Donald Trump down south, have been nothing but dishonest, corrupt, inept and harmful during their stints in office. But you might also know that I usually try to be a pretty fair guy, and in the case of Ford, I have to give credit where credit is due.
When this pandemic business got serious in our part of the world, something happened. Doug Ford, the dangerous, vacuous gas bag…changed. He transformed from the oaf he’s been since we met him in the Mayor Rob Ford days into what I can only describe as a person. A person with humanity even. He’s been calm. He’s been rational. He’s been steady. He’s been helpful. He’s even been, dare I say it, almost charming. So much so that when he was on the news yesterday telling a story about his nephew calling him to ask if he’d be able to go camping this year, I shared a nice, friendly chuckle with him. Yes, I’m laughing with Doug Ford instead of screaming at him! What even is this?
But as nice a change as all of this has been, it does beg the question, which Doug Ford is the real one? Has he spent the last ten years putting on an act in order to manipulate a portion of the population into helping him gain power? Has he spent the last month and a half putting on an act in order to manipulate a different portion of the population into helping him keep it? Or has something about our current shared circumstances genuinely changed him for the better?
If you’re not a Ford voter, it’s something worth agonizing over. If he helps steer the province through this and then keeps enacting policies that are actually for the public good, do we…gulp…vote for him in 2022? What if we do and then he goes back to what he was, but now even more emboldened? We would have no one to blame for that but ourselves. We’d have been shown time and time again that his word is no good, but we’d have fallen for it anyway. But if we turf his ass out next election and he goes on to lead a good, public serving life, what ideas might we have cost Ontario?
It’s an impossible question. A complete gamble. And while right now I’m just happy to have multiple levels of decent leadership unlike my American friends, it’s not a gamble I feel particularly good about.