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Across the Western world, populism is on the rise.
After years of misrule by the elites, more and more people are waking up to how severely the system has been rigged against working class Canadians.
We can see it all around us.
In many nations, conservative parties are finding new success by embracing many elements of populism, particularly on issues like immigration, renewing the meaning of citizenship, and uniting people around patriotism, rather than identity politics.
Additionally, the most successful conservatives have combined a focus balancing budgets with an aspirational abundance mentality, giving people hope that a vote for a conservative candidate would give them the opportunity to achieve a new level of financial freedom and security in an increasingly uncertain world.
We hear many of the same forces propelling populism at work in Canada, with clear majorities of Canadians saying they feel the system is rigged against them, feel society is broken, and oppose the large immigration increases being brought in by the Trudeau Liberals.
With the rising power of alternative media, and a conservative base that is becoming more prominent among working class people, the potential is there for a political re-alignment in Canada.
And a leadership bid by Pierre Poilievre could have been a key part of turning that potential into reality.
Poilievre had managed to effectively win over much of the Conservative base with his tough, combative approach, while also not taking positions that would have rendered him unelectable. He was forging a new political style, someone who is resolutely conservative, opposes Trudeau, fights back against the biased media, utilizes social media effectively, while also ensuring the Conservative Party remains open to all Canadians.
It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but Poilievre was successfully walking it.
But now, with his announcement that he won’t run, his unique approach will be lost, at least this time around.
Of course, we can imagine that Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole will end up being able to walk the same tightrope effectively.
Yet, based on the reaction to Poilievre’s announcement, it’s clear that many people feel something significant has changed for the worse.
As we know, whoever the Conservatives run will get demonized as “far-right”. As I note in the Tweet below, they’re already starting up against MacKay:
The establishment press will let someone run as a “moderate conservative” until the actual election, then they’ll demonize the sh*t out of them.
That means any Conservative leader will end up having to fight back strong against the establishment media if they hope to win, and that also means they need the strong and resolute support of the Conservative base behind them.
Poilievre’s communication skills and tough approach showed that he could achieve that, and you can tell that many people worry that skill set has been lost with his departure from the race.