From time to time, I have been asked if I am concerned about what is going on in the United States with Donald Trump and if we as Canadians should be worrying about it. The short answer for me on both counts, is yes. And the reason for that is that Trump is just the lightning rod for a phenomenon that goes much deeper than that.
A headline on a recent story in the Globe and Mail written by Andrew Coyne said “The problem isn’t Trump – It’s the willingness of so many Americans to support him.”
I can agree with that. Donald Trump has become the rallying point for all those that have, for one reason or another, come to distrust many of the institutions of democracy, the government, the courts, the mainstream media, and so on. He has become an absolute expert at stirring the flames of discontent.
In his article, Andrew Coyne alludes to that when he says, “But I think the bigger part has less to do with what Mr. Trump is, than (with) what he is not. It isn’t so much that he ‘fights’ that matters as (much as) what they see him fighting against, which is to say virtually every principle, precept, rule or value of American life, together with every institution or authority responsible for upholding those rules and values.”
For those of us who still respect the lessons of history, rather than trying to rewrite them, there is, perhaps with different circumstances, a shocking resemblance between what happened in Germany just before Adolf Hitler came to power and what is happening now in the United States. In my view, it is nothing less than unspoken revolutionism.
Donald Trump is working hard to be seen as a martyr in the United States and it is working for him. In spite of enormous evidence to the contrary, at least 70 per cent of registered Republicans believe, or are prepared to say they believe, that he actually won the last presidential election. A higher number than that are committed to voting for him in the next election, and in that one, the one in 2024, current polls are showing Trump and President Joe Biden virtually tied.
So far, former President Donald Trump is facing three criminal trials with a fourth one likely coming down the tube this week. Every time one of these indictments came down, Trump’s polling numbers went up. They will likely go up again if the State of Georgia charges him with election interference.
Donald Trump is dining out on this. He is playing the martyr card, (shockingly, with the support of some evangelical churches) to the fullest extent possible, telling the American people that he is going through this for them, raising millions upon millions of dollars, taunting the justice system, and daring those that oppose him to come after him.
“You come after me and I will come after you”, Trump recently threatened in a post. The man is not stupid. He knows that will bring more sanctions on him and he is looking forward to them. He also stated recently that one more indictment (the one coming from Georgia) would guarantee that he would be elected President again in 2024. I shudder to think he may be right.
Of all the charges against Donald Trump, the ones I think are the most important are those related to election interference and the attempts to change the results of the 2020 presidential election. The others simply add fuel to the accusations by some, that all of this is a witch hunt against the former president. I believe that was a poor strategy.
Election interference and its consequences, if proven in court, is nothing less than an insurrection and a coup, and a distinct move away from a democratic process to a more despotic one. The shocking thing for me is that so many Americans either support what Trump is doing or dislike any alternative so much, that they don’t care.
They don’t care that Trump is a pathological liar, a bully, and soft on countries like Russia and China. They see nothing wrong with Donald Trump telling Mike Pence, his Vice President, that he was “too honest” because he refused to interfere with the voting process by the Electoral College. The antithesis of that, I guess, is sometimes it is okay to be dishonest – and that coming from a President of the United States.
Surely, on the face of it, this man has no place anywhere near a seat of power. Republican Liz Cheney said that first and I agree with her. But many millions of people in the United States feel otherwise and that is what provides Donald Trump with power; people who want change at any cost.
There is a real chance that Donald Trump can once again become President of the United States, pardon himself and his friends, and basically, ignore the rule of law. If that happens, democracy as we know it and cherish in Canada, will be dead in the United States, our closest neighbour. Trump, with all his psychopathic tendencies, will be able to do pretty much whatever he wants.
To me, that is frightening and should be of concern to all Canadians. Why? Well, this is what immediately comes to mind:
Canada to the United States is much like David was to Goliath. The only difference, Canada does not possess a slingshot. Trump is a bigger fan of Russia than he is of Canada. He has not condemned Russia for invading Ukraine and some of Trump’s stalwart fans in the United States have cast envious eyes on Canada’s plentiful natural resources.
In a Trump administration, the comparison of the United States and Canada with Russia and Ukraine will not be overlooked. We will have to beware of American influence, energized by a Trump-led MAGA movement, creeping across our borders. To counter this, Canada will have to forge a much stronger relationship with its Western allies. Otherwise, we will stand alone.
At the conclusion of another recent article in the Globe and Mail, this one by John Ibbotson, this was said: “The greatest challenge of a second Trump term would be surviving in a world in which the United States is no longer a full democracy and, in a state approaching civil war.”
In our world, that is right next door. All Canadians should be concerned about that.
Hugh Mackenzie has held elected office as a trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education, a Huntsville councillor, a District councillor, and mayor of Huntsville. He has also served as chairman of the District of Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has also served on a number of provincial, federal and local boards, including chair of the Ontario Health Disciplines Board, vice-chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, vice-chair of the Ontario Election Finance Commission, and board member of Roy Thomson Hall, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Locally, he has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, chair of Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, chair of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, president of Huntsville Festival of the Arts, and board member of Community Living Huntsville.
In business, Hugh Mackenzie has a background in radio and newspaper publishing. He was also a founding partner and CEO of Enterprise Canada, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm established in 1986.
Currently, Hugh is president of C3 Digital Media Inc., the parent company of Doppler Online, and he enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!