We have wasted our own experience and proximity to the U.S. because we were too busy flaunting our often-hypocritical liberal virtues, writes Philip Cross in the Financial Post. Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be read in full here

By Philip Cross, November 13, 2020 

The Trudeau government was quick to close the book on the Trump presidency and congratulate Joe Biden on his election. Other major American trading partners, notably Mexico and China, weren’t so quick off the mark, perhaps fearing Donald Trump’s wrath if he succeeds in overturning the results or launches another bid for the presidency in 2024. More importantly, Canada’s haste to move on from Trump denies what should be our advantage in explaining to the world the rise and apparently enduring popularity of Trumpism.

Commentators and pollsters underestimated the depth of Trump’s support in the electorate in both 2016 and 2020. They discounted 2016 as a protest vote against a corrupt establishment, but the 71 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 clearly knew what they were voting for.

Trump’s continuing popularity is not difficult to understand. The U.S. has been traumatized by years of abysmally poor decisions by its ruling political class: an unnecessary, bloody and expensive war in Iraq; foreclosure on 10 million homes when the housing bubble burst in 2007; and the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-9, which left 19 of the 20 largest U.S. financial institutions on the brink of collapse — just to name three. Saving these institutions cost hundreds of billions of dollars just as 8.5 million Americans were losing their jobs. With tens of millions more seeing their home equity shrivel, resentment spread that deadbeat homeowners who recklessly spent money they never intended to repay and irresponsible lenders who facilitated such scams were being bailed out by taxpayers. The result was the Tea Party movement, which derailed much of Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.

These repeated, massive failures of governance prepared the ground for the rise of Donald Trump. After Trump won in 2016, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ruefully acknowledged that Trump had “heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard. He connected in ways with people that no one else did.” The disillusion, despair and exclusion felt by working-class whites was vividly reflected in their falling life expectancy.

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