Matt Gurney: Toronto's a dump. Of course people are mad.
We don't need complex political theories to explain why a law-and-order campaign for mayor is getting a bit of traction. Just look at the state of things.
By: Matt Gurney
It’s important not to get so lost in the abstract that we forget the tangible. This is especially important during elections, like the one currently underway in Toronto. The city has real problems. And you can’t blame voters for being worried about them. These are their lives.
It’s a weird election. John Tory, re-elected to a third term with massive support just last year, admitted to an extra-marital affair with a female subordinate and resigned in February (after the Toronto Star broke the story). This forced a special mayoral byelection on Torontonians. Every poll shows that long-time progressive Olivia Chow, who served many years alongside her late husband Jack Layton as a Toronto city councillor and then as an NDP member of parliament, is cruising to victory. But she’s only doing so amid a crowded field of also-rans. Polls have shown her support hovering pretty consistently in the mid-30s. With everyone else struggling to register even half that, it’ll be more than enough.
You might have thought that a campaign like this would be unusually interesting, given how it came about.The opposite is true. Even among my most rabidly political friends and colleagues, no one seems to care much about this race — the overwhelming sense is of politics fatigue and vague distaste for the entire process. But one interesting story, one that’s only become clear in recent weeks, has been the sudden rise in the polls of Anthony Furey, a long-time right-wing columnist and commentator, who is currently on leave as vice president for editorial and content at True North, a right-wing digital news and commentary outlet.
Some people are asking why Furey has shown some strength down the backstretch. It really isn’t that hard to grasp. Toronto is a dump, and the voters know it. And they’re glad to see someone finally just saying so, loud and clear.