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Facts do not necessarily win political arguments. The sooner the progressive left realizes this, the better. As a progressive lefty I’m consistently amazed by the voting patterns of the common people i.e. the people the political left is supposed to represent. Recently in Canada our most populace province decided to elect an business sense challenged, no political platform, boorish individual who spoke not in terms of political policy, but in catchy, folksy, accessible language:

His populist message resonated with voters who were unhappy with the provincial Liberals. Ford promised “buck a beer,” ten cents off a litre of gas and major tax cuts. He also promised to cut government spending by $6 billion but didn’t say how.”

Like, jesus christ in a fuckbasket, what kind of platform is that?  Anyone with more than two neurons to rub together can see the bread and circuses messaging and the usual conservative trojan-horsery going on here.  I’m not sure people get it, so let me state it here.  Conservative party policy focuses on maintaining the good times for people who most likely are not YOU.  The business elite, the wealthy, the current power structure are all beneficiaries of conservative rule – the hoi polloi – is not.

Not ever.

But hey, my fellow Canadians, enjoy your cheap beer while the newly minted government savages and merrily defenestrates the social safety net and related infrastructure that makes your life bearable.  Your vote indicates that you are good with that.

Why I shake my head (more) is that these paradoxical voting patters are nothing new.  Sharun Mukand and Dani Ridrik expound on how world view memes (in the Dawkins sense) can influence people to vote against their self interests.

 “Importantly, identity and worldview memes do not prevail equally across all subgroups of the population. Political entrepreneurs target these memes toward the electorally critical subgroup. Our model predicts that identity polarisation and support for policy memes will both see their greatest rise within the lower- and middle-income group of the majority-identity group. These are the potential switchers to whom the memes will be targeted. We should not expect those memes to operate as strongly among the wealthy who belong to the majority group or the minority-identity group of all incomes.

Increased inequality raises the reward to the rich from successful ideational politics. The returns from discovering a policy meme that persuades the median voter, for example, that lower taxes are in the interests of not only the rich, but also the low-income median voter are much higher when inequality is high. Similarly, an effective identity meme that catalyses identity around issues such as gay marriage, women’s rights and immigration can also serve as a ‘wedge’ giving low-income voters a reason to vote for the high-income party. As one team of economists concluded in 2015: ‘Despite the large increases in economic inequality since 1970, American survey respondents exhibit no increase in support for redistribution … demand for income redistribution in the US has remained flat by some measures and decreased for others.’ This is remarkable. And it happened, as our research framework suggests, thanks to the role of ideas as a catalyst for policy change. The elite, along with an allied ‘political-ideational complex’ (including academics, think tanks and talk-radio), successfully disseminated the worldview that rising inequality was an inevitable byproduct of structural changes in the global economy, which in turn necessitated the adoption of financial deregulation, low capital-income taxes and the embrace of globalisation.

Ideas and interests both matter for political change, and the two feed into one another. On the one hand, economic interests drive the kind of ideas that politicians put forward. As Kenneth Shepsle, professor of government at Harvard University, put it in 1985, ideas can be regarded as ‘hooks on which politicians hang their objectives and further their interests’. However, ideas also shape interests. This happens because they alter voter preferences and/or shift their worldviews ex-post, in both cases shifting rankings over policy.”

Fuck.  I wish the notion of concise writing would make a comeback in academia.  There are the makings of a great article in this piece, but it is severely hampered by clunky, inaccessible writing.

The gist is that you make people focus on an bullshit issue(s) that has little relation to the actual levers of power in society.  Once elected, on said mountain of bullshit, its like “Oh, by the way, along with your buck-a-beers, we’ll be needing to privatize healthcare (and other policies that screw the Average Joe and Jane sideways).

This isn’t magic, folks.   Honest.

“For those who view politics in terms of a narrow and static notion of interests, the electoral support for Trump, Brexit and other populist movements seems to pose a puzzle. It seems as if many poor people are voting against their self-interest. But the puzzle is more apparent than real. It is rooted in a habit of thinking of interests only in economic terms, and also as fixed. Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon understood well that interests are malleable. With the right message and framing, Bannon noted in 2013, you could change the political calculus by shaping popular perception of self-interest: ‘Trade is No 100 on the [Republican] Party’s list. You can make it No 1. Immigration is No 10. We can make it No 2.’

What appears to be culture might be economics – the consequence of identity or worldview memes marketed by economic elites for their own self-interest. For example, Reagan used the imagery of a ‘welfare queen’ to attack unemployment benefits and the welfare state. So identity politics was being deployed by him to ensure that voters supported the Republican low-tax economic agenda. Similarly, what might look like economics might be shaped by cultural predispositions that provide voters with their interpretive frameworks – such as Merkel’s celebration of the ‘Swabian housewife’ when making the case for austerity.

Defeating autocratic and nativist political movements will likely require strategies based on both ideas and interests. As we have seen in recent elections, proposing policies that are better suited to the economic needs of middle- and lower-income voters will likely not be enough. Successful challengers will also need to come up with narratives that help to reshape peoples’ worldviews and identities”

What a long way of saying is that left needs to up its bullshit game, so we can baffle the brains of the populace and then introduce policy that will actually benefit them.

Interesting conclusion though, is that the right consistently wins through the bait and switch that treats people as if they were feckless, greedy, morons.   Yet, the left politic seems hesitant to do so, as if somehow the patronizing authoritarian method is somehow disdainful and wrong.  I’m at the point of ‘fuck it’ and do what works already, because I’m tired of the Right being the sole benefactors of this proven, winning political strategy.

(The best part is that the Right always accuses us lefty types of elitist authoritarian tendencies, all the while exemplifying the best practices of the former.   Like, okay, then let’s do this then, and beat them at their own shitty game.)

Only in Alberta does the the electorate consider ending the 40 year term of the staunchly right wing Progressive Conservatives with a party that is, you guessed it gentle reader,  further to the right.  It is only the false populist veneer of the Alberta Wild Rose Party that makes it appear palatable to the people of Alberta.

My progressive bones shudder with the thought of electing a party that is considered the fast-track to completing the journey to the dark-side of corporatocracy.    Make no mistake, the WRP party was spawned by the Conservative effort, namely the Royalty Resource Review, to give the people of Alberta a more reasonable deal when it came to the extraction of resources from this province.  The Royalty Review, even in its gutted state, cost Ed Stelmach his job as premier and cries rang out through the oil patch of ‘never again’; cue the WRP resurgence – a party for the oil companies people of Alberta.

Fortunately, for sanity’s sake, the WRP is made up mostly of dyed in the fool social and fiscal conservatives.  These conservative-clowns have now been unleashed on the public and have been busy finding ever larger calibre of guns to shoot themselves in the foot with as the election draws near.  Let’s begin with Allan – Homos Will Burn – Hunsperger’s thoughts on sexual orientation –

Musing on the Lady Gaga song ‘Born This Way,’ which preaches tolerance, Allan Hunsperger wrote that: “You can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.

Wow, now that is Christian bigotry Love in action.  All the stupid fuckwittery of religion and intolerance on display, you would think the leader of the WRP would kick this sack of bug-frak crazy out of the party.   It would be the rational course of action…

Time to burn homos. Love Jesus. How can you believe in shite like this in the 21st century?

At a campaign event in Calgary, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith refused to condemn Hunsperger’s views. From Postmedia:

“When a person is making personal statements in their capacity as a pastor, which he was, I don’t think anybody should be surprised that they’re expressing certain viewpoints,” she said outside a Wildrose photo opportunity at the Calgary Hindu Society’s temple.

“It was a year ago when he was talking in his capacity as a pastor. He now understands, we’ve spoken, we’ve communicated on this, that we will not be legislating on contentious social issues. He understands that. He accepts that.

Hey, in the WRP upfront religious delusion is A-OKAY.  Nothing like this will go into making secular public policy…honest..we swear on the very tears of Jesus!!!   Oh and there is bonus material as well apparently Captain Crazy also has his pastor mojo on over another great evil in society – The public school system!!1!!11!  In his own frothy words:

This includes those students, staff, and families who identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two- spirit, queer or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Board expects all members of our diverse community to be welcomed, respected, accepted, and supported in every school.” Why this from our public educators? Because they believe people were “born this way” and have a right to die this way. The blind leading the blind! Now every Christian school that has come under the Edmonton Public School board will have to adopt this as well. Trapped! For years I have warned Christian educators that you can’t partner with public education because public education is godless. As far as public education is concerned, there is no God

Yes, there you have Admiral Nut-Butter Von Douche-Bigot of the good ship Homophobia whinging on about the anti-bulling policy of the school board.  How dare it be tolerant of the devil children and all their evil!  Frak me jebus, why isn’t this man running the party!

Religious delusion aside, the Wild Rose Party of Alberta also happens to be chock full of privileged while males…

And Everywhere the Wild Rose Party is as well.

I believe that for the people of Calgary-Greenway they need a change. They need someone who has a passion for their community, someone who will represent their community and I believe that as a Caucasian I have an advantage that for the Punjabi community I am able to speak for the whole community and to lift the community up in our region,” CTV reported Leech as saying on the video.

“I believe when I come to our community here I am very concerned that the Punjabi community have not been esteemed, lifted up. When a Punjabi leader speaks for the Punjabi, the Punjabi are listening but when a Caucasian speaks on their behalf everybody is listening.” The host of the program then said he agrees with Leech’s statement.
Wildrose officials said the video was recorded about two weeks ago, before Leech made similar controversial comments to Fairchild Radio on Sunday.
“I think as a Caucasian I have an advantage,” Leech said during the radio interview. “When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian I believe that I can speak to all the community.”

Leech, a long-time a pastor, apologized earlier this week for his radio comments, […]

This is lobe exploding material – Ron Leech who honestly believes that by default White is RIGHT when it comes to representing a constituency.   Because isn’t it superobvious that the white man represents all people much better than any of those colour folk.  Amirite?  Y’all?!?

Damn, you would think that bigots and racists would have learned by now to keep this kind of shit holstered until after the election.  And unfucking surprisingly, we get these progressive words from yet another kindly loving Man of God.  The vile duplicity of religion is being put on glorious display, you would think that our news media might mention that fact somewhere…  but no we get the lukewarm saccharine mewings from our media about candidates questionable behaviour.

Certainly now, Denial Danielle Smith (The science is still out on whether or not Danielle Smith has more than two neurons to rub together) would apologize for this carnival of crazy and boot these loons out of the party.   Instead we get a rancorous “Oh Hell No!” from Danielle Smith –

“EDMONTONWildrose Leader Danielle Smith on Friday headed into the final weekend of the Alberta election campaign on the defensive, insisting that a candidate who said a white politician was better able to represent the community had simply misspoken.

Ah yes, let us NOT hold Mr.Lake of Fire and Mr.White Power accountable for their reprehensible actions, just STFU Albertans and elect them already; the WRP has a province to run in the interests of the Oil companies.

Vote for the WRP party! Embrace Corporatism!

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