It is easy to laugh at, or be horrified by, the antics of Donald Trump as he edges ever closer to the Republican nomination for the next U.S. presidential campaign.
It’s also easy to say that can never happen here, which is true for the most part since our prime ministers and premiers are chosen by the parties they represent. That means those races are less of a popularity contest, though that factor is still a big part of the process. But for the most part, party faithful are unlikely to pick a complete buffoon making ridiculous statements pandering to people’s fears.
Still, Trump’s popularity and the fear, slim the chance may be, that he may become the next U.S. president highlights the question of how much control we have over politicians once they are elected.
The answer to that question is little or none. A good example of that is the B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit launched by the Save Skaha Park Society in an attempt to prevent the city from leasing part of that park to private developers.
Despite having more than 5,000 signatures on their petition—a significant portion of Penticton’s 32,000 residents—that group felt that city hall was deaf to their concerns, and a lawsuit was the only way to get the referendum they suggested was needed for the public to approve the 29-year lease signed by the city. Legal bills are now likely to total more than the cost of such a referendum, if the suit should reach court.
Even now, the solution suggested by the mayor is for the developer to reach out to the society and find out what kind of development might be acceptable, to which the society responded with a resounding ‘not interested, we don’t want any development in that park.’
So before you condemn the U.S. political machine, remember that politics is much the same at all levels and every place; popularity tends to trump policy before the election, and there is little to hold them back once elected.