I can’t help the uncanny similarities between Rob Ford’s mayoral candidacy in Toronto Canada and Donald Trump’s race for US president. Both men seem to defy everything and reverse the projections made by experts. Is it perhaps Trump has copied Ford’s manual on how to run for an election and knows that the end results are opposite from what people see on the TV screen?
The media says its all over for Trump, but not so fast, perhaps according to Trump’s thinking, Ford after all, defied media logic. CNBC says its over for Trump, but Ford’s story says its over for Hillary. Tonight, CNBC said:
“with just 28 days left to the presidential election and based on the polling patterns in recent presidential campaigns, it may already be over. As of Tuesday, Clinton leads Trump by 6.5 percentage points, based on an average of national polls tracked by Real Clear Politics. That gap may be all but impossible to close by Nov. 8, when voters go to the polls.”
So will Trump defy the polls? According to Ford’s story the answer is Yes. Currently we have 17% who say they are “undecided”. But when Toronto mayor Rob Ford ran for mayor in 2010, there were many undecided voters who swayed towards him, that, plus he defied the polls. September 27 polls in 2010, showed Ford’s lead diminishing at 28% with 25% undecided. On election day October 25th, just one month later, Ford received a whopping 47% of the vote. These undecideds seem to say to pollsters “its not of your darn business who I am voting for”.
Real Clear Politics says that Hillary beats Trump by 6.5%. This is nothing in comparison to Ford’s gap, the undecided were glad to fill it for him and more others who switched what they told pollsters.
Shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in June 2015, the former mayor, in an interview with Joe Warmington in the Toronto Sun, seemed confident of Trump’s chances despite his underdog status at the time. “A lot of the media were taking shots at him and making it out to be a joke but in the end it will be them who will be surprised,” Ford said. “They can laugh all they want, but Mr. Trump is a very successful man and a very good candidate for president.”
Will his prediction come true? While Trump was plagued with locker-room talk, Ford’s case was much worse, he was plagued by the drug scandal (cellphone video of Ford smoking crack) including an addiction to racist and homophobic comments. Even after the scandal, he registered in 2014 to run for reelection to a second term, before doctors found a tumor in his abdomen. He dropped out of the mayoral race and instead ran for — and won — his old seat on the Toronto City Council, where he served two years before his death.
Toronto mayoralty campaigns are gruelling 10-month marathons in which the winner is often the one who makes the fewest mistakes. Most contenders couldn’t survive even one major slip-up. Toward the midpoint of the campaign, there were several moments when even Ford appeared to teeter on the edge of self-destruction. One incident involved Ford offering to try to score OxyContin for a campaign supporter, another a 10-year-old conviction for drunk driving. But after the media and his opponents attacked him for such behaviour, Ford’s numbers went up.
For Kouvalis, the defining “wind in our sails” came during a televised all-candidates’ debate. The moderator cued up a shot of Sri Lankan refugees on a boat headed for Canada and asked whether Canada should accept them. “NOPE!” said Rob Ford. “Right now, we can’t even deal with the 2.5 million people we have in the city. I think it is more important to take care of people who are here now before we start bringing in more people.”
His opponents were delighted. One declared it “a turning point in the election” that would “awaken Torontonians to what he’s all about.” Another held a press conference to declare, “I am offended. I am appalled. And I believe this man is unfit to be mayor.” Five days later, Ford’s support rose to 44 percent.
In the case of Ford, Canada elected a tough-talking, anti-establishment, slogan-spouting, anti-refugee, law-and-order mayor—who, if that wasn’t enough, was also a crack-smoking alcoholic who preferred football to city business.
So while the ‘civil war’ goes on between Trump and the establishment elites might not be appealing, to the people who watch, they see a defiant hero which appeals to most on the street. So lets see if the dead man’s wish will come true.