Trump, Rob Ford, and the new direction of political polarization

In Toronto, the political and academic establishment knew that designating the city’s transit system an “essential service”— and thereby removing transit workers’ right to strike—would likely drive up labor costs.5 The typical residents wanted this designation so they wouldn’t have to suffer through future transit strikes. But the elites knew better. They long opposed the idea. Rob Ford, however, believed the people should get what they wanted. He knew how typical Torontonians suffered during transit strikes: when they couldn’t get to work, they didn’t get paid. Ford made and delivered on the promise. Transit in Toronto is now an “essential service,” and there have been no more strikes.

Typical Americans have spent decades electing smarter people who call themselves Republicans or Democrats. After each election, they’ve waited for their lives to improve, even just a little bit, to no avail. Whether Republican or Democrat, it seems the smarter people they’ve been electing have all failed. Maybe it’s time to elect someone who’s not a genius—who doesn’t pretend to know all the answers. Maybe it’s time to elect someone who’s more like a typical American, who will make decisions much the way any typical American would. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. But electing the same smart people hasn’t worked out well for typical Americans, so what do they have to lose?