FERNANDO: Trudeau Can't Escape Anti-Incumbent Mood

Given The Scale Of His Failure, Trudeau Can’t Escape The Anti-Incumbent Mood

Desperate Liberal attempts to link themselves to the prevailing desire for change are hilariously misguided.

By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition


Across the G7, incumbent governments are either being defeated, or heading towards defeat.

While specific national factors are a key part of this trend, governments of all political stripes are being punished for failing to deliver on the basics.

No one scandal or error is to blame here.

People will put up with a lot from politicians, and errors are both expected and accepted, so long as they are remedied.

No, what’s happening here is a much more profound kind of failure.

National governments across the G7 have failed to respond to demands for tighter controls on immigration.

Simultaneously, restrictive climate policies have held back economic growth.

These broad-based trends are at work across much of the Western world, and have caused economic stagnation, leading to an overall ‘anti-incumbent’ mood.

You can see this in how incumbency – rather than partisan affiliation – has been the key predictor of election results.

In the U.K., the incumbent government was Conservative, so the largest centre-left alternative won amid a fracturing of the centre-right/right-wing vote.

In France, the incumbent government was centrist, so the vote share of the left/far-left and right/far-right rose.

Other countries facing similar issues – such as Germany – are also seeing a shift towards the opposition, with the centre-right CDU/CSU (the traditional Conservative opposition) likely to win the next election in 2025.

In the United States, things are much less clear (and presently leaning Republican), but this also says something about the overall trend.

Out of all G7 nations, the United States has done the best in terms of per capita GDP growth. The living standard of the average of American has risen over 8% since 2019, while Canadian living standards have dropped more than 2% in that same time period.

However, the United States has a significant issue with their southern border and two divisive candidates heading their presidential tickets, so there is neither an overwhelming anti-incumbent mode nor an overwhelming pro-opposition mood.

This shows the limits of trying to fit every election in the G7 into the same partisan framework, even when some of the aforementioned broad trends are the same.

This is also why it is essential to avoid giving into narratives that use ignorant analysis to make things appear hopeless.

For example, social media has been filled with people claiming that the third-place finish of the French National Rally indicates the elections are rigged and claiming that the huge majority for the U.K. Labour Party – despite Labour winning just 34% of the vote – shows the system was skewed against the ‘right-wing’ parties. In some cases, those spreading such narratives have sought to claim the same thing will happen in Canada, a demoralizing claim that could cause many to believe change is impossible.

But there are three big reasons this is not the case. 

First, the National Rally in France is legitimately a far-right party. It was literally founded by fascists. While it has cleaned up its image somewhat, there is immense lingering fear of ever putting a party like that in power in France. So, whenever the National Rally does well in the first round of French elections, a counterbalancing coalition forms and people vote strategically to keep them out of power, even as they punish the incumbents. This is entirely legitimate within the French system.

A similar fear doesn’t exist towards the Conservative Party of Canada, because – unlike the fascist-founded National Rally – the Conservative Party is a party well within the historical democratic tradition of centre-right parties in the Western world. The party was in power as recently as 2015, and Canadians know – despite fearmongering by some in the media and the Liberal/NDP party – that the Conservatives have governed in a historically more competent and reasonable manner.

Canada also doesn’t have a two-round voting system.

Second, the U.K. election was also entirely legitimate. They have the same system we do, with the candidate winning the plurality of votes in a seat becoming the Member of Parliament. The Labour Party wisely shed much of their extremist image after the damage done by the radical anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn, and presented themselves as a moderate and even boring ‘safe change’ option. Now, whether they stick to that approach is perhaps unlikely.

At the same time, years of discontent with the U.K. Conservatives and the splintering of the centre-right/right-wing vote due to the rise of the Reform U.K. Party meant that 34% of the national vote for the Labour Party was enough to win a plurality in most seats.

The same thing happens in Canada all the time, as parties that win a majority of the seats almost never win a majority of the vote.

Further, the U.K. Conservatives were in a similar position to the Trudeau Liberals – incumbents leading a nation that wanted them out of office, while the Conservatives in Canada are in some ways even better positioned than Labour was, since the Conservatives don’t have an extremist past to shed and have in fact won the popular vote in every election since 2006 with the sole exception of 2015.

So, you can see that neither the French election nor the U.K. election has much to tell us about the upcoming Canadian election.

Third, there’s an even bigger reason why – contrary to feeling demoralized or hopeless – we should feel incredibly positive about the chances of defeating the Liberal government.

The broad underlying anti-incumbent trend is based upon factors that are worse in Canada than in any G7 nation.

Look at this chart:


Canada has the worst per capita GDP growth in the G7.

As we know, Canada also has the highest per capita immigration levels.

The Liberals have also been in power since 2015.

All of this means that every major trend, and both broad trends and Canada-specific trends, are working against them.

While the Liberals have tried to tie themselves to the prevailing mood for change, people can see through such a hilariously desperate move. Trudeau and the Liberals are the incumbents. Their record is worse than other incumbents that have been defeated. Thus, they can’t escape the anti-incumbent mood.

Trudeau faces the challenge of being unpopular, being held responsible for wrecking the immigration system, and being in office during a substantial decline in our standard of living.

And forestalling the possibility of an ‘anti-Conservative’ coalition at the ballot box is the fact that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh chose to tie his own brand to the Liberals, leaving the Conservatives as the only large Opposition Party and the only mainstream ‘change’ option.

The fact is Canada has moved far from the political mainstream in recent years. These years of radical experiments have left us poorer, more divided, and risk wrecking the dreams of an entire generation.

As a result, Canadians appear set to boot the Liberals out of office in a decisive way in order to return our nation to the kind of reasonable, moderate, competent, common-sense governance we were once known for.

So, don’t let yourself be fooled by narratives of doom and gloom.

Canada remains a nation where change is possible through the democratic system, and we can make that change happen if we remain vigilant, focused, and unrelenting in our efforts to Fire Trudeau.

Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a writer and campaign fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. Join the mailing list to receive his exclusive weekly columns in your inbox.

For more from Spencer, visit his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.