Rob Ford: The Only Election Issue in Toronto!
John Richardson, independent candidate – Toronto Danforth Ward 29
October 22, 2010
The mayoral election on October 25, 2010 is a referendum on only one issue.
That Issue is Rob Ford.
Democracy is Alive and Well in Toronto
The 2010 Toronto mayoral race has been the most exciting ever. The combination of:
– a fixed election date
– a long period of campaigning and
– unprecedented voter anger
has made people take note. Voting at the advance polls was up approximately 80% from the 2006 election. This suggests a massive voter turnout on October 25.
The Remaining Players
There are three candidates remaining: Rob Ford, George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone. Under the current system, the candidate who receives the most votes beside his name (“first past the post”) will win. That said, it is not always true that voting for a candidate is the same as a vote for that candidate! In fact, a vote for one candidate is often a vote against another candidate.
Rocco Rossi: Truly A Wise Guy
When Rocco Rossi dropped out of the race for mayor, he commented that:
“This is obviously a difficult decision,” Mr. Rossi said, fighting back tears. He added that he felt it was clear the pursuit of the mayoralty had developed into a two-way race between, as he put it, “those who want to stop what Mr. Ford describes as ‘the gravy train’, and those that want to stop Mr. Ford.”
“I don’t want to distract from Torontonians taking a very close look at the front-runners, asking the very tough questions and demanding tough solutions for Toronto.”
Mr. Rossi did not endorse anyone, but urged voters to “vote for something, not against someone” on Oct. 25.”
The Ford Phenomenon
It was not until April of 2010 that Rob Ford entered the race to become Toronto’s next mayor. Predictably, the media, unions and “intelligentsia” (the “Enlightened Few”) who believe that they, and they alone, have the wisdom to decide on the legitimacy of a candidate, ridiculed Mr. Ford. What the “Enlightened Few” didn’t consider was that:
– Mr. Ford had voters who actually supported him and
– Honest, hard working taxpayers were very angry at the “Enlightened Few”, seven years of David Miller and his group of NDP and union backed councillors. Mr. Ford was the only candidate (and still is) who was a clear vehicle for voters to express their anger.
Therefore, Mr. Ford will receive votes from both those who support him and because he is the only candidate voters can vote for that will allow them to express their rage.
Who Does Toronto City Council Work For?
The election of 2010 has become a referendum on whether Toronto is going to be run by the unions, NDP, intelligentsia and leftist media or if Toronto is going to be “reclaimed” by hard working, honest taxpayers.
Approximately seven months ago, I wrote a “message in a bottle” in which I predicted that:
“October 25 is a long way away. Rob Ford’s success is rooted in the fact that, whether or not you like the message, Rob Ford does stand for something. Furthermore, he has real “flesh and blood” supporters. The other candidates stand for nothing except wanting to be Mayor.
Here is my prediction (barring a strong candidate entering the race):
1. Ford’s support will continue to grow. The reason is that he actually has support from real voters. The other candidates have support from only the media.
2. The “left” will rally around Pantalone.
3. Smitherman will be relevant only is so far as we will see where his supporters go when it becomes clear that he can’t win.
4. The left will ignite an “Anybody but Ford chorus”.
5. This will solidify Ford’s support.
6. On October 25, in the largest percentage turnout in Toronto voting history, Rob Ford will win.
What the intelligentsia fails to understand is that people do not like and do not respect City Council. They want a change and Rob Ford is it!
There is time to reverse Ford’s momentum. The first step is to realize that Rob Ford does embody a lot of what people want from City Hall.
The current City Council does not.
I will reread this prediction on October 25 and see if I was right.”
Right Result, Wrong Road
It is clear that I was wrong about Smitherman fading away. I was also wrong about Patalone’s support. But, I was right that Ford’s support would continue to grow and that an “Anybody but Ford” movement would erupt. Smitherman has been the beneficiary of that “Stop Rob Ford” movement.
Anybody But Ford
On September 13, 2010, Toronto lawyer Glen Wheeler argued in the Toronto Star that a Ford victory would be bad for unions and the person best positioned to stop Ford was Smitherman.
“Often in politics, we have to choose the least bad of the viable options available. In this election, he goes by the name Smitherman.
Whether it is Ford or Smitherman who’s victorious on Oct. 25 is not merely an academic question for union members, especially those who work for the City of Toronto.
A Ford victory will send labour to a political war that we may very well lose, considering the extent of anti-union sentiment in the air. With Smitherman, there will not necessarily be smooth sailing, especially if he takes at run at unions by trying to contract out services.
But if we played our cards right, labour could make Smitherman a winner and extract a quid pro quo. Think about it. One of the most recent polls shows Ford with 42 per cent of decided voters, Smitherman 36 and Pantalone 11.”
On October 22, 2010, Alice Klein, writing for Now Toronto, explains why she will vote for Smitherman:
“Beware of politicians and commentators who ask you to vote with your conscience instead of your full consciousness. There is too much at stake to fritter away the franchise. The evidence-based election calculus says a vote for Joe Pantalone is very likely going to elect Rob Ford. That’s an outcome I can’t live with.”
These two comments make it clear that many people who cast their vote for Smitherman are actually voting against Ford and see a vote for Smitherman as the best way to defeat Rob Ford.
A Vote For Something or a Vote Against Somebody
It is clear that either Ford or Smitherman will be Toronto’s next mayor. It is also clear that Toronto’s next mayor will be elected based on votes that were not specifically for him. Look at it this way:
Smitherman – Smitherman is the preferred candidate of those who, in the words of Rocco Rossi, want to stop Mr. Ford. The actual support for Smitherman is likely to be at the level it was prior to the formal “Stop Ford” movement. The actual support for Smitherman, per se, is not very high. A vote for Smitherman is more likely to be a vote against Ford. Smitherman is the candidate where the lowest percentage of votes for him are actually for him.
Ford – Ford is the preferred candidate of those who, in the words of Rocco Rossi, want to stop what Mr. Ford describes as ‘the gravy train’. In other words, Mr. Ford is the way people vote to express their considerable anger. As a city councillor, Mr. Ford also has real support from real people. That said, given that Mr. Ford is not a candidate supported by the “Enlightened Few”, it is likely that a vote for Mr. Ford is likely to really be a vote for Mr. Ford.
Patalone – There is no question that a vote for Joe Patalone is actually a vote for Joe Patalone, absolutely 100% guaranteed. Joe Patalone is the candidate where the highest percentage of votes for him are really for him.
Democracy is the Worst Form of Government, Except All the Others
Democracy is a wonderful thing and is hard to define. Of course, people are free to cast their ballot for whomever they want, but our “first past the post democracy” includes two interesting features:
– It is possible that the candidate with the lowest support for him (George Smitherman) could be Mayor.
– If George Smitherman becomes mayor, it is the result of voting against a candidate and not for a candidate.
Perhaps democracy is not about candidates, but, in fact, is about getting results. If the result desired by the majority of those who take the time to vote is that they don’t want Ford as mayor, then this is the result (as opposed to the candidate) that Toronto wants.
It seems clear that the “First past the post” system of selecting candidates must go. Deciding on the replacement will be difficult, but is necessary.
On October 25:
– The unions, NDP, media and intelligentsia will vote against Ford;
– Hard working, honest taxpayers, who are able to find a way to vote, will vote for Ford.
In other words, Rob Ford is the only issue in this election!
Which side will prevail?
Will the hard working, honest taxpayers of Toronto be able to “reclaim Toronto”? Tune in on the evening of October 25, 2010 to find out!
For the record, I believe that Rocco Rossi is a truly wise guy – perhaps the wisest guy in the election of 2010!