While the election cycle in the States is in full swing over a year in advance, Canadians have bemoaned the announcement of our exhausting 11 week federal election campaign. By Canadian standards, it’s a long haul, but nothing compared to our southern neighbours.
Our top four contenders have started their stump speeches and the rhetoric is amping up after the first leadership debate, but the general feeling in the public they’re trying to convince is that it’s too early to really pay attention.
By contrast, Donald Trump is stomping all over America, and anyone in his way. In a short span, he’s been accused of racism, sexism, and a good measure of narcissism to boot. If nothing else, Trump’s no-holds-barred approach to his presidency bid has a few lessons for aspiring national leaders here in Canada.
Be Aggressive, Arrogant and Assertive
We Canadians aren’t necessarily known for our aggression, but the opposition parties would do well to be on the attack. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been in power long enough to stack the odds in his favour [read arrogant], even if there has been a scandal or two along the way. Make him be accountable, or at least appear culpable, and you may have a chance of unseating the incumbent. To Mrs. May, Mr. Mulcair, and Mr. Trudeau, embrace your inner Trump and don’t take no for an answer!
Be Bold, Brash and Brazen
Don’t be afraid of hyperbole! Everything can be the greatest, worst, most amazing, or most disgusting thing on the planet – just make sure you’re attributing them correctly. Breast feeding? Not disgusting. Mexicans? Not the worst people in the world. Trump Tower? Definitely the most overrated downtown hotel in Toronto.
Be Cheeky, Captivating and Compelling
Don’t shy away from using a little humour! Sure, Canada plays a significant role in the world, and sure, not everyone will get the joke, but your base – your fans – they will know what you mean. If nothing else, you’ll make headlines for your well thought out jibes about your opponent’s beard, flimsy war record, or fantastic hair.
In reality, political campaigns are dirty. Fraught with the best and worst of our human nature, each party will develop policies and rhetoric to appeal to each. I’ll be watching with interest over the next couple of months to see where the discussion goes, and whether the apparent success of the most successful businessman who ever businessed, will have any sway in how that discussion unfolds. Love him or hate him, The Donald has the attention of international media, and as such, is a worthy case study for the PR professional.