I arrived back home last night after just over a week away prepping some soul-searching about the expected mayoralty of John Tory. The late night snapshots I’d picked up out on the road pointed to not only a victory for Tory in next month’s municipal campaign but, if his numbers held up, a kick-ass win. What did that very real possibility tell us about the mindset of voters in this city?
Of course, I dropped back in right in the middle of the York South-Weston debate that featured the debut of candidate Doug Ford for Mayor. While a campaign of this duration will hardly turn on one debate, Tory’s wobbly performance should probably set of some minor alarm bells in his camp, given his historical electoral inability to close the deal. Being the clear frontrunner now, the presumptive favourite, Tory will be the main object of attack and, with whatever remains of the Ford machine lurching back up onto its hind legs, and with absolutely nothing to lose at this point, the attacks will be vicious, mindless and unrelenting.
That could play into Tory’s favour, serving as a useful bogeyman to scare more voters his way. Do you really want this guy running the city? You think Rob was bad? Come in under the big Tory tent for a warm, protective hug.
Which brings me back (conveniently) to my original intent.
In post-Ford Toronto, why is it to John Tory a plurality of voters are turning?
“A safe set of steady hands.” No wait. “A safe, steady set of hands.” No. “A safe set of steady hands.” Hmm. “A safe, stead set of hands”? Nick! Run that by a focus group, would you? See what people prefer, what’s the easiest way to say that.
John Tory wants to be the next mayor of Toronto but can’t really tell us why. His whole approach to date has been to generally riff on the theme, he’s not that guy or that guy or that NDP candidate. Toronto wants John Tory because it doesn’t want either of the Fords or Olivia Chow.
It’s a campaign of negative space. John Tory is the least worst, basically. Rally round, troops! Together we will… hunker down and hope the storm passes without leaving too much damage behind. Hunker down, troops.
Not that he’s alone in failing to fill the electorate with hope and create a wave of forward-thinking can-doism. That ‘vision thing’, as another largely negligible politician sniffed at back in the day. The amazingly disheartening thing about the 2014 mayoral campaign is just how lackadaisical in public spirit it’s been. If nothing else, the mugging the city has been subjected to over the past 4 years exposed many of its weaknesses, and not just the obvious infrastructure fault lines but how it’s failing too many of the people living here.
Yet, here we are, haggling over keeping to the rate of inflation with tax increases or still talking about finding efficiencies. We continue to talk the Ford talk despite the fact that with every passing day such blather gets exposed as pure fantasy and unfiltered bullshit. Clearly, John Tory doesn’t think so. The messenger’s the problem not the message.
And collectively we seem to want to believe that. That all the city’s problems and needs can be wished away and dealt with by somebody else or with fanciful plans on a map that won’t somehow cost any of us a cent. Pander to us, John Tory. Tell us what we want to hear. Fill our minds with delusion. The same trite shit we bought into 4 years ago.
Having surfed that nonsense into a firmly established lead with more than a month to go now, we should expect the Tory Turtle. Duck and cover. Make no mistakes. Engage only as needed in order to keep up appearances. John Tory has told us as much as he’s going to (or as little as he’s had to) about how he will serve this city as mayor.
We seem just fine with that. John Tory has more than met our lowered expectations. So we can now just get on with ignoring the problems at hand.
— grumpily submitted by Cityslikr