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Political landscape changing across North America

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Taber Times

The political landscape in North America has been like no other in recent memory as the winds of change are blowing quite profusely.

There are plenty of new faces to go around in both the Taber and Vauxhall town councils in their latest municipal election.

Provincially, Alberta made history by having the first non-conservative government in more than four decades with an NDP majority.

That voice for change continued federally as well in Canada in October, with Justin Trudeau securing a stunning majority government, following in the footsteps of his father Pierre who had swept in with a Liberal majority himself 47 years earlier.

It has all set the stage for Canadians to look south of their border where it looks like their American counterparts are clamouring for the same change in one of the more energized political campaigns for the presidency in recent memory.

How else can one explain reality-TV darling Donald Trump hitting a critical threshold for the GOP nomination on ‘Super Tuesday,’ winning all nine delegates.

The Northern Marianas became the eighth state or territory in which Trump won a majority of the delegates. The others include South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Hawaii and Mississippi.

His extreme right-wing views seem to be resonating with those of Republican ilk as his next two closest competitors for the Republican nomination for the presidency are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who are firmly entrenched in the far-right-of-centre sphere also.

Swinging in the exact opposite direction is a ground-swell movement for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency among Democrats. Sanders favours policies similar to those of social democratic parties in Europe, and socialism in the United States has often been seen as a dirty four-letter word, or even worse — communism, which makes Sanders’ campaign even more fascinating as he goes toe-to-toe with political heavyweight Hillary Clinton for the nomination in that party. Sanders still has a puncher’s chance with his recent upset win in Michigan. It was considered a massive upset relative to the pre-election polls of the state’s voters, which had shown Hillary Clinton ahead by an average of 21 percentage points.

Seeing so much change on every single level of politics, is it a sign voters are tired of the same-old from their political figures? Is it a sign of disillusionment in the system that the entrenched political establishment is incapable of real political and social change?

Who really knows? The experiment for change is certainly in full force in Canada, although one may not see the fruits (or poisons for some) of that change for awhile with both governing bodies (provincial and federal) not having hit the one-year reign mark in their captaincy yet.

For better or worse the political arena in North America has seldomly been so interesting and entertaining with public insights and debates.

Re-energizing a stagnating voter base is never a bad thing as long as that voter base is an educated one about their vote.

Change has already arrived here in Canada and it looks like there will be plenty of it in the United States as well. Change that is in Canada in political parties only for now.

Time will tell if it was truly the change we desired through concrete policies that benefit the many as the new parties get their feet underneath them — or if it is just more of the same with sound bites, rhetoric and disconnect from the common man that caused people wanting to make change in the first place.

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