I was invited to Rob Ford’s victory party in Toronto in a live 10-second phone invitation and he implied everybody was welcome. Ford said that people were already starting to arrive early. Ford’s people were expecting over 2000 but they came in with around 1500. That is still an amazing figure. I guess the Ford sign on my front lawn got me the invitation, but I am afraid I couldn’t make it to the party. Thanks anyway.
How was it that the Toronto Star, a week before the election, announced it was a dead heat on the front page, that the “Ford phenomena” was faltering, and Ford was tied with former Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman? That’s what the survey found – 41 per cent for Ford and 40 per cent for Smitherman – and yet Smitherman’s campaign for mayor was totally crushed one week later. The Toronto Star/City TV poll is either an outright fraud, or it was conducted mostly outside gay bars, and it proved no way to decide who is going to win the election. Chalk one up for sanity.
That is the Toronto Star’s old tactic – try to start a landslide and get in front of it. At one point near the end of the election, The Toronto Star was reported to be almost co-campaign managers of Smitherman’s mayoralty efforts. That’s like being a jockey and a horse in the same race.
This reminds me of the George W. Bush/Al Gore campaign in the United States in 2000, when the media duly reported that the election results coming in were too close to call in Florida. The results there would determine who would be elected U.S. president. The media said it would be decided by a recount even though Bush was never behind in the Florida vote; even though he was only ahead marginally he was always ahead. The recount confirmed that but angry Democrats from other states volunteered to go down to Florida, and some did, to help with the recount. This foolishness was finally stopped by a judge. Even if Bush only won by a couple of hundred votes it was more votes than Gore received.
The Toronto Star came up with a number of other Mickey Mouse pollsters to bolster their stand, “that the momentum is with Smitherman,” and “the Ford juggernaut appears to be rolling backwards.” If you think that Ford’s 47.1 per cent of the vote for mayor compared to Smitherman’s 35.6 per cent is rolling backwards, a little brush-up in elementary school math might help you.
In the mid-term elections for congress and the U.S. senate in November, all of the polls uncannily indicated what party and what candidate were going to win even before the first vote was cast. The silly Clinton twins ran all over the U.S. trying to help borderline Democratic candidates win, but it didn’t seem to do much good.
President Obama described his defeat as a “shellacking.” But what I want to know as a Canadian is, if the U.S. pollsters can get it almost dead right in their election predictions, in a very important election for the mayor of Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, how can our pollsters peddle a pile of misinformation to their clients? Was there a shabby attempt to deceive the municipal voters in the Toronto area?
How did Rob Ford win such a smashing victory in spite of all the garbage digging, stone throwing and bad-mouthing done by some of the media? Oh, Ford had the money, the best political machine in the country, the best municipal campaign, the best slogan (stop the gravy train) I’ve ever seen mounted. The best candidate by far, but was that how he got in? No, it wasn’t. Definitely not.
It was the elephant in the room. When I saw candidate Smitherman kissing his partner on Global TV (an attempt to defuse the situation by his handlers once and for all) I knew it failed and only hi-lighted the situation for a large mostly silent block of voters. This group, many of them seniors, lives back in another era and they didn’t want Toronto to be known as Sodom and Gomorrah North. They thought that if they were going to vote once more in their life, it was going to be now. They came. They saw. They voted. They won.