Here are the red button non-issues in America today, that have spilt over into Canada:
Covid is what it is, until some day it isn’t. And the economy is what it is until, like Covid, it’s not. So that leaves the whose-lives-matter question, and whether people whose lives haven’t mattered should protest peacefully or show some real anger.
The problem with peaceful protest is that it relies on sympathy. With sympathy, plus 35 cents, you can make a local phone call. But the problem with anger is that all it triggers is alarm. Note, for example, that no one cared to ask what grievances might have driven those nineteen brave young men to do what they did that Tuesday morning.
So so long as the rioting stays downtown, what’s that to the suburban housewife?! For years now she’s been doing her shopping at the big box stores. And there just aren’t a whole lot of windows to smash in a Home Depot parking lot.
So I think the pundits are wrong to think Trump is trying to set the suburban housewife and the black ‘marauder’ against each other, and hoping the former can outvote the latter. He is hoping the suburb can outvote the inner city, but he’s counting on the fear of redistributive taxation rather than of crime to do the work.
For their part, the Dems already have the inner city. And to keep it they have to take from the suburbs. So they can’t win the pocketbook argument. They have to rely on enough voters giving ear to their better angels. This is why Biden is right to characterize this election as being about “the soul of the nation”.
Of course in this sense every election is about the soul of the nation. Which is why every election has the same basic structure. The difference this time round, if difference there be, the reason why there’s so much talk of polarization, is the distance between the poles. And the additional cultural values driving that distance. So, for example, Trump, who couldn’t give a shit about God or the unborn, is shamelessly playing to the Christian right, while nigh-octogenarian Biden is pretending he’s known all along that some women have penises.
As I’ve said before, as a Canadian I have very little skin in the game, except to say that, qua entertainment, American presidential politics is the gift that keeps on giving.