Elections in Canada, Russia, Germany, and Brazil

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            New Orleans      Pundits and politicos are already talking about the 2022 US midterm elections with anxiety and bated breath, but the election news is meh and madness in other countries right now.

The annual ACORN Canada staff meeting and training north of Toronto was held in person recently.  The team was following the work in several ridings in Toronto and Ottawa, but the snap election called by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was confounding.  Normally, the reaction among the members to long-serving Liberals, headed now by Trudeau is a resigned sigh of sorts.  Privately, many lean hard towards the New Democratic Party, but too often the NDP has failed to contend nationally, and the Conservatives have been dominant.  Trudeau is frustrating, but it was easy to listen in-between the lines.  The attempts by the Conservatives to lean more left to get back towards the middle, and the excitement generated by the well-named Peoples’ Party and their anti-vax who-knows-what campaign, were scary.  The private consensus, never expressed, seemed to be that it might be better to live with the devil we know now and settle for any piece of the loaf, rather than end up holding an empty bag with the devils in waiting.

But, that’s Canada, so many of you would say, how bad can it get, right?  Trump’s not running there is he?  Ok, that’s right, I guess, and semi-boring might be win compared to other election news.

Russia is once again pretending to have a free election to re-anoint Vladimir Putin in some fashion.  His vote seems to be decreasing, but still more than enough to claim the mantle.  The outcast and jailed opposition has been inspiring at long distance, but it was disappointing to see Apple and Google block some of their creative bullet-voting tactics to get supporters to vote for any candidate and party who was not United Russia and Putin.  Google seems to have even gone farther and restricted access to YouTube.  Shame, shame!

Of course, speaking of shame, the acrobatics in Brazil by the hard-right president there to claim foul, threaten social media, and hint at military action was so over the top that he had to back off a bit, even while trying to goad his supporters in mask-less rallies.  This whole “the-election-is-rigged” theme may end up being the core campaigning legacy of Donald Trump, adapted by any and all conservative candidates more interested in polarizing the electorate than governing.

Thousands of German immigrant families may have named children Angela after the long serving chancellor, Angela Merkel, who has been arguably the most powerful woman in the world for years, but her party is having trouble holding on and the public seems to be experiencing some moderate-right fatigue.  That may not be enough to really change horses, but even the Greens are getting some sunshine for their national ambitions.

Elections matter and believe it or not, all of these elections are important to the United States, even if we don’t get a vote.