Learning to live with the impossible in politics

“Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best” –
German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)

Today’s politicians might be forgiven for amending the Iron Chancellor’s observation to something like this: Politics is the art of learning to live with the impossible.

There are plenty of examples in Canada and the United States.

How Donald Trump has taken over Ottawa’s agenda

The challenge facing Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government this summer has come like a bolt of lightning. It has come out of nowhere – or out of nowhere foreseeable when Trudeau was elected in October 2015, from a direction that was barely foreseeable as recently as 12 months ago.

The challenge can be stated in two words. No, those two words are not “deficit spending” or “electoral reform” or “Syrian refugees” or “gender parity”  –  words that now seem so 2015. The two words are simply “Donald Trump.” 

APSA's Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award for Negotiating the Deal!

Dear Canadian Politics Section members,
 
I have received the report of this year's S. M. Lipset Book Award committee, and am delighted to share its decision with you. This year's committee was chaired by Professor James McCormick, Iowa State University. His colleagues on the committee were:
 

Trump makes himself, and Washington, a laughing stock to the world

Donald Trump claims he is making America Great Again.

He is doing no such thing. What he is doing is just the opposite. He is surrendering American leadership abroad, frightening allies with erratic pronouncements and encouraging his enemies with a lack of consistent resolve.

Scheer is a safe choice for the Conservatives, but can he beat Trudeau?

In the early months following their 2015 election defeat, there was a sense among Conservatives that they were facing two terms in opposition. They knew the patient Canadian electorate generally grants new governments a second term, unless they screw up royally in their first one.

Winning is just the beginning for a new Conservative leader

The Conservatives will get a new national leader this coming weekend. Assuming the party’s computer system can handle the complicated preferential ballots with 14 names (Kevin O’Leary being on the ballot still), the Canadian electorate should know on Saturday who will be on offer if they choose to rid themselves of Justin Trudeau and don’t warm to whomever the NDP chooses.

Why no one is paying attention to the Conservative leadership campaign

The party that Stephen Harper built will choose a new leader in just 12 days’ time, and it has a big problem.

Normally, leadership campaigns serve to do two things – to excite the party faithful and to attract at least the interest of the electorate at large. There is no sign, however, that this Conservative campaign has done either.

Deciphering scandals: which ones are real and which are faux?

There are at least three varieties of political scandals – real scandals, maybe (or maybe not) scandals and faux scandals.

In the category of real scandals, I would put the Sponsorship scandal in which an estimated $100 million in taxpayer money disappeared to into the bank accounts of friends and supporters of Jean Chrétien’s Liberals. Another real scandal was the Airbus affair in which former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney secretly accepted $300,000 in cash from Karlheinz Schreiber, the Airbus lobbyist.

Opinion-Policy Nexus is a forum of opinion and commentary on topics related to public opinion and public policy. Views expressed in any blog entry are those of the author and do not reflect LISPOP's positions.

Authors
  • Ailsa Henderson
  • Andre Perrella
  • Anna Esselment
  • Anthony Piscitelli
  • Barry Kay
  • Ben Margulies
  • Christopher Alcantara
  • Christopher Cochrane
  • Geoffrey Stevens
  • Jason Roy
  • Jorg Broschek
  • Loren King
  • Manuel Riemer
  • Nikolaos Liodakis
  • Robert Williams
  • Simon Kiss
  • Timothy Gravelle
  • Zachary Spicer
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