Young People Are Key to Preventing a Shift to the Far Right

Maybe you haven’t been following the upcoming federal election in Canada. But you should.

World leaders can check or bolster each other, depending on where they fall on the political spectrum. And Canada, like the United States, is experiencing a problem with alt-right extremism, which today’s brand of conservative seems to be happy to use as they look to take down Justin Trudeau.

In fact, it’s a global problem, and it feeds on itself. The more far-right allies Donald Trump gets — especially in democratic countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Israel and so on — the less of an outlier he appears to be and the more effectively he can gaslight politicians (domestic and foreign) and voters who oppose him.

Did you follow the French election a couple years back when Emmanuel Macron won a close race against an extremely far-right candidate with media influence? I’ll say again: You should have.

Macron has proven to be an effective ally to progressives in Europe, but he nearly lost the race. And there can be a domino effect when it comes to close races, in which a small segment of voters is influenced by the way the political winds appear to be blowing globally. In fact, many democratic countries around the world that still have someone more liberal in power are in danger of being taken over by someone on the fringes of the far right.

So where is Canada? Currently, the conservatives are nearly equal with Trudeau’s incumbent liberals — in large part due to the SNC-Lavalin scandal, which, depending on whom you talk to, is deep state corruption or nothing at all.

The election isn’t until the fall, but recent polling data has been divided by region, age and every other conceivable demographic. It’s interesting — particularly the provincial data, given that there have been a slew of important provincial elections lately. (You won’t believe who is running Alberta now.) But let’s focus on voting intentions by age, according to the latest polling data.

Trudeau, the incumbent liberal prime minister, is barely holding his own against Andrew Scheer, the conservative candidate who courts white supremacists, is in the pocket of oil and gas and has shown a propensity for operating outside the law.

But when you look at each age group, Trudeau has a comfortable lead among those ages 18 to 29, dropping among older cohorts. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party numbers are below every other major party except Green among the young voters. And compared to people 60 and older, the Conservative vote is nearly cut in half for those in the 18 to 29 age group.

The same is true for other left-leaning party options. The New Democratic Party, a further-left alternative to the Liberals, has about a quarter of the 18 to 29 vote. But it drops to 11% in the 60+ category. Greens also drop in their level of support among older voters, though not as significantly.

Of course, we all know how important the 60+ voting category is. Younger people don’t vote as reliably as older people do. But Canada is in serious danger of voting in its own Trump-like figure, and only young people can stop him. That makes voter apathy Scheer’s greatest weapon.

Fingers crossed the issues we are facing will make apathy among young people a thing of the past — both in Canada in 2019 and then again in the United States in 2020.

Photo credit: adamkaz/Getty Images

46 comments

Dan B
Dan Blossfeld3 hours ago

Annabel B.,
Considering that 16 and 17 year olds cannot vote legally, and most 18-21 year olds barely take the time to vote, we are referring to those in their mid 20s. Most people in their 20s have very little experience in the work force or on their own compared to those much older. While some are reasonable and have good sense, their inexperience can lead to poor decision making, compared to their elders. This is not to say that older people do not make foolish decisions. Just that they are much less likely to do so, based on past experiences. Societies of past tended to value the wisdom of the elderly to a much greater extent than today.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 days ago

Dan B
First, let's define what age group we are talking about. If it's the 16 and 17 year-olds I would agree with you. If it's the mid to late 20s then I believe they are capable of coming to reasonable conclusions about the world and vote with good sense. I would remind you that Trump was not elected by the young!!!!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 days ago

Annabel B.,
While I would agree that the young are more idealistic and have greater vision (I was young once also), their lack of experience can lead to poor decisions. This generation is not unique, as this has occurred throughout the ages.

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Paul B
Paul B2 days ago

How about we just try to keep the kids from moving to the far left. Either extreme is bad... things get done when people tend towards the middle.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini2 days ago

Dan Blossfeld
The debate, as far as I see, is not about wise age versus ignorant youth but about Trump-style conservatism versus something more progressive. Your contention that the older generation know best simply because they have more experience may be true in some areas of life but in this case, it's the young who have greater vision for how they would like their world to be. You have to admit, our generation has not made a huge success of running the world for the betterment of everyone!

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Rita Delfing
Rita D2 days ago

Yes a big concern here in Canada, I am not a huge fan of Trudeau, sadly our voting system is not a fair system and lacks a proportional system. Therefore voting for the lesser evil is needed, and that means I will vote for anything but Conservative. I am starting to fear for my friends who are gay, or trans, not white, and foreign. It's a slippery slope when we side with the oppressor out of fear because of change.

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Mark T
Mark Turner2 days ago

Ty.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 days ago

Thanks.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 days ago

Anne M.,
So true. Fortunately, the wisest and most experienced tend to turnout at the highest rates..

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