On November 8th, with a bowl of popcorn in tow and a friend by my side — I anxiously waited, anticipating the news of who would be become the 45th President of the United States of America. On the brink of this historic election, voters cast their ballots to elect either the flawed but highly qualified female candidate or the most openly racist and divisive candidate we’ve seen in recent history. Intriguingly, the outcome of this election would not just be felt within American borders. As I watched the events unfold, one thing was for certain: the winner of this election would dramatically impact the future of Canadian politics.
I decided to watch the CBC’s election special. Although, I assumed it would be far less entertaining than CNN, it was important for me to know how Canadian media would communicate the results to our country. When it became apparent that Donald Trump would win, with fear setting in, I listened intently to the conversations taking place on my TV screen. The panelists spoke about the yearn for change amongst the American people. How, Donald Trump, the anti-establishment candidate, represented a new direction for voters. They scrutinized the Democrats for drastically underestimating their hold on battleground states; and analyzed why we should not rely on polls.
However— when the panel was asked if gender was the reason for Hillary’s impending loss, viewers were given a perspective on racism that has been missing from mainstream Canadian media. CBC guest commentator and host of Politini, Danielle Moodie-Mills responded, “This is so much more bigger than that...this is literally White Supremacy's last stand in America”.
Danielle’s analysis is exactly what Canadians needed to hear in order for us to wake up to the realities of our current political climate. To help Canadians realize that the decision to target racialized individuals and evoke hate is not just the act of a flawed, belligerent or populist candidate — but a winning campaign strategy. It was used by the Conservatives in the last federal election, who still managed to become the Official Opposition; and most currently by Kellie Leitch in the Conservative Leadership Race. The U.S election is not just a disaster that happened to occur to our strongest political allies, it is mirror reflection of a growing trend in Canadian politics.
I awoke the morning after feeling hopeless. I feared for the safety of Black, Indigenous, POC, LGTBQ+ and Muslims folks, at a time when race relations in the U.S have intensified. However, it was during my morning commute that my fear extended to those of us living on this side of the border. Stopped at a red light, I stared at the human-sized American flag, hanging from the back window of the pick-up truck in front of me. This was a stark reminder that Canada is not a safe haven from Trump and his supporters; and if gone unchecked, we soon could be facing a similar reality.