“What fools these mortals be…”

Just to show how consistent we humans are, we can use the words of William Shakespeare to describe more recent events. What brings this to mind was a recent Ryerson University democracy forum. Chaired by Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star, the debaters were campaign heads for the three major parties in June’s Ontario election. Regg Cohn’s report on the forum struck us as the most political self-aggrandizement, self-pity and foolishness we have heard for a long time.

And the winner was… surprise, surprise, Kory Teneycke of the progressive conservatives. It is just that we do not agree with what he is bragging about. We could have told him he had won before the campaign even started.

But Teneycke (and I still cannot pronounce that name) gives the credit to his supposedly brilliant digital campaign for the conservatives. And, he uses all the current buzz words such as “curating” messages with the right “algorithms” for “target” audiences.

To have a winner, it is also necessary to have a loser and David Herle of the liberal party makes the perfect goat. The only thing I will not criticize him for was the decision by Premier Wynne to forfeit the election before it was over. That was the stupidest act I had seen in an election in more than 50 years of campaigns.

But David was not above reproach for how he handled the campaign. He actually admits that he had no idea how to handle the negatives on social media about Wynne. He said the liberals did not know how to fight it. He also said he was of the impression that digital advertising was “unpersuasive.”

I will quote my favourite campaign slogan for David: If you cannot push, pull. And if you cannot pull, you best get out of the way.

Bringing up the rear, as usual, was the NDP campaign, headed by Michael Balagus. I would not know him, if I tripped over him. He was certainly complimentary about the conservative use of social media and their own news. It is really too bad that his campaign had no focus, no theme and no hope until Ms. Wynne quit and people who hated Ford were conflicted by being told to vote for Ms. Horwath—who ran her own do-nothing campaign.

But what was unimpressive about the report was Teneycke’s insistence that campaigns would soon be 99 per cent digital. That was the attitude of a loser who did not understand people. It sounds more like some of the worried clergy in the middle ages who did not understand that it would take centuries for the anticipated impact of Herr Gutenberg’s invention. We move faster with technology today but not overnight.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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