The populist moniker used by Toronto’s Ford brothers, Rob and Doug, as a label to describe a loyal suburban voter coalition which they worked to attract to an anti-government brand of conservatism.
“Ford Nation” helped elect Rob first as a Councillor and later as Mayor. The loyalty of “Ford Nation” was tested by the Mayor’s many antics and the scandals that surrounded him.
Rob’s older brother Doug became the face of “Ford Nation” after he won the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in March 2018. Less than three months later Ford won the provincial election by a landslide. After a rocky start as Premier – when Ford was repeatedly forced to withdraw or re-design many signature initiatives in the face of public reaction – his government steadied itself by heaving more to the political centre.
Ford made some notable mistakes at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. But he soon found his feet in providing steady leadership. Bombastic rhetoric was gone, and surprisingly to many, the populist Ford berated people – many of whom were likely “Ford Nation” supporters – for protesting quarantine and closure measures. Calling the protesters “a bunch of yahoos” may have hurt Ford in the eyes of some “Ford Nation” voters, but it won him support elsewhere on the political spectrum.
Image source: Wikimedia
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