“It’s King or chaos”

The catchy, alliterative slogan used by Mackenzie King’s Liberals against R.B. Bennett’s beleaguered Conservative government in the 1935 election campaign at the very depths of the Great Depression.

The Tories were paying the political price for the country’s worst-ever economic crisis, and the “King or Chaos” statement juxtaposed King’s experienced hand (he had previously served two terms as Prime Minister) against the hapless and politically-tone deaf Bennett.

The result was a landslide: 171 Liberal seats pushed the Conservatives down to a (then) historic low of 39.

Echoes of “It’s King or Chaos” can be detected to some degree in most subsequent campaigns – including Stephen Harper’s reelection messaging in 2008, 2011, and 2015 – stressing the economic risk inherent in choosing the less-experienced political option.

Image source: Wikimedia

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