KINSELLA: Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is using Trump’s playbook

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What happens when voters can no longer be shocked?

Given Alberta’s 2023 election, that’s a fair question. Provincial Premier Danielle Smith is competitive in every poll, even slightly ahead in some. And considering what she’s said and done, it’s kind of remarkable.

Here is a summary:

• She said that cancer patients are responsible for making them sick – “that’s entirely up to you,” she said.• She also said that smoking “reduces the risk of disease”.• She said people who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID are “the most discriminated group” – which was probably news to Jews, gays and people of colour.• She has said that malaria treatment is a “100 percent cure for coronavirus” when it is not at all.• She shrugs at Putin’s war on Ukraine and says: “Why should we be surprised if Russia is upset that Ukraine has nuclear weapons?” – although Ukraine has not done so in 30 years.• She tweeted that she prefers to redraw the map of Canada to obliterate British Columbia and give Alberta some waterfront.• She broke rules on conflicts of interest by telling her Minister of Justice what to do in prosecuting a street preacher who was later found guilty of crimes.

The last one just happened this week. Smith essentially dismissed the conflict of interest ruling as a vindication and continued her campaign. Which, as mentioned, could still see her win the Alberta election.

How can that be? How can someone as dumb as Danielle Smith be fit to be a small-town dogcatcher, let alone a provincial premier? How can someone who doesn’t know the law and ethics still be in the running?

The answer lies elsewhere. Believe it or not, in a gilded suite atop a tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. To be precise: 721 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10022.

It was there that Donald J. Trump not long ago conceived and then carried out his plan to become President of the United States. Which he did. Was in all the newspapers.

Those of us who put these papers together—and especially the Twittersphere—were masterfully played by Donald Trump. We actually show him winning the White House in 2016. We took him there.

What did Trump do? Here’s the answer, capitalized: SIMPLICITY, REPETITION, VOLUME. That’s it. That’s how he won, and we inky guys – and his free messaging service, Twitter – helped him out.

Donald Trump had no political experience. He had never held high political office. In fact, he had never done or said any of the things that helped candidates win elections in the past.

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But one thing Trump knew that the rest of us didn’t know. In one subject he was an absolute genius.

Donald Trump knew that politics had changed dramatically, possibly irreversibly. He knew that there were no more borders in politics. And above all, he understood how to use the Internet and the media better than anyone else in the history of the world.

Simplicity, repetition, volume: this is how you stand out in modernity. The internet has way too many pages. So to rise above the noise, you have to get louder. You have to say rude things.

So that’s what Donald Trump did. There is literally not enough space in this newspaper to list all of his insulting and outrageous statements. But those of us in the news media dutifully cataloged them all and then sat back, expecting voters to be just as outraged as we were.

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They weren’t. They are not. Almost nothing can shock voters more. And Donald Trump knew it.

It’s more than possible that Danielle Smith knows that, too. It’s actually probable. Smith is known to admire Trump’s political approach – to the point that she even reached out to one of his advisers for advice as well.

With Alberta’s 2023 general election drawing to a close, Danielle Smith could still win it. Not despite their stupid and insulting words and actions. She was able to win because – because of – her stupid and insulting words and actions.

Oh, and if she makes it, she should send Donald J. Trump a thank-you note.

He’s practically her campaign manager.


We’re sorry, but this video could not be loaded. KINSELLA: Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is using Trump’s playbook

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