Former Canadian Conservative Prime Minster Stephen Harper says American elites blamed the people and not themselves for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election.
In his new book “Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption” and excerpted in the National Post, Harper says virtually all the commentators predicted that Trump could not win because they concluded “he is a fool and a bigot. Therefore, they surmised, the voters must be fools and bigots as well.”
“The ones with the foolish and preconceived notions were those who got it so wrong. It is time to re-examine our assumptions.”
Harper, who was never known as a populist politician despite first being elected to the Canadian Parliament as a member of the populist Reform Party, says that people voted for Trump “because they are really not doing very well. In short, the world of globalization is not working for many of our own people.”
He argues that conservatives who still don’t accept Trump “have a choice. We can keep trying to convince people that they misunderstood their own lives, or we can try to understand what they are saying. Then we can decide what to do about.”
The former prime minister also applauds Ronald Reagan for winning the Cold War and spreading “our values — free societies, free markets, free trade, free movement … ” around the world. But he says despite that foreign policy and ideological victory, American salaries “have stagnated or event declined over the past quarter-century … Trump clearly understood this.”