In 1984, Canada had a stunning Federal Election. A 45-year-old political neophyte named Brian Mulroney, who had entered Parliament in a by-election (the Canadian equivalent of a Special Congressional Election) just a year before, became Canada’s 18th Prime Minister. He had no political experience; he had been a successful businessman before being chosen leader of the Progressive Conservative party without ever having held elective or governmental office. Sound familiar? He was married to a Balkan immigrant named Mila, 14 years his junior, who soon became notorious for her lavish tastes. Sound really familiar?
It was a massive victory: with 211 out of 282 seats in the House of Commons, and over 50% of the vote, it was the second-largest majority and the third-largest percentage of the popular vote in Canadian history. He appeared to be invincible; and four years later, he won again, becoming the first Progressive Conservative government ever to win two consecutive majorities.
After that, things fell apart. Literally. His personal corruption became legendary; wildly irresponsible budgeting led to a 67.7% increase in Canada’s national debt over his tenure in office; a massive, corporate-friendly tax reform was detested by the voters; and the disparate, mutually-antithetical coalition of Quebec separatists, Western populists and Central Canadian fiscal conservatives broke into three pieces. The separatists formed the Bloc Quebecois, the populists the Reform Party, and the rest the rump PCs. In 1993, the Progressive Conservatives were reduced to the fourth party in the House of Commons, with just two seats; with 156 seats lost, it was the largest loss in Canadian history, a record that will likely never be broken. The party never recovered; in 2003, it dissolved and merged with the Reform Party to become the Conservative Party.
If I were the Republicans, this would make me very nervous indeed.
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