Although I perhaps should know better by now, it never ceases to amaze me how our political leaders (or those hoping to soon join their ranks) conduct themselves. A perfect example of this are the interactions – or lack thereof – between our current City Council members and the multitude of candidates vying to replace them.
In more respectful times, upon their retirement, outgoing leaders were often praised for their service, dedication, or even character, especially by the candidates hoping to replace them. With many of Brantford’s City Council-members retiring, I expected to see something along those lines in this campaign cycle.
And why not? In what are widely expected to be tight races, garnering support – or at least showing respect for – your potential predecessor not only helps set a campaign’s tone; it could even expand a candidate’s pool of potential supporters.
But unfortunately, not one of the candidates running for Brantford City Council has done that, pointing to something I think many in politics have seemingly forgotten as of late: the synergy between math and politics.
At a fundamental level, all politics is about math – specifically, addition. Think about it: during an election cycle, a candidate’s main goal is to win votes by gaining and mobilizing supporters that will come out for them on Election Day. Built on decency and compromise, this tried-and-true methodology is all about coalition building and has done our country pretty well for the past 155 years.
Yet, candidates in this campaign cycle have, almost to a person, seemingly only known subtraction. Through the divisiveness of their words or actions, I think it is clear to all of us that there is little to no interest in coalition building or winning over new or skeptical voters.
This doesn’t bode well for Brantford and the challenges our community face. So in the campaign’s final weeks, let’s demand more of them. Because while the most important principle of politics – math – has been lost in this election season, it’s this writer’s hope that we can still remind all of the candidates running to represent us on the Brantford City Council that they think of addition when they interact with the Council-members facing retirement.
After all, they may very well be in their position much sooner than they themselves expect.