How many times have you thought, “Trump could probably walk across the aisle, kill someone and still remain the leader.”
While a tad hyperbolic, I imagine many have thought about the outlandish idea.
Heck, if you haven’t thought, Trump has literally said it.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Trump said, “It’s, like, incredible.”
That sort of confidence, as well as the support behind it, doesn’t come easy.
While many spoke as if Trump would be the only person to be afforded such privileges in modern history, the truth appears far more pervasive.
Simply take a moment and look north, and it would be hard to miss some of the but growing similarities.
Like Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister descends from the upper echelons, took over a crumbling party, won while being vastly underestimated, and proceeded to fail on some of the largest promises made.
For Trudeau, the budgets didn’t balance themselves, and likely won’t for another decade.
But of course, failing key promises is just the beginning.
Both men faced accusations of sexual misconduct, offended large swaths of their own population, and both see themselves in the middle of large scale scandals, that could see their respective administrations brought down.
Impeachment has been discussed in Congress for the first time in Trump’s term, while Trudeau could see an RCMP inquiry following the election, due to the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin case.
So far the Canadian government has blocked the force by refusing to lift confidentiality on key witnesses.
Both men have lost senior officials who in turn have called out their former leader, and perhaps most importantly of all, on the world stage, both have embarrassed their respective countries.
Trump’s many awkward interactions are more than public, while Trudeau’s three or more blackface problem has already grown to become the most shared news story in this news cycle, almost guaranteeing a loss in the nations international standing.
After all this, both men are still in a position where victory looks possible.
In the case of Trudeau, polls show victory to be highly likely, with the CBC poll tracker giving the Liberals a sizable lead in terms of winnable seats.
The Liberal support looks so resilient in fact, that would wager even if 10 more blackface photos dropped, nothing would change.
The reasoning for that and Trump’s resilience in the face of opposition is quite simple, leaders can only be cancelled by their own followers, and well followers, especially the most devoted can rationalize almost anything.
In today’s world which appears to be rapidly be moving towards a more partisan divide, the moderate centre which typically forced reason against blind political interests simply does not exist in the same way it used too.
While the divide is problematic, the state of the media in combination with advances in technology have only amplified this problem.
Before the Facebook era, the media used to act as a gatekeeper against the most extreme ideas.
With the advance of the internet and the rapid reduction in media bottom lines, the capacity for journalists to gatekeep have become all but none-existant.
Instead, politicians have the option of developing rockstar like relationships with a deep base that can then distribute whatever message needed.
With far fewer moderates, far fewer journalists, and a far more open internet, politicians with enough personality and resources are free to act as if they are truly untouchable.
While this all sounds truly frightening, I don’t expect it to change.
Untouchable leaders could be the realities of today’s politics.