Stephen Harper explains why Trump won

Mainstream media, pay attention. Well over two years since Donald Trump won the presidential election and the Left’s handwringing about how and why still hasn’t abated.

And no, the answer isn’t Russia, though you wouldn’t know that from watching most press coverage.

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, whose book Right Here, Right Now explores populism in great detail, answers the question in a video produced by Prager University.

“I did not expect Donald Trump to be elected president of the United States, but unlike most observers, I did think it was at least possible,” he said. “Why? Because I sensed, as Mr. Trump surely did, that the political landscape had shifted.”

Harper takes aim at the characterization of ordinary people as “deplorables” in distilling the western population to two main groups–the Anywheres and the Somewheres.

The Anywheres can live and work pretty much wherever in the world they choose, unimpacted by things like outsourcing and technological disruption. The Somewheres are your quintessential midwestern voters, tied to their communities and their jobs. They don’t have the luxury of picking up and moving to greener pastures when their communities and jobs cease to exist.

Even if one disagrees with the Somewheres’ views on immigration and economics, Harper said it’s imperative that leaders try to understand and offer solutions.

Those solutions, he says, lie in “tried and true conservative values.”

In conversation with Maxime Bernier

It’s only been two months since Maxime Bernier walked away from the party he once tried to lead to launch the People’s Party of Canada.

In that time, the PPC’s membership has increased, as has its war chest despite not yet being allowed to issue tax receipts. Though Bernier has attracted continued criticism from the mainstream media, and his former colleagues in the Conservative Party of Canada.

Though no poll has shown the PPC as being near victory, the party has momentum and energy. This poses challenges for the Conservative campaign and for right-leaning voters.

It’s still not clear what impact the PPC will have in the narrative of next year’s election campaigns or in the results themselves. Even if the PPC doesn’t win, it could damage Conservative campaigns in ridings with historically narrow margins.

As a longtime conservative, this possibility hasn’t sat well with me. I wanted to challenge Bernier on the impact his party is having on the broader conservative movement in Canada, and also allow him to articulate his vision for Canada in his own words.

I supported Bernier in his leadership bid, and also supported him against critics earlier this summer when he started speaking out on immigration and diversity issues in Canada. Though I’m sympathetic to his ideas, I’m not a fan of having a fractured right again.

I explained to Bernier’s team that I wanted to tackle these in an in-depth interview for the True North Initiative. They were excited for the opportunity, as was I.

In this interview, I put the questions that matter to Canadian conservatives to Bernier.