Radicalizing the opposition: How players outsmart themselves.

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Whenever we talk about an extreme collective, what we actually mean is an expensive or greedy collective. Extreme Right means rich people hoarding money, but an Extreme Left means middle class and poor people expecting free money to fund everything for them. Both want things they did not earn, trying to frame it in a moral issue of being their “right.”

And for both, it is never enough. They always have a new cause, grief, and shopping list. It never ends.

These bottomless pits of high-maintenance cabals are not worth the price tag. Rich people aren’t rich because they give money: they exploit, throw pennies, make threats, and then think they owe you as they make outrageous demands. I have seen that up close. They pay less than average, and often nothing at all.

But then you have those on the other extreme: they always want, want, want without making any suggestion about how they will actively obtain it. It is never enough — and how many of this ilk call themselves “activists” but the “active” part never seems to materialize. They will mug all sad-faced for the camera because there isn’t enough money in the world to fund everything they want.

I am not a skinflint. I believe in healthcare and pharmacare. I believe in accessible education. I believe in decent wages and functional working conditions.

But I do believe the entire whole has to contribute in order to keep things progressing. I believe in responsibilities that go along with the rights.

So you have two extremists within any given society and both have the identical mindset. They are always on, and they would demand the same money — and you would receive no goodwill for it. Neither would ever say, “Don’t worry; that’s more than enough. I can do the rest myself.” In modern Western society, it never happens, and there is no reasoning: both see themselves as superior and distrust anyone who makes a mere suggestion. How dare you? Who are you to meddle?

The one who you want to stiff with the bill whether you can pay for it yourself or not.

In a political landscape, a cagey strategist keeps a damper on both. These are hard layers of society, very much like a Dobos torte.

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Both have a sense of entitlement: the rich think they are smarter and are the ones who are doing the hiring. They are not doing all of it, however. The poor, when they work, do the hard jobs and live in the bad parts of town, unless they know how to use a social safety net, and then they do better than it first appears.

But often, both the rich and the poor use the same social safety nets but for different reasons. Many independently wealthy people know that certain kinds of public transportations can be free and they use it daily, for instance, and they use the same service as the poorest. There are free home care service that both extreme groups use. If you know your way around a system, you can literally save yourself thousands a dollars a year.

These safety nets are meant for the poor, but people in mansions use them, too.

So we have a peculiar system in the West where money is thrown around with noway of knowing anything save for the fact that there is never enough.

And there is no end to demands with a passive entitlement.

Look at this propaganda poster, for instance.

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Imagine if parents and students actively went exploring their own strengths and weaknesses, experimented with trial and error, let go of the Zero-Risk Mindset and were willing to fail and learn to find this for themselves.

Imagine having to own up to shortcomings, practicing, failing, and then going back into the ring again.

This propaganda poster literally wants learning by osmosis. Why don’t we just set up an IV and let it drip in your brain as you stare like a dummy on your godphone.

Let some They do all the work for us. This is the reason AI and androids are all the rage: maybe we can just lie on the sofa all day as we get high, sink low, and let someone else live our lives for us.

No one wants to invest. No one wants to take a risk.

But everybody wants something.

And the more, the better.

The political landscape has been stymied because election campaigns are the time where politicians actively bribe people to vote for them. People want those expensive trinkets, and the government promises sunny ways, if only you will give them your vote.

The problem when you bribe for votes, people imagine a Happily Ever After once your are in power.

Traditionally, the class to court was the Middle Class — the soft layer of the Dobos Torte because the hard layers protected them: the poor did the hardest jobs and took the hits, while the rich gave the jobs and took the risks.

So this is the most naive and sheltered class we have — and the easiest to manipulate.

They are the ones who usually do not know about all the social safety nets, let alone exploit them. It is not as if they don’t use them, such as libraries as they are cheaper entertainment, particularly for children, but it is not the same.

Ideally, you want a society with as many Middle Class people as you can muster. They are the most trusting, the least demanding, willing to earn their keep without question, and they are the tax base you have to placate the hard layers as much as you can.

You also want as many rich and poor people to identify as Middle Class as well: it is an obedient mindset that makes people feel good. They make less demands. When you give certain poor graft, you give them just enough to squeeze a reasonable facsimile of the Middle Class lifestyle. It is comfortable enough, and the mindset keeps the peace.

But when politicians are in a tight race, they often get desperate, and they do something strategically off to set off one of the two extremes. For all the talk about Left and Right-wing politics, both sides are the most successful when they place themselves in a centrist position. A Centrist, Middle Class comfort zone ensures the most votes, and the smoothest sailing for any regime. Let people delude themselves into thinking their Left/Right-wing Light means they are informed and out there. Bless their heads.

A panicked politician may often press the wrong button, and then they awaken and mobilize the wrong faction. Kathleen Wynne did this to her own detriment.

The Ontario Liberals were centrist for years, but then slowly drifted increasingly to the Left, where there is already a party in place: the NDP. They are on the edge, and save for one freak term, can never muster enough seats to govern.

Wynne started cribbing from Andrea Horwath’s playbook during the last election, doing very dicey things, such as Basic Income. She did it in NDP territory of Hamilton, and if she hoped to sway votes, it gloriously backfired.

All she managed to do was radicalize the Left in the province, and then they got greedy.

Once emboldened because they got something from the centrist Grits, they weren’t grateful, and they certainly didn’t show respect to the party who gave it to them and suddenly switched their vote: they figured a more leftist party would up the ante and give them even more.

In this case, “free” (taxpayer-funded) dental care.

The Liberals were wiped out, and the NDP surged to become the official opposition. To steer too far into strange territory was a de facto admission that they were wrong all this time, and were swallowed up by the radicalized element.

The problem was that there was not enough votes to sustain a NDP victory: those in the centre who did not become infected with radicalization voted in the opposite direction, and it was the Conservatives who won the majority, and then took away all those gains the left had from the Liberal regime, making them even more radicalized in the bargain, figuring the louder and angrier they are, the better chance they have of forcing people to give them things. So far, it has been a recipe for marginalization. Basic Income was taken away, and the hotbed for cultivating leftist politicians — Toronto City Hall was slashed to almost half.

Had Wynne kept in the middle, she had a better chance to retain power, by trying to woo the hard left, she lost her centrist votes and did free campaigning for her rival as her other rival sailed to an easy victory.

The Federal Liberals are in a very similar bind these days, and this was not the time to have the problem brought on by SNC-Lavalin, a company that cut its Canadian workforce by over half in less than a decade, but threatened to march itself in the UK, even though Brexit is looming over Britain.

The scandal was exploited by the press, which was an odd thing to do: with an election year this year, the federal Liberals promised newspaper owners free money to bail their incompetent asses out of a jam.

But they harped and harped on it, and then the scandal took a life of its own out of their hands.

And with much backtracking, justifying, and misreading the signs, many stories right now are trying to tie things up — the Prime Minister pretended to be sorry as he blubbered another sorry to something unrelated to his own actions, so let’s all calm down.

Too late.

What the scandal has now done is radicalize the right. It is not quite the same as the Wynne case, but a group has been radicalized nonetheless. It doesn’t matter if the press reports on it or not. The Grits let this wound bleed for a month. It doesn’t matter what happens with SNC-Lavalin anymore. It doesn’t matter what the PM says anymore. It doesn’t matter what deceptive propaganda the government tries to spew to pretend there is job growth instead of retraction because housing is tumbling, the bank of mom and dad has run dry, and Alberta is having meltdown. The damage is done.

The right have now been radicalized, but so have those the fiscal far-right — those with money and clout. The Grits did the unspeakable and lifted a curtain just enough for the Middle Class to see that the laws in this country apply to everyone but the rich who write the laws and take the graft.

And they will do all that they can replace that clumsy regime with one that knows how to do things behind an iron curtain will reassuring the jittery middle class that those things will never happen again. They will be greedy about it, too because for the rich, it is never enough. SNC-Lavalin keeps getting in all kinds of trouble with the world because of it, but it never stops them from asking for more than before, and the government happily obliges.

Whoever wins the election, the first order of business being dealing with those who put it out the scandal in the first place.

While the Grits are getting more distracted by other things, the dynamics of this election have altered.

A extremist fringe has been awakened. It will cost them, because contrary to first appearances, Justin Trudeau did not take the Grits to the Left or keep them Centrist: he shifted them to the Right.

He legalized pot, and that is, in theory, supposed to make entrepreneurs rich. Extremely rich. It is the reason why so many politicians invested heavily in those businesses in the first place.

And why we are seeing a push to open the gates to legalized heroin and to lower the age to 16.

Notice how it is never enough.

By demoting a minister to appease corporate interests, Trudeau didn’t help empower a female: he humiliated her on a global scale to let the rich white boys skirt some consequences, even though they have been pulling out of these country and never seem to learn their lesson, no many how many times they get nabbed.

That means the wealthy will push harder, not retreat. The NDP don’t get the nuances and their core is to the left. The Grits are trying to go Right, and while they are willing to play the game, they suck at it, causing scandal in their wake.

It is a hot mess, and one a centrist regime often finds itself in. They are not a radical centre where the point is to foster and grow a core with ways other than electoral bribery. A radical centrist, unlike the garden variety centrist, pushes toward a Complete Risk Strategy. No gambles. No sure things. No status quo. No predictability. Just risk.

This creates an active arena where rigs to keep things static cannot work. There are no hard and soft layers. There are no rights without responsibilities. Rules are turned over until they break, and then they fragments are studied. There is no complacency. While the Fourth Medium — the Internet — is sedentary and encourages in-groups and staying in place, a radical centre seeks media that encourage movement, connection, and exploration.

And no They to beg or Them to blame. It Us. It is Matriarchal. It is not about narratives. It is about finding the deepest truths of the university, getting to know and cherish them with our every revelation, right before we unleash that truth to pave new paths ourselves.

Without fear or anger.

It is a balance, and we need that balance for all people to prosper…

Lefties in Toronto having a meltdown; Hamilton left without representation as Steel under threat.

Doug Ford gets his majority. Considering the disarray the Tories were in at the beginning, this is a feat.

Ford was shrewd: he was vague, repetitive, heavy on strategic catchphrases, didn't encourage candidates to debate, but knew which ridings to strike. It is often nearly impossible to win an election on suburbs and rural areas alone, but he pulled it off. Ford Nation has moved up a significant notch.

Those ridings who voted Blue are going to have their fortunes rise as they will have cabinet ministers ensuring their resources go to their turfs, and considering these ridings tend to be the province Haves, this can shore up the province's fortunes.

But not for everyone.

Toronto is going to be in trouble. The spoiled ridings that veered to NDP from Liberal are not going to have the same old protection having cabinet ministers who will lavish goodies to them and fight their battles. It will be a serious tactical error, but it could have been worse.

Hamilton, as usual, voted NDP instead of the party that had a real chance of forming a government. Steel City used to be robust when they voted Liberal when the Grits were in power. Dundas, usually a politically cagier area, hedged their bets on Orange, and will now not have a presence in the government. Donna Skelly is the lone PC MPP in the region, and it should get her a cabinet position for that reason. Persistence paid for her.

Now that Hamilton can be counted on always voting for the losing party, and with the trade wars with the US, this is not good for the rusted small town with a big city population. They will have no bloc in the cabinet to lobby for their interests.

Hamilton isn't the only demographic who has poor grasp of strategic voting. St. Catharines and Windsor also went Orange -- both economically-strapped regions with serious poverty and crime problems. They won't be digging out any time soon now, and most likely fall deeper into an abyss. The local television station is trying to spin it because the NDP is now official opposition, but elections are all or none -- no one cares about the silver medal when all the bounty is strictly given to the ones who got gold.

The Liberals walked a tightrope, but the divide between rich and poor and grew too far apart for them to get another term. 

The Green Party has one seat in Guelph, which is a very interesting turn to say the least.

Unions are also in trouble twice over. They betrayed their champion Wynne, making the next Liberal leader warier of indulging unreasonable requests from that now unreliable bloc, while Ford, will now be indulging the private sector.

The election proves that the idea of the Left-of-Centre voter being in the majority is an actual myth. They may loudly babble on Twitter and Facebook, but when it comes to actually voting -- the only action that counts -- they stay away from the voting booths in droves...

But that being said, Wynne won her seat and the Grits are but did not retain their party status. This is the Government Party, after all, and they are teachable and have no trouble reinventing themselves. Wynne's gambit didn't work (though it seemed like it would at one point when the Grits were leading in 9 ridings, but fell to the PCs). Even in defeat, she tried to pull a rabbit out of her hat...

Why the press never got Kathleen Wynne: Because they never understood the secret problem with women in power.

When I was in j-school, as part of one of my classes, I did a documentary that aired on the local television station about women who smoked cigars. I did a lot of research, but it was different than the research I had done in the past. I had interviewed a professor who specialized in the topic, and interviewed one woman who frequented the cigar shop as well as that store's manager who was also a cigar-smoking woman as well. The manager was sharp, insightful, comely, young, elegant, articulate, lively, and made for a very good interview, and I was not surprised that a couple of months after my documentary aired, that she ended up being on the cover of the city's business magazine, smoking a cigar, of course. As an interview subject, she was a find and a get.

And strangely, the city's best kept secret until my interview. It was her store's backroom parlour where people in power didn't just smoke stogies: they did business deals in there. It was an unspoken power centre -- and you wouldn't think a small cigar shop in a downtown shopping mall would fit that bill.

I had even managed to get permission and the cover slide from the magazine Aficionado for my piece -- in was the days where email wasn't an option, and they couldn't just email me the image: they had to mail the slide to me, and I had to mail it back.

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But back to the manager.

She seemed to have been invisible. It is hard to imagine that someone who ran an unlikely hub wouldn't be the talk of the town long before a young and ambitious j-school student with her ear to the ground got an idea in her head to explore the topic that would bring her to an unknown trailblazer.

You'd think she would have gotten a lot of publicity, even outside of the city. Women smoking cigars was the rage back then, and there was a reason: it was a way to tweak those in power who had made-up rules to keep their clubhouse an elite one. Turn over the rule, prove it to be trivial, and then push to cross another line.

The hypothetical and untested truisms get knocked down one by one, as you prove that the false list of what makes successful people superior to others is just a feint and a ruse, and you take away their fortresses and defences one by one as you gain equality.

But not before you gain experience first. Without experience, you have no map on how to deal with confines and obstacles. You get tripped up by simple tricks. You think invisible walls are real, and you become your own enemy who stops you from pushing ahead.

Challenging the trivial gets you thinking on how to challenge the bigger threats once you reach them.

But always gaining experience and devising your maps as you hone your own natural thought processes, experience, and emotions to work with you and not against you.

I am a tweaker and challenger by nature. I learned the value of the left hook -- the probe jab -- and the howling reactions they get, always revealing the strategies of those who seek to keep me back: how they think they can try to impose a false pecking order, what made up garbage they will throw in my face as "proof" of something, and the like.

Over the years, I created my own war manual to help me combat the various war strategies used against people like me. I have read The Art of War and other manuals of the sort in order to gain an understanding of how to fight.

Except those manuals were made for men to be used by men. They are not in tune with women's thought processes, confines, strengths, weaknesses, or experiences.

I realized this problem when I was doing that fateful documentary.

Here were women tweaking the noses of those powerful white men by smoking cigars in the same clubhouse where big deals were being made -- it was a subtle political defiance, but it was often turned in such a way as to sexualize the women thumbing their nose at convention.

At first, it was seen as a threat until a counterpunch of downplaying and trivializing the act seemingly neutralized its symbolic impact. 

Except it did break down a subtle barrier, and did its job.

I know the cigar stench got me thinking about how women had to struggle, especially if they didn't fit some puritanical and Victorian mold. Women were never allowed to be focussed: she had to "have it all": get married, have kids, be perky, and work without ever complaining. She had to smile and be bubbly as she expressed gratitude how lucky she was that some man gave her the time of day, that her children were all perfectly behaved geniuses, and had the best career ever as she looked like a toothpick and injected her face so she never looked her age -- because getting older was a bad thing.

She could drown her sorrows in her wine because at least that looked chic and glamorous with her girl posse who all competed to try to make herself be the most envious of the group.

As a misdirection, it still works extremely well. Any natural bumps or troubles were to be internalized as the woman's failure.

I always said women's greatest strength was also her greatest sin: women have an ability to turn any hell to feel like a paradise, meaning she is enabling every bad thing and taking that burden herself.

If you are in Hell, you do not reward it. If Hell wants to be paradise, it shouldn't be banking on women do to the dirty work.

No wonder there is perpetual trouble in paradise: there is always a hell being hidden if you scratch the surface.

This problem dawned on me very early in my life, and the genesis of my realization began in that smoky, but posh room where I did my filming and interviewing.

Women would push for rights, break a rule or two, and then had no idea what to do once she reached the next level. There are always too many distractions, and so very little guidance.

That has never been the case for men who had centuries to study each other, clinically look at how their forefathers succeeded and failed, and then improve on their methods.

I keep meticulous notes on women in power: I see how they succeeded and broke down a barrier, but then, having no road map, get lost along the way, and then fail.

I do it in order to find a better way -- not to knock or dismiss a woman who worked hard and paved a path. Men have no shortage of books that speak to their own natural and evolutionary rhythms. Women have none -- or they are like me, they have the manual, but don't have it published.

Sometimes women get livid when you collect failures -- but in order not to repeat failures, you have to collect them, analyze them, and see where all the rigs were.

Or else you end up like Hillary Clinton -- a woman who had more supports than any presidential candidate in US history -- and then lose to a man who never ran for public office in his entire life.

She made serious tactical errors: she focussed on the wrong things and ignored the critical ones because she thought she was cunning, never seeing how blind she was to her own self-entitled narrative.

But her rival saw how blind she was and took full advantage of it.

Covering women in power is something journalists never learned to do properly. They either go for the fluffy cheerleader patronizing drivel, or they turn the woman into a dangerous monster who must be stopped.

It is unscientific, childish, and completely uninformative.

Kathleen Wynne is a premier who the press never understood. They didn't understand how she broke barriers to become premier -- and they certainly don't get how she lost power.

Doug Ford shook her confidence with a single question.

But she is a very good strategist, better than the average woman who chases narratives that work against her.

Wynne was focussed. She understood that she didn't have to be everyone's best friend to win: she focussed on several key alliances, and wasn't distracted by the men who were threatened by her because she was breaking their codes one by one.

When she was first elected, I had written to her because I had an issue that was of great interest to me as a writer, and I asked a question about it to her.

To me surprise, she wrote back to me personally, with a very direct, polite answer with a long list of various resources. The problem was none of those remotely touched the actual problem, but she didn't rudely dismiss me, have an underling send me a form letter, or ignore me.

On the other hand, my mother contacted her MPP Andrea Horwath a couple of years ago with a serious issue regarding a problem for the severely disabled. Horwath never spoke directly to her, had an underling call and admit they knew nothing about this issue, but would look into it. He called back a few days later, expressed surprise that yes, this was true and a big problem...and then hung up on her.

My mother's question was a critical one of life and death, and the apathy was horrendous. My question was important, but not in the same league, and Wynne took it seriously and directly, with her response being a couple of pages long. It was more than obvious that someone took the time to research and come up with the best the province had at the time.

Wynne was not like the other politicians. It's easy to see why she succeeded against all odds: she is involved. She has no problem dealing directly with people. She is willing to walk into the eye of the storm and face it.

But she faltered in this campaign, but it is not her doing.

First, she, like many women, had to clean up a mess of a man's making. In this case, her predecessor who jumped ship and abandoned the province when the going got tough. That she could get elected at all five years ago is a real and commendable feat.

That she was a visionary and managed to put her own imprint on policy without merely phoning in is also extraordinary.

We don't have too may female visionaries, particularly not in politics, and especially not in Canadian politics, but Wynne (and Christie Clark) are it.

So what went wrong this time around?

It is the second element that was not in her control: she was in unchartered territory for a woman, and she hedged her bets wrong.

In order to keep the Liberal ship afloat after Dalton McGuinty's chaotic turn as captain, Wynne made strategic alliances with certain groups, who, by theory, should have been grateful. It is often said that campaigns are the time where politicians bribe the electorate with their own tax money, but the tax base was such where the province had to borrow other people's money in order to do it. Those who benefitted the most from the Wynne regime should have understood the nature of the balance, and have sided with the premier who delivered on their unreasonable demands.

But they jumped ship and ran to someone who made bigger promises, even though there will be no way to deliver.

That's the precise trap that ensnared Wynne. If she had been prepared for those predictable and ungrateful defections, she could have been better prepared for it.

Those groups are asking, not thinking. Wynne increased the minimum wage, angering the business sector who would happily chain employees to their desks if they could. They were pleading poverty as they made full-time use of unpaid interns -- including many publications, such as The Walrus. Howling at having to pay employees a decent wage made them livid.

But those who benefitted from that increase didn't bother thanking Wynne. They just went to the NDP who parsed words to imply free dental care, even if that was not what was actually promised. You are not going to get free root canals and bridges. That would bankrupt the province.

What you will get is a vague promise that one of seven dental buses may come to your neighbourhood and do some basic work, like pulling out a bad tooth...but not with a free implant or denture.

Because the idea that you may end up with wages and benefits that would allow you to get your own dental work never crossed the minds of those who got a raise -- and those who also saw a bump in their salaries as a result.

Wynne arrived, delivered...and then got thrown off the stage.

But the news media was blind to it all.

Some saw she was betrayed by her alliances (as I have mentioned as well), but not why this betrayal was significant. Some took pity on her, but she didn't deserve that kind of patronizing abuse. She broke barriers and was focussed, but her troubles began having to try to make a paradise out of a hell -- and when you do that, you start to lose focus.

There are observations about female premiers getting turfed out after one term, but it is not about sex per se: it is about not having the deep roots in governing. It is easy to make money when you come from money: daddy gives you the seed money and connections, and you can lie to yourself that it is your ability, not your family's help, meddling, and legacy.

But when you are an orphan, you do not have people telling you what schools to go to or what Shibboleths to know to be accepted -- or what precise barriers you actually need to break.

We see this with Justin Trudeau: he had daddy Pierre's legacy and operatives to guide him -- and he glided all the way to 22 Sussex -- but once he tried to go toe-to-toe with the US president, he fell flat on his face.

He had the unspoken manual of how to be Prime Minister, but not how to deal with someone who isn't impressed with his cheats, hacks, tricks, and stunts.

But he still has other male leaders to refer to as a guide, even if this scenario is rare. Wynne doesn't.

But she has no shortage of frightened little boys to chastise her in the funny pages. The National Post is doing it, not seeing the big picture because that would require not being a petty little soul. The Hill Times sounds like a jealous little brat not seeing why Wynne's preemptive move was brave -- why would she just go away because her vision is not in tune with the little cowardly boys who think their made-up rules are there to keep their delusions in place?

Wynne was smart enough to get elected. She was brave enough to admit defeat and take control, unlike Clinton who never anticipated that sometimes you are going to lose even when you are blinded by a confirmation bias, missing all of the signs warning you to take a more humble and realistic attitude so you can make workable counter-plans.

It is easy to knock people who dare to bring change and be different, even when it is not convenient or what a passive majority are comfortable with as they never see the obvious storms ahead of them.

Wynne isn't perfect, but neither are you -- or me, but she broke barriers and made it to a level no woman in Ontario ever did.

But for the next woman, she had better be wise enough to take the lessons of the past in order not to make the same mistake -- and bring women back as they are then painted as unteachable and limited.

It will be a lie, of course, but the lessons are there -- and if journalism refuses to chronicle reality, it is up to others to pick up the slack...

Kathleen Wynne's brilliant gambit.

Kathleen Wynne has a brain and she has guts. Unlike the cowardly and oblivious Hillary Clinton who had no concession speech, Wynne chases out in front.

Proving she is both a realist and strategist, Wynne took control of the situation and did something the Big Boys do not have the ovaries to do: concede defeat before the end of the election.

It was a daring gambit, and it proved that Wynne isn't in it for her: she warned Ontarians not to make a knee-jerk reaction and give a majority to the weak contenders.

It takes a realist to be able to face that kind of truth in public -- and then strategically try to save the party by doing something no one has ever done before. It is something to admire and something a lot of people would be wise to study. It is very easy to be out there when everything goes your way; it is another thing when everything is working against you.

But this isn't good news for Ontario -- a province that does not have its house in order and the new minders are unprepared for what is coming ahead. Andrea Horwath has no vision, let alone that aligns with the shifting landscape: she parrots a script. Doug Ford has cunning, but he lacks gravitas. Neither one is actual leader material -- and now that Ontario is in a precarious situation, whoever wins the contest will rue the day it happened. A dark storm is coming and Ontario is completely unprepared. This has always been a timid province that plays it safe, and when unpredictable storms come raging in, those old tricks will make things worse.

Wynne's defeat is a blessing for her: she is dodging a bullet. It must be absolutely devastating for her: she had vision and the courage to push through with it, but she took it as far as she could with an electorate who have no idea what is in store for them. Her legacy will be dismantled, but she was always a good soldier, and her talents were wasted in that position, anyway.

Another winner by losing is Patrick Brown. He may be throwing epic fits, but he, too dodged a bullet by getting the boot before the election.

Wynne is a maverick -- and to be a female maverick is a difficult path to take. White boys cannot stand the fact that they do not have the monopoly on being rebels with a plan. Other women who stick to scripts are insanely jealous that there can be a woman who can be free to be a visionary.

Wynne broke barriers, but she would have always been better suited in the federal sphere. Provincial politics isn't the place for vision. It is middle management territory where the point is to fly under the radar, and follow a script that both the bosses and the underlings can accept without feeling intimidated. That's not Wynne.

With today's gambit, she keeps herself active in the game. She comes off as a genuine realist, and not a prima donna as other politicians have proven themselves to be. She needs a better outlet for her unorthodox brand of balancing various factions while shaking people out of their slumber.

I am not one of her detractors, nor am I intimidated by her. I may not agree with her ideas, but Canada needs people like her to cross lines in the sand because this has been a nation that seems to draw them thinking nothing bad happens when you make them...

Kathleen Wynne got rattled by Doug Ford, and the campaign shows it.

Doug Ford knows strategy and he clearly delivered a single, elegant shot that has literally made her lose that mojo that has given her those improbable and impossible victories in the past.

He asked her a single question:

When did you lose your way?

It rattled her so much that media outlets actually noticed the shift. She went on News Talk 1010's Moore in the Morning to address it the day after in a classic case of l'esprit d'escalier. 

Too little, too late. The damage was already done.

Wynne is seen as more capable than her two rivals, and until that fateful question, she was.

But Ford's stealth attack did enormous damage to her focus, and we can see her fortunes plummet. He hit a nerve as he dug deep into her psyche, saw her fear, and pulled it out to show it to her and the public. 

Had the question not been asked, we would not be seeing the same campaign. I am not one to go by polling numbers, but now we are seeing something very interesting: a hidden truth about the real health of Ontario.

NDP is the poor man's party. They have no clout or connections with the elite or the financial districts. If they are elected, the banks will all downgrade the province's credit rating. Businesses will leave for greener pastures. There will be no funds to juice all those deceptive freebies, and it will lead to serious trouble here. The fact that the NDP is seeing a surge is revealing how much of a pauper's playground Ontario has become. Those who are defeated always retreat to the nanny party, without realizing there is no tax base to support their fantasy vision.

The PC's are appealing with those who have not thrown in the towel, and see hope in their future to make a life one their own -- that means we have two Ontarios, and not one.

One group who are independent and the other who are passive.

And it happened under the Liberals' 15 year watch. Wynne had played a dangerous game and had tried to please both sides, but the chasm was by then too great. She increased minimum wage, invested in businesses through government subsidies, and gave the voting bloc of teachers more than they ever deserved -- and all groups are thanking her by abandoning her.

This betrayal of alliances is what shook her. Doug Ford let her and the rest of the world know that it happened.

And now watching her photo-ops has been cringeworthy. She goes from place to place, engaging in little stunts, making her come off as someone with a mid-life crisis trying to knock off as many things off her bucket list as possible. I am surprised she didn't dye her hair blue and go get a tattoo as cameras are rolling.

That is a sign of defeat, and someone who doesn't think she has a tomorrow.

She could have easily sewn up this election the way she did last time: talk about pensions and appeal to Baby Boomers. They are still the biggest voting bloc and the ones who still see voting as their civic duty. They may seem set in their political affiliations, but target that group with a tangible and significant benefit and a you-focussed message, and they will come through for you.

But now, Wynne is all over the place, and that's not the way to win an election. You cannot be all things to all people -- nor does victory come from that desperate strategy.

Ford cannot be discounted, and he is very strategic in both strategy and timing. With Wynne running around like a chicken without a head, he can focus on other things. Ford found her kryptonite and used it against her. He didn't hammer away at her. He didn't engage in overkill. He merely pointed at the monster that scared her most, and told her she veered off course to avoid it.

And that is a devastating accusation to make at someone whose job is being a leader.

As someone who has had people try psychological warfare on me over the years from the 36 Stratagems to negging, I see through it and find it funny, even when the stakes are high. You are not going to make me insecure with your manipulative words or doubt myself. Bottom line people shut out the white noise of arguments and insults because they are deadweight.

Meaning that gambit works only if the leader believes it and looks to others for validation and applause. Had she seen the ruse, she could have given an epic rebuttal to turn her fortunes around.

Anything can happen in this election, but seeing Wynne flounder over something minor when she has triumphed over bigger obstacles is fascinating to watch nonetheless.

Exclusionary messages: Listening to political babble reveals more by omission than commission.

I was listening to Kathleen Wynne talking on Newstalk 1010 this morning, and found it very interesting. She may have had a you-centred message, but it was aimed clearly at a certain demographic. She talked about "your parents" and "your children", meaning those two groups were not being addressed themselves. She is not talking directly to older voters at all. She is avoiding talking to youth, talking to their parents, instead.

She isn't talking about older voters with a you-message. They are auxiliary headaches for their adult children to endure. She is also skipping the new generation as they, too, are some sort of burden that has to be addressed to their parents.

Auxiliary voters are never directly addressed -- they are seen as having less power or control, even if they have more power than the targeted voting block. Youth are the future. Older voters have savings and experience of skills.

In any case, when you do not address segments directly, your policies will not be made with those groups in mind, meaning whatever you give them will be ill-fitting, and let them know in no uncertain terms that they do not have the power -- but the group you are targeting. This hints that the policies will be ineffective from the get-go.

Wynne is 64 years old -- she is ignoring her own demographic in Ontario's provincial election. If you are going to have a hard Left agenda, then you are supposed to be about equality -- and subtle ageism is as exclusionary as it gets...