Don Martin: Time for Trudeau to take aim at Trump's base
The kneejerk Canadian reaction to this week’s presidential provocations is to hate America.
Boycott everything made-in-the-USA. Vacation north of the border this summer. Or, if you’re the spouse of a senior Liberal cabinet minister, jokingly advocate we invade.
No. Stop. Please.
Returning fire and fury is not a solution to the intractable problem of penetrating President Donald Trump’s all-about-me cerebral cortex.
This unprecedented White House hostility is a moment to take advantage of the confusion in an American public which doesn’t understand why North Korea is lionized and Canada demonized by President Trump.
The answer is not just retaliation, it’s also education.
Sure, if it makes us feel good, whack some influential wallets by imposing tariffs in key Trump-supporting states.
But aim for average American hearts and minds too.
So may I suggest the Liberal government unleash a Canadian Super Pac in key states to manipulate the only public opinion Trump cares about ahead of the U.S. mid-terms.
After all, some cagey federal bureaucrats spent a great deal of time picking off U.S. exports as tariff targets aimed at inflicting maximum pain in Republican state strongholds.
Surely they also know the sensitive spots where a multi-platform media blitz would have an impact on swaying American opinion.
And do it right. Television is the medium of choice for Trump’s base, so don’t bother with the New York Times or Washington Post.
Unfortunately, the biggest political bang would be to advertise on Fox News networks and local stations where Trump and his faithful get their news.
So let’s promote the stories of working class American families impacted by a tariff-guarded northern border. It’s time to detail the cost to U.S. consumers from barriers to free trade with Canada, particularly in auto parts. And don’t hold back the goosebumps on documenting our political and military alliances.
But no matter how it’s done, it’s clearly time to ease up on the charm offensive aimed at the political elites and aim at the base from which the president gets his power.
The ultimate goal is simple. Canada should aim to move public opinion so that when a campaigning Donald Trump bashes Canada during rabble-rousing speeches to his cults, the crowd’s rapture fades to the sound of crickets.
That’s a blunt message Trump would understand better than any high-powered delegation from Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or a gang-up by a group of seven leaders he cannot control.
That’s the Last Word.