November 24, 2020

On Nov. 7, 2020, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the president-elect of the United States by the media after an arduous and tense period of vote-counting and legal challenges that, as of Nov. 18, are still ongoing. Biden’s success stemmed from flipping states that had voted Republican in 2016 back to Democrat, most notably Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

However, many media outlets have noted that Biden did not in fact achieve the electoral college landslide than most pollsters predicted, particularly due to his losses to Donald Trump in Iowa and Florida. This is because Trump did the one thing that he had to do to win: appeal to the most efficient swing demographics in battleground states.

In Ohio, it was what could be described as the anti-millennial and uneducated vote, with exit polls showing an increased share of voters aged 65 and over with a notable increase of 6 per cent compared to 2016, and a massive increase of 16 per cent in Republican votes from Ohio voters who had not attended college.

In Florida, Trump’s key demographic was the 19 per cent-of-the-voting-population Latino vote, much to the chagrin of pollsters everywhere, from which he increased his voting popularity from 35 per cent to 47 from 2016, and can be considered the key factor in keeping Florida a red state after his massive campaigning spree with Mike Pence and Gov. DeSantis.

Now, try to think of the last time a Canadian politician actively campaigned to a particular ethnicity. Or maybe if you have ever seen a “Latinos for Trudeau” or a “Black Voters for Scheer” sign at a political rally or seen exit polls about the federal or provincial election turnout for these demographics: These statistics are rarely seen and the numbers and trends seem to show with most evidence to the point being relatively circumstantial.

Waterloo Region, according to 2016 census data, had the 7th largest proportion of visible minorities in Ontario. In the 2015 federal election, prior to the census, five out of the seven ridings in the Kitchener-Guelph area voted Liberal, with two voting Conservative, with a Liberal majority coming into power. In 2019, the Liberals lost their majority, but the Region increased its Liberal party riding share to six.

This is a symptom of Canadians being more policy oriented as voters than our ethnically polarized American counterparts. While American urban centers in swing states are considered bastions of Democratic votes, certain ridings in Canadian urban centers, which are also the most culturally diverse areas, will always have the occasional blue or orange riding. This is despite studies showing that certain ethnic groups are more inclined to vote one way than another (data on Chinese-Canadian votes, for instance, tend to lean Conservative). While targeted campaigning does exist, little attention is brought to it and it ends up being mostly irrelevant in terms of swinging an election.

The benefit of voting as Canadians is that our generally lower racial tensions have a lessened impact on our elections than the United States, but we are still not free of that problem. We just happen to vote like we are.

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