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A supporter of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris poses for a selfie near the security fence that surrounded the White House on Nov. 8, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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Postmortem

Regarding the continuing degree of support for Donald Trump, "the election shows the United States is a broken country,” says Sarah Kendzior (Nov. 5), while “it looks like Trumpism is here to stay,” from Robyn Urback’s perspective. (Online, Nov. 4).

Elsewhere, Konrad Yakabuski blames Democrats for a swing to the left (Whatever The Final Result, Democrats Lost The 2020 U.S. Election – Nov. 5). But would any candidate or strategy have significantly eroded Mr. Trump’s base? Promised moral redemption requires more than a minor swing in the Electoral College.

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China, Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey: Much of the world is led by regimes most would describe as authoritarian. Trumpism seems a widespread phenomenon with complex causes and solutions beyond politics, as Debra Thompson suggests (Is This what Democracy Looks Like? – Nov. 5).

Democracy cannot rely solely on institutions, especially without consensus and courage to uphold foundational norms and values. Eight years of admirable Obama policy did not elevate – and perhaps further alienated – those who endorse the current President’s behaviour. Unfortunately, wish fulfilment via the electoral process seems easier than the challenges of fixing a “broken country.”

Chester Fedoruk Toronto


I deeply appreciated contributor Debra Thompson’s cogent and bleak analysis of the roots and cultivation of corruption in the U.S. electoral process. She points fingers squarely at the imbalance of blame on both sides of the political spectrum. I mourn the fact she sees no way forward from here.

When I practised psychotherapy, I would often ask my patients what their unhappy situation would look like from Mars. Somewhat to my surprise, no one ever needed to ask what I meant by that. In this case, Ms. Thompson is the Martian.

Mary Taylor Ottawa


Re What U.S. Media Got Wrong: Their Own Country (Nov. 6): Why was there not a red wave? This despite four years of economic and social policies aimed at the biases of the Republican base. Having all the reins of power, bombast and media attention did not afford Donald Trump a surefire electoral win.

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Perhaps the answer will come out in the weeks and months to come. It is likely, however, that Mr. Trump will dodge responsibility for his election strategy and presidential record, and blame others – he seems to have an ocean of targets for that.

Carl Hager Pontiac, Que.


During election night coverage, someone said that people who respond to polls are not typical voters. It seems pollsters have not yet figured out how to overcome this, or they would not have been so far off the mark.

Let’s admit to the real problem: We elite, well-educated, urban intellectuals – and our pollsters – are just as guilty as anyone else of breathing too much of our own air. They watch Fox News, we read The Economist. We make no more effort to understand their views than they do ours.

Maybe a start would be to ask: “What is one thing this country could do to improve life for everyone? And if we can’t agree, what compromise makes sense?” If both sides were a bit less convinced that they were absolutely right, and that the other side was close to treasonous, things might just become less polarized.

Anthony Keenleyside Ottawa

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Re General Election (Letters, Nov. 4): A letter-writer proposes that the U.S. Constitution should be changed to reflect current realities. If we’re to engage in flights of fancy, why not consider specifics?

These worthies chose a near-monarchical system on which to found their nation. Given the near-total immunity of the head of state from legislative consequences, as we have seen, it is not surprising that the current occupant may have delusions of divine rule.

In a parliamentary system such as Canada’s, and that of many other democracies around the world, the legislative deadlocks so common in the U.S. “checks and balances” system are unknown. A prime minister must constantly maintain the confidence of Parliament – the likes of this President would not survive five minutes.

If the United States were to consider wholesale amendment, perhaps there should be a new constitution based on a model common to the world’s democracies.

John Edmond Ottawa

Manitoba message

Re Canada Has Become Careless About The Virus (Nov. 3): Manitoba has had the dubious distinction of the highest per capita number of new COVID-19 cases in Canada. Hundreds of front-line doctors have signed a letter to Brian Pallister and the provincial government requesting more support and stricter lockdowns, before hospitals and intensive care departments are overwhelmed.

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Cameron Friesen accused doctors of “causing chaos” (Manitoba Health Minister Faces Criticism After Questioning Motivation Behind Doctors’ Letter On COVID-19 – Nov. 4). I suggest these doctors are simply trying to save lives. Mr. Friesen says “the people in charge have got this.” Unfortunately, what we have got is the coronavirus – and a lot of it. Listen to the doctors.

Michele Evans MD, FCFP; Winnipeg

The other side

Re Joe Rogan’s Podcast Is A Vehicle For Intolerance (Online, Nov. 4): Joe Rogan has always been an advocate for free speech. As someone predominantly on the left of the political spectrum, he (like many) is fed up with a politically correct culture choosing who can and cannot be offended.

People should realize that they will come across points of view they find offensive. Rather than engaging in cancel culture, they should attack with facts that disprove these opinions. Free speech (short of calling for violence) is a pillar of democracy that I believe Joe Rogan exercises well. I have learned a lot from many of his guests.

Brian Malone Ajax, Ont.

Up in smoke

Re Court Orders Toronto Woman To Stop Smoking At Home (Real Estate, Nov. 6): I am sure all condos and condo boards are not created equal, but my experience with them has not been great. While sparing readers all the sordid details from dealing with my parents' condo in Vancouver and my wife’s property in Edmonton, the conclusion is abundantly clear to me: I will never own a home that I do not fully control.

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Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson encourages infill- and condo-building to curb urban sprawl. As far as I am concerned, sprawl away. A nice single-level bungalow that I can smoke in or fart outside of, if I so choose, would suit me just fine when the time comes.

Yes, I will probably have to hire the neighbour’s kid to cut grass and shovel snow, but that beats paying exorbitant fees to a mind-numbing condo board.

Bill Grant Spruce Grove, Alta.

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