Back by (32% of the) popular demand, Rob Ford’s rise from the ashes is quickly approaching.
The notoriously indestructible mayor is poised to make his comeback, 450 hours of counselling healthier and 8 pants sizes skinnier, on Monday June 30 when he arrives back at Toronto city council after two months in a Muskoka rehab centre. As the Beavis-to-Rob’s-Butthead Doug Ford predicted, the mayor will come in like a wrecking ball and “turn the race upside down… Tory and Chow are absolutely terrified.”
Yes, we too believe that Rob is not a force that any opposing candidate should take lightly. But all jokes aside, Rob has a steep uphill battle ahead of him if he plans on remaining in control of Canada’s largest city. Here’s the situation Ford faces when he comes back to town on Monday morning:
Bad Polls and Worse Polls
If the numbers talk, then they’re hardly preaching the Rob Ford Gospel these days. Shortly after Ford announced his leave of absence roughly two months ago, his approval ratings and re-election stats dropped like a crackhead’s dopamine levels twenty minutes post-intake. Since then, things have gradually begun to improve (we’re not entirely sure how people’s opinions of Ford change without him around), but not by a whole lot. According to a Forum Research poll released Wednesday, Ford is in second place in the mayoral election with 27% of decided voters, behind Olivia Chow by seven percentage points and in front of John Tory by a mere three points. And that’s the bad poll. The worse poll was released Friday by John Tory’s campaign (we admit, not a terribly reliable source for unbiased stats) that has Rob Ford at 20%, and Tory and Chow nearly tied around 35%. Rob, you can sing outside their bedroom windows, make them breakfast in bed, buy them a dozen roses…. whatever you need to do, get those Ford Nation supporters back.
The Watchdog on His Tail
Democracy Watch, a nation-wide watchdog group (we mean the actual nation, not Ford Nation), has asked the Toronto integrity commissioner to investigate the Rob and Doug for possible conflicts of interest. These allegations involve the possibility (or rather, probability) that the Ford bros got Apollo Health and Beauty Care (a company under investigation for a 2012 sewage spill) out of trouble at City Hall in return for continued business between Apollo and the Ford family company, Deco Labels and Tags. Drug abuse/sexual harassment/dishonesty/alleged gang-involvement/racist rants/homophobic behaviour/a general lack of any self-restraint is one thing, but political corruption might be the tipping point when Torontonians begin to ask the question: “Hmm, do we really want this guy to be our mayor anymore?”
Attack of the Killer Chow
No matter the level of politics, there’s one thing that every politician in Canada seems to agree on: Why focus on your own positive attributes when you can just criticize the flaws of your opponent? No one seems as much as a proponent of the campaign based on negativity as Jack Layton’s widow Olivia Chow, who released two radio attack ads against Ford focusing exclusively on the mayor’s upcoming return to City Hall.
Upon listening to the soundbites, we felt uncomfortably funny inside and one of our interns asked to be excused for the day. That’s what attack ads do. They leave you with acute paranoia, and the taste of bitter almonds.
Robbie baby, don’t let her get to you. You know why people hate? Fear.
If Ms. Chow was so confident that Ford was no longer a viable contender, there’d be no reason for her to bring up his name so often. You matter, Mr. Ford. Or maybe Olivia Chow has literally nothing else to say…. but that’s neither here nor there.
An electoral campaign without road bumps is like a road without road bumps: somebody’s not doing their job. Rob Ford will be back in the T-Dot-Oh on Monday, and everybody better take cover.