The Proto-Trump

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It is fitting that the Toronto Star should run photos of Rob Ford and Donald Trump in its "Age of Unreason" series.  Ford was the proto-Trump, the politician so inexplicable that our mainstream media never bothered to explain him.  He was the outsider it became hip to vilify—the target of endless late-night lampoons, dinner party laughs, and "can-you-believe-that-guy?" op-eds.  When TVO's Steve Paiken took the trouble to actually investigate Ford's political appeal, he discovered that, voilà, Ford Nation included thoughtful, socially progressive Torontonians who had nowhere else to park their votes.  Rob Ford was indeed a harbinger—of a smug, partisan elitism in our news media that is now de rigueur.