So, what is to make of Kevin O’Leary’s big announcement yesterday that he is running for CPC leader?
Is he the the automatic front-runner, as the media suggests? Does this mean Maxime Bernier’s campaign is dead in the water, as some people are suggesting? Will some more candidates now (finally) drop out? Will Kevin be able to capitalize on his celebrity to mimic Trump’s populist success?
Only time will tell on all of that.
For now, let’s talk about what we do know: O’Leary is going to pump some much-needed energy into this race.
Even as die-hard Conservative supporters, we can’t deny that this race has been a bit of a snooze-fest. Aside from Bernier’s awesome-sounding flat tax proposals, and Leitch’s amusing yet confounding antics, this race has been about as exciting as a lengthy Kevin Lamoureux speech in the House of Commons.
If nothing else, Kevin O’Leary is going to bring some excitement.
Here is something else we know: his name has power.
Anytime we post anything O’Leary-related on social media, it blows up. Moreso than any other name, save for maybe Harper. And look at the sidebar – he is killing it on our straw poll. It’s not even close.
He’s a social media star. He has almost 200,000 Facebook fans, which is about as many as the rest of the candidates combined. (Lisa Raitt has the second most, with 71,000 – less than half of O’Leary.)
His Facebook video announcement yesterday got 983,000 views in about 24 hours. Contrast that with the CPC debate livestream from the night before, which has only 47,000. (EDIT: to be fair, that was a French only debate. But their most popular one, from Saskatoon, has only 105,000 views.)
So there is no denying the power of his celebrity name, and his savviness on social media.
Policy-wise, at least so far, he actually couldn’t be less like Trump. Trump is a nationalist; O’Leary is a globalist. Trump wants to build a wall; O’Leary’s parents were immigrants and he has come out against a wall. Trump is hugely pro-military; O’Leary made that goofball statement saying there is nothing proud about being a warrior.
Trump is in real estate, O’Leary in software. Indeed, the tangible similarities between them seem to be that they were both reality TV shows, and they both use social media. That’s it.
Here is what else we know: Canadians are mad. Just one year into Trudeau’s mandate, Canadians are staring down the barrel of a $1 trillion deficit, a new carbon tax, low job numbers, and a jet-setting PM who spends their money like it’s his own.
If the Liberals keep this up, and if O’Leary keeps his focus on Trudeau – which he has been doing – he might be exactly what Canadians need. And want.