When people start suggesting that highly paid writers such as myself – rumored to be in the high single digits! – start writing about British Columbia’s spring provincial election campaign, we do what any other sane person would do: hide under our desks until those people go away.
Well, that’s what we used to do before they invented Google. Now, whenever I want to avoid writing by wasting a lot of valuable time, I call up Google. I Google recreationally, or casually, you might say. With No Strings Attached. In other words, I Google without any meaningful commitment.
I don’t know why, but suddenly, in an era when a U. S. president promotes his executive orders on Twitter, this seemed an appropriate method to research a piece about the upcoming election.
I discovered, for example, that there really is such a thing as a “good politician,” because Google (Canadian version) returned 50.9 million hits for that phrase. Unfortunately, this is the Year of Trump, so I got 51.8 million hits for “bad politician,” perhaps signaling a negative trend in governance.
However, the results for “straight shooter” (8.78 million hits) encouraged me by crushing those who speak with a “forked tongue” (572,000 hits). I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the fact that the phrase “we’re here from the government, and we’re here to help you” tallied a pitiful 94,600 hits.
But did you know that someone out there has already searched with almost every adjective you can think of in front of the word “politician?” … Someone who may be eligible to vote.
We apparently think our politicians are less “sleazy” (351,000 hits) than “silly” (614,000), and, even more surprising, “intelligent” (821,000 hits).
British Columbians might consider saving ourselves a lot of time and expense by dispensing with political campaigns altogether and just decide the spring provincial election by the number of Google hits each candidate receives. It would be kind of like online voting.
If we switched to Google-voting, local NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard would crush her Liberal opponent, Jim Benninger, by a vote of 1,530 to 1,400.
But both the B.C. Liberal Party (497,000 hits) and the B.C. NDP Party (457,000) would lose to the B.C. Green Party, which tallied an astonishing 11 million hits.
Google-voting wouldn’t out well for NDP leader John Horgan, however. He would lose to Liberal Christy Clark by 14 million to 463,000. However, once again, the Green Party tops the polls. Green leader Andrew Weaver collected 18.8 million hits.
On a positive note, “Elect Justin Trudeau” snagged 26.6 million hits, more than doubling the vote for “Elect Kevin O’Leary.” Although, when you search for O’Leary’s self-imposed nickname, Mr. Wonderful, he turns in a respectable 13.3 million. But, thankfully, not enough to win.
I have no idea what this means, but there appear to be more “goofy” Liberals (354,000 hits) than “goofy” NDPers (127,000 hits).
In the end, however, this Google- voting system might not work.
While the concept of “voting” is encouragingly strong (178 million hits), it might come from a worrisome number of illiterates. If you misspell the word “vote” by adding an extra letter “o”, it takes an extra 62 “Os” until Google cannot find any more results.
Finally, in a triumph of man over ape, the phrase “Elect George” returns 69.9 million hits, while “elect Curious George” only swings 347,000. So there’s hope.