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We can’t expect ‘moral perfection’ from our leaders

David Kawai/Bloomberg

Progressives ought to love Justin Trudeau, says Omer Aziz in The Atlantic. Since 2015, the Canadian PM has got a lot done. He has raised taxes on the rich, legalised marijuana, reduced child poverty to the lowest level in decades and resettled tens of thousands of refugees. Still, this week his Liberal party limply won the general election by a hair. It’s no surprise. When I worked for Trudeau almost everyone I talked to doubted him. No matter how much he claimed he was a feminist or anti-racist, something about Trudeau rang false. When pictures of him in blackface at a party in 2001 emerged, everyone, left and right, took it as proof of his hypocrisy.

But this attitude is the greatest failing of the modern left. “We seek moral perfection in a world of politics where compromise is the cost of doing business.” These days, politicians must be infallible. “We want ideological purity and an unimpeachable record clear of misdeeds.” Obama calls it “circular firing squads”, a leftie phenomenon in which people who agree on most issues take “morbid pleasure in pummelling one another”. It’s self-defeating. For the most part, Trudeau is an effective leader whose policy accomplishments are worth his personal failings. Politics requires compromise to deliver change, “moral perfection can wait”.