THE NEW YORK TIMES – MARCH 12, 2016
In New Jersey, Liberal Insurgent Runs On Canadian Themes
HANOVER, N.J. –Justin Trudeau-Fairchild is not Canadian, but you’d never know it.
“I’m not the Justin Trudeau that’s Prime Minister of Canada,” Trudeau-Fairchild said in talking to supporters here in this rural burg in northwestern New Jersey. “My name’s just similar, that’s all.”
Trudeau-Fairchild, the son of billionaire hedge fund owner Charles Fairchild, has announced his intention to run for Congress in the Thirteenth District of New Jersey, which encompasses rich farmlands and forests in the thinly-populated western part of the Garden State. The Thirteenth District doesn’t have any boundless prairies or snowy tundra or even a Tim Horton’s donut shop. But Trudeau-Fairchild has been campaigning like he was running for the Canadian Parliament in a suburban Ontario riding.
“So when we had the first big snowfall of the year,” a local television reporter stated, “his campaign sent me out to his house so that I could do a stand-up with him while he was shoveling snow. I guess they were trying to make him look like a tough Canadian outdoorsman or something. It wasn’t how most campaigns would operate, I can tell you that.”
In Trudeau-Fairchild’s first campaign commercial, he appeared in a kayak, a traditional Canadian form of transportation, touting his support of clean water initiatives. “I can get that he wants to separate himself from the real Justin Trudeau,” an anonymous Republican campaign staffer stated. “But you don’t do that by letting people see you in a kayak.”
“Next, he’s going to eat poutine on camera,” the staffer said, referring to the traditional Canadian dish of gravy and cheese curds served over French fries.
Trudeau-Fairchild was even a guest at the recent state dinner at the White House honoring the Canadian Prime Minister, and the two were photographed shaking hands–a photograph that drew the ire of incumbent Congressman Mark Campbell, who has represented the Thirteenth District for three terms.
“There’s nothing wrong with him meeting Justin Trudeau,” Campbell stated. “But there’s something deeply wrong with him wanting to be Justin Trudeau, and wanting to bring in Canadian solutions to American problems. He’s already stated that he’s for single-payer health insurance, and tighter restrictions on gun ownership. What’s next?”
Trudeau-Fairchild claims to be named after former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who was the favorite politician of his mother, a Yale professor and a noted liberal firebrand. He has tried to play down his connections to the current prime minister, even altering his name to the more American-friendly
“Justin T. Fairchild,” although he has not made the name change official.
“Canada’s a great country,” Trudeau-Fairchild stated, “but so is America, and I want to make America a better place. That’s my message for New Jersey voters.”
*
“Justin?”
“Go away,” I said.
“Justin. You have to come out.”
“Don’t want to,” I said.
“Justin, Polly is downstairs,” Emma said. “She’s going to drive you to your press conference.”
“Not going,” I said. “Not running anymore.”
“Justin Fairchild!” Emma said. “You get out of that bedroom right this instant! Do you hear me?”
I put a pillow over my face so I couldn’t hear her shout at me anymore. It didn’t work.
“Justin, Polly and I are going to leave for a few minutes. She’s going to drive me into town, and we’re going to get coffee. You need to be downstairs and dressed by the time we get back, okay?”
“Not okay,” I said.
“We’re going. See you in a few.”
I took the pillow off my head, and heard Emma tromp downstairs. I watched until Polly’s car pulled out of our driveway and out of sight. I started moving. I didn’t have much time. I had two large boxes of Cap’n Crunch (the peanut butter flavor) stashed in the pantry, hidden behind a giant raft of (unbleached!) paper towels. I got up on a stool and moved the paper towels out of the way, and snagged the cereal. I rattled the box a little, just to make sure that Emma hadn’t gotten to them and eaten them (the way she’d eaten my stash of Girl Scout cookies). I found the biggest bowl I could find, and poured nearly a whole box of cereal in it, and then half a container of soy milk. I was rummaging around in the drawer to find a really big spoon when Emma walked in.
“Ha,” she said. “I thought so.”
“This is not what it looks like,” I said. “I’m using soy milk. So it’s okay.”
Polly trooped in behind her. “That’s quite a lot of cereal for one person, isn’t it?”
“At least he’s downstairs,” Emma said. “I was afraid we were going to have to drag him down here.”
“What do you think?” Polly said. “Try to get him dressed down here, or send him back upstairs to take a shower?”
“What I would like to do is dump that mixing bowl full of cereal on his head,” Emma said. “Justin, you are acting like a child.”
“Am not,” I said.
“I am not going to lose my job because you got a negative article about you in print,” Polly said. “And you can turn the negative into a positive, but only if you hurry.”
“I don’t want to run,” I said. “I want to run away. I want to move to Canada. That would make everyone happy. Besides, if Trump wins, I’m going to have to move anyway.”
“You’re talking nonsense,” Emma said. “Some social justice warrior you are, running away at the first sign of trouble.”
“This isn’t just trouble,” I said. “This is the New York Times making fun of me. Calling me a Canadian. I am never going to live this down.”
“You’re going to live it down, starting today,” Polly said. “Go upstairs. Take a shower. Get dressed. Red, white and blue tie, and American flag lapel pin.”
“No,” I said, and that was when Emma dumped the mixing bowl full of cereal on top of me.
*
“You did it,” Polly said. “Congratulations. I didn’t think you could pull it off.”
“I still smell like soy milk,” I said. I was sitting in the back of Polly’s car, and we were driving away from the press conference she had set up. I took off the big phony red-white-and-blue tie and threw it on the floor.
“It’s the smell of victory,” Polly said. “I’m serious. You got up there, answered everyone’s questions, and came off as a real American. We’ll have to see what the internal polls say, but you probably did yourself some good up there.”
“The New York Times, though. I still can’t believe it.”
“The people that count are the local media. And they all hate the New York press. You’re not running for Congress in New York, you’re running in rural New Jersey. Having the New York Times run a negative piece on you is not going to hurt you a lot out here. Trust me.”
I sank into the back of Polly’s Buick. It had been a long day, easily the worst of the campaign. But I had gone the distance for one day, and now I could go home. And once Emma went to sleep, I could sneak downstairs and get that other box of Peanut Butter Crunch down from the pantry shelf.
****
Check out the previous installments:
Last year:
Week Forty-Nine:The True North
Week Fifty:The Garden State
This year:
Week Four:The Brain Trust
Week Six:The Snow Day

Week Seven:The Coin Flip

Week Eight:The Wicked Witch
Week Eleven: The State Dinner