It turns out I will not have the opportunity to strategically vote against Rob Ford. He has dropped out of the Toronto mayoral race citing health concerns. However, that doesn't mean that his influence is gone, not at all, because his brother Doug Ford has stepped into the race in his stead and has instantly acquired second place in the polls. I don't think Doug Ford has much of a chance of actually winning but just the fact that he is doing so well in a few days time is terrifying.
Dynasties are not good things. People coming into a job who think they deserve it just for being born do not make good leaders. Voting for people simply because they share blood ties with someone else you like is a surefire path to disastrous government. In this case Doug at least shares his political views with Rob and is likely to be a similar sort of leader; that is, he will be an incompetent embarrassment to the city. That said, the idea that Torontonians so rapidly leap to support a new candidate before that candidate tabled anything resembling a platform is frightening. We aren't even pretending to care about what the politicians say and are just voting for our favourite family.
My feeling is that this is going to change the election shockingly little. Almost all the people who were voting for Rob Ford are going to vote for his brother. The left wingers are going to vote for Chow, and the centrists and the right wingers who can't handle the shenanigans of the Ford family will vote for Tory so Tory will win handily. That isn't great but it isn't a catastrophe either. What is a catastrophe is allowing people vote on who is going to run their governments. If only every other system wasn't even worse.