The Dos And Don’ts Of U.S. Election Etiquette (For Canadians)

November 7, 2016


The U.S. Election is just hours away and after more than 600 days of campaigning, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all ready, Canadians included, for this thing to be over.

As Canadians we are concerned about our neighbours and the outcome of this election. A recent study found that 81 per cent of Canadians are very worried about the election and what the results could mean for our neighbours and Canadians. The challenge, in these next days and months pre- and post-election, is to share our views appropriately and support our neighbours as best we can. To help tackle this tricky situation I’ve put together my list of the dos and don’ts of U.S. election etiquette for Canadians.

1. Do Focus on the Facts

If you do feel you want to share a vote of support for a certain candidate — or if you disagree with someone else’s perspective on a candidate — focus on the facts. As emotional as this topic is for all of us, keeping focused on the facts allows us to have a conversation around the issues and keeps our emotions in check so we don’t overreact and say something we might regret.

2. Do Keep it Positive

There are many horrible things that have happened during this campaign process — even the words people use to describe the two presidential candidates are by and large negative. By keeping it positive as Canadians, which we’ve shown we can clearly do with our “Tell America It’s Great” campaign, we can support our neighbours and show them there is a way forward after November 8.

3. Don’t TROLL

As tempting as it is to respond with anger to an irrational post on social media — to borrow a quote from one of my favourite first ladies ever — “When they go low, we go high.” It is a powerful message and truly a mantra to live by. Do not engage with negativity, FULL STOP.

4. Don’t Judge

An election is a democratic process and that means that everyone is entitled to an opinion. None of us can know how a person came to form that opinion, and so no matter how much it conflicts with your own views please don’t judge or label that person. Judgment does not bring people together or change minds and hearts. Empathy and kindness will be the most powerful tools we can use to support our American friends.

5. Don’t Gloat

Whatever the result is on Tuesday night, on November 9 we will all have to live with the results and with each other. Celebration is one thing, but do not gloat if your candidate wins. Instead focus on how we can support our neighbours as they move forward from this. An election is only the first step; once elected what will really matter is how the next president of the United States leads her country and truly lives her message that Americans are “Stronger Together!”