Imagine, for a second, that Bernie Sanders is governor of Texas. Imagine that the populist, independent, far-left Senator from Vermont campaigned on (and won because of) his plans for dramatic income redistribution; his engaged recognition of climate change; his anti-pipeline views; and a concerted effort to be conscious of sustainable technologies in drilling oil from Texas soil. 

It sounds like a parallel universe. And it’s kind of exactly what happened in Alberta, the “Texas of Canada,” which just elected its own parallel Bernie Sanders, an election that has everyone freaking out

Rachel Notley, the leader of the New Democratic Party, was elected premier (chief executive) of Alberta on Tuesday, making her the first non-conservative to take that office in 44 years. The province, fueled by the oil industry, espouses politics and economics that the rest of the country seems to view as more American—and more specifically, more Texan—than Canadian. Even Notley herself seems to be in shock: 

“There is certainly part of me that does a double-take when people call me premier,” she said. “But it’s what I ran for. It wasn’t an entire impossibility, and I’m getting slowly used to it.” – h/t to CBC News

Funny words to come out of the mouth of a newly elected leader. 

But the newly-found leadership in the province of Alberta brings about a chance for the country’s NDP to prove it can bolster the economy and fight climate change simultaneously – an interesting question for places like Texas, where the two, at times, seem at odds. 

It doesn’t look like Texas will adopt its own similar regime anytime soon, but again, it seems Alberta’s election was an incredible upset that no one saw coming. For more theory on what caused the major shift in the province, NDPer Dan Meades shares his experience with Notley and the party in Alberta on New Republic.

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)