Tribalism

I spent some of the weekend reading about the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan. This morning, closer to home, I saw the Forum Research poll indicating that Olivia Chow would win a 3-way mayoral race that included Mayor Ford and sometime political candidate John Tory. There is a link between the two, trust me, although it does include some additional information.

In response to the poll numbers, a local political wag opined that no right of centre candidate would dare run against the mayor in 2014 and threaten to split the vote and allow some crazy left wing nutter to steal the election. (Not in those exact words, mind.) “Any independent rightie is a ‘backstabber’ these days,” it was suggested.

This isn’t a lone sentiment. As much as Cityslikr tries convincing you that he’s not indulging in Election 2014 speculation, I’ve overheard more than a few conversations about campaign strategy around these parts in the idle days of summer. The thought that any conservative minded candidate wouldn’t have the temerity to challenge Mayor Ford in 2014 is a pretty strongly held belief. For those trying to read the scattered tea leaves of the right wing mind, the conclusion is that party loyalty (and by extension, electoral viability) trumps good governance.

Does that necessarily have to be the case though?

Couldn’t a perceived moderate conservative candidate like John Tory, say, or going through the current councillor list, Michael Thompson, Karen Stintz, David Shiner for argument’s sake, sensibly argue that, while agreeing with much of Mayor Ford’s fiscal views, his implementation of them has been less than desirable? That his personal antics, his less than enlightened views on many social fronts are, in fact, a serious detriment to his budgetary plans? Yes, the theoretical moderate conservative candidate could argue, there are ideological foes at City Hall who are doing their best to trip the mayor up for purely ideological reasons but, in truth, he’s been his own worst enemy.

Would that be too far from the truth?

Mayor Ford is hurting the conservative brand here in Toronto and not making that many local converts at the provincial or federal levels either. What would be the drawback of marginalizing him with a push from the right, cutting into the less hardcore of his supporters while opening up the middle to a more competent conservative approach? Back in the day when he was just a lone wolf councillor from Etobicoke, conservative colleagues on council weren’t very deferential to Rob Ford. Now that he’s mayor, all’s golden?

For a potential conservative candidate not to challenge Mayor Ford out of some sort of fear of splitting the vote and allowing a non-conservative to become mayor is essentially saying that, regardless of how bad, ineffectual, harmful, extreme a right wing politician is, it’s still better than even the best liberal or left wing possibility out there. That’s simply blind ideological loyalty, putting the welfare of your politics before that of the voters. In the end, it’s only going to wind up hurting everyone except perhaps your opponents.

Which brings me back to Paul Ryan. At least, I hope it does.

Conservatism does not come in one colour. It does not automatically make a candidate fit for office. (And if you’re reading this and already in the middle of a rebuff response, spluttering something to the effect of, “But what about the leftards?! Same could be said about the Leftards!!”, you’re already too far gone to get the point I’m making.) Embracing the blue or the red or the orange simply because it’s the colour of your politics is just unthinking tribalism. It’s the death march to irrelevancy and, unfortunately, the collateral damage can take years to undo if at all.

— centrely submitted by Urban Sophisticat

4 Responses to Tribalism

  1. John says:

    Re: Leftards:

    I know several leftards who refused to vote for Joe Pantalone, despite his pinko affiliations, because they thought he was a crap politician. Some of them voted for George Smitherman. Some of them even voted for Rob Ford. Yes, I can assure you that Rob Ford captured a small but significant chunk of the leftard vote.

  2. Simon Says says:

    As long as the perception of the left is “tax and spend” and people in the suburbs feel they are paying to support the downtown, and let’s face it strategic voting doesn’t work, finding a challenger to Rob Ford will be a difficult task.

    • Sonny says:

      Dear Simon Says says; you are obviously a Ford defender even though the data showed 41% support for your man whereas Miller was at 70% & Lastman was at 60something% at the same time in their first term as City of Toronto Mayor…
      so are you going to defend driving & reading on the highway?

      • Simon Says says:

        For the record, did not vote for Ford. But all my neighbors did and they will continue to support him. They are silent majority that don’t care about his public faults and as mention in my post, who ever is the candidate to challenge Ford needs to over come said perceptions.

        I am not defending his driving habits (not sure where that non-sequitor came from) and remember, support levels don’t mean anything except on election day.

        Win the hearts and minds of the suburbs and win the election because the downtown is not enough.

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