Well, That Didn’t Work, Did It

June 13, 2014

I guess this is one of those J. Walter Weatherman times for the NDP, where they need to be taught a valuable life/political lesson.


… And that’s why you never get outflanked on the left by the Liberal party!

About 10 days, two weeks ago I began hearing from various corners of NDP support that the Liberal budget they brought down which sparked this election wasn’t, in fact, all that progressive. There were all sorts of austerity measures tucked away, out of sight, somewhere in the back. It was just another example of Liberals campaigning left before they shifted back right once they got elected to office.

whatimeantwasTo which many responded: WHY DIDN’T YOU START WITH THAT?!

Why didn’t you come out of the blocks presenting yourself as the only viable progressive alternative to an unethical government that was clearly more interested in maintaining its own hold on power than it was in governing properly?

What we got instead from the outset was a whole lot of jargon-y talk that had a whiff of the Common Sense Revolution and Rob Ford’s Gravy Train run. Respect for Ontarians. Hardworking families. Pocketbook issues. Looking after tax dollars. Mom and pop.

And then when the actual real life conservatives bared their fangs and scared the shit out of every voter with a moderate bone in their body, many threw their support behind the party which had spent the campaign distinguishing itself from the hideousness of the PCs rather than the one that chose to play the conservate-lite card.

Look, NDP.

No matter what you do or say. No matter how twisted your ideological contortions are. overlookedTrue blue conservatives are never going to vote for you to a degree that will offset your loss in base support in trying to woo them. Disaffected PC voters will either hold their nose and vote Liberal or chose to stay home before they’d even think of voting NDP.

I mean, look at the three daily newspapers in Toronto, three of them sitting on the right side of the political spectrum. Zero endorsements for the NDP. The Toronto Sun was the most generous before giving their entirely predictably thumbs up for the Tories. The NDP didn’t even register a mention in the National Post’s endorsement of Tim Hudak.

Where the NDP lost seats, they lost them to the Liberals and they lost them in Toronto. They only succeeded in taking one seat from the Progressive Conservatives. Their forward push to the right stalled while their defensive protection on the left faltered. It didn’t collapse as some feared but the strategy netted them nothing more than a standstill. calculating1A standstill with a loss of influence as they no longer hold the balance of power with a Liberal majority government now in place.

Only in light of the two or three wheels coming off the Progressive Conservative wagon does the NDP lack of progress seem less disappointing. The fact is, they remain the third place party. Their base of support lies deep in 4 regions of the province but not very wide. Andrea Horwath convinced too few voters that the party she led had much populist, small-c cred while alienating too many traditional supporters with her willingness to ignore issues important to them.

Political calculation is a tough business. While you can limit yourself with a campaign only appealing to your base (see, Tim Hudak and Rob Ford), taking it for granted doesn’t seem like a very good strategy either. Progressive politicians and parties regularly seem to operate under the assumption their supporters will dutifully follow them as they venture out to court new voters in their pursuit of power, no matter how many of their core values they offer up in sacrifice.

circularfiringsquadGiven the results of yesterday’s provincial election, they may want to rethink that approach.

disgruntledly submitted by Cityslikr