Friday, June 3, 2016

Quickie: Risks to the major parties

Reading this article has spurred a thought in my mind that I wish to share.

Each major party has a risk right now that could hurt that party's chance of future success.

The NDP's biggest risk is being irrelevant and useless. What good, after all, is a "progressive party" when we already have one of those? What is the use of a party that can win in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver, when a party that can do the same already forms government?

The NDP needs some fresh ideas, and by that, I mean controversial ideas. Look at the backlash against the current healthcare system when the NDP introduced it in Saskatchewan. Consider as well the role the NDP had in securing pension indexing, a costly but currently popular program.

If the NDP is unwilling to say something unpopular the party may well vanish into the mists of time, being replaced as the left-wing protest party by the Greens.

The Tories risk is being seen as out of date and out of touch. The old PC Party suffered from this from time to time and it always hurt the party electorally.

Fortunately, unlike the NDP, the party has already taken real concrete steps towards ensuring this does not happen, voting, at convention, to support same sex marriage, and even decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.

Failing to continue in this direction can easily lead to a long stint on the opposition benches.

The Liberals problem is that of leadership. Last long-lasting Liberal governments have tended to fall apart over the same issue, poor leadership. Consider Paul Martin, John Turner, or the Pipeline Debate of the St. Laurent era. Trudeau risks heading in this direction if he can not rein things in.

2011 showed us that the polls can be wrong because people are unaware of their own subconscious. Consider all the polls showing the NDP did 'okay' in the french debate, and all the polls, in the days after, showing the NDP rising, fast, to first place in Quebec. A switch had been hit in the heads of Canadians and they were not even aware of it.

While polls show 'Elbowgate' has not impacted Canadians, there is a massive risk. Trudeau, after all, is the one who yelled "shit" in the house, is the one who beat up a Senator in a charity boxing match. As a "young man" who is "fit" he could easily play into the stereotype of someone "violent". At the same time, by giving concessions, he can come across as unable to make a quality decision. Trudeau can't continue to backtrack on issues, and if he wants to change things, needs to ensure that the first step is the right step.

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