Friday, January 17, 2020

Theory update (Conservative Leadership)

As you know, I made a post earlier about a theory I had about the CPC leadership race.

Now that two weeks have passed, a few things are slightly more clear.

Important to my theory - it seems the person who called Peter MacKay and the person who had dirt on Andrew Scheer may not have been the same person.

Poilievre, working with Baird, would be in an excellent position to throw Scheer under the bus. While Charest, who we know has been making phone calls, likely was the one who got MacKay's back up. 

As such, my theory was simply wrong because there was not one, but rather there were two shadowy actors.

Jean Charest is one, so who is the other?

With the information we have now, that is extremely clear: Stephen Harper.

In fact, Harper may have been the one who pulled the plug on Scheer.

To become leader of a party, you tend to need a minimum skeleton of a support network in place. For example, if you wanted to be leader, you'd probably want someone in at least a semi-high level within the party in, for example, Ontario, who you know can be counted on to side with you when you declare your candidacy. This way you have someone that is well known to 'party insiders' in Ontario who can recruit said insiders for you. Those 'insiders' then become your foot soldiers. Selling memberships, knocking on doors when and where appropriate, and so forth. There is a massive difference between getting a phone call from somebody you've never spoken to before in your life and getting one from Dave or Billy with whom you've built a working relationship with over years inside the party. Getting such a network in place does not cost as much in money as it does in time. That is why people who plan to run for leader will often quit whatever job they were doing in order to spend more time getting ready to run for leader.

Charest, until recently at least, has been putting his time in with the law firm McCarthy T├ętrault. Getting Scheer out of the way now, as opposed to later, means Charest has less time to build up a network within the Conservative Party. He has less time to become well known to those Canadians outside Quebec who don't really know who he is. He has less ability to squeeze others out and set himself up as the clear successor.

In fact, I suspect that Peter MacKay had not just one important phone call in all of this, but two. Charest's call clearly made him upset, but MacKay has had a close, though sometimes rocky, relationship with Harper. A call from Harper asking him to run in order to block Charest seems within the realm of possibility.

As for Deltell, who I mentioned in my previous post, he endorsed Erin O'Toole in the last leadership election. O'Toole, who is weak in French, would likely need a strong 2nd in command from Quebec, and Deltell may be hoping this is his ticket in.

Poilievre, then, seems to default to the person whom those in the know (like Harper) seem to be lining up behind. Poilievre is seen by some as being Rude, Petty, and an Asshole. However, all those personality qualities could easily apply to the President of the United States. You may see news articles saying that Poilievre has changed, but the reality is that what voters are willing to accept out of their leaders has changed. Poilievre has not changed.

As such, in the end, all the players may have revealed themselves. As such my only question is what is Candice Bergen up to, as her endorsement may end up being crucial.

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