Paul Adams argues at ipolitics that whoever wins the Liberal leadership race must consider some kind of entente with the New Democrats. The Liberals' old guard has floated the idea:
For a starter, there was Jean Chrétien, the most successful modern Liberal prime minister. There was his experienced strategic sidekick, Eddie Goldenberg. Oh yes, and then there was the most prominent Liberal MP left standing after the 2011 election. Someone named Bob Rae.
But when Rae said he was open to considering that option, the party's backroom operatives -- the folks who engineered Michael Ignatieff's ascension -- told Rae to keep his mouth shut. However, writes Adams, Liberals out in the country have not fallen in line:
According to an Ipsos Reid poll just a few months ago, Liberal supporters favour a merger with the NDP by a margin of almost two-to-one.
What Canadian progressives understand is that the math has always been against Stephen Harper. They know that Conservative support will never rise much beyond 35%; and, therefore, Harper is vulnerable -- but only if progressives can get their act together.
In the last half of the last century, Conservatives won power because they had the foresight to merge with the Progressive Party. They understood that Canadians have a natural bias toward the left. Stephen Harper has sought to turn Canadians slowly to the right -- but always relentlessly to the right.
Nathan Cullen's candidacy for the NDP leadership proved that there is an appetite for cooperation within his party. What the Liberals need is someone who can work out the details of that cooperation. After all, it was cooperation which built the country.