Just as Stephen Harper radically remade the Conservative Party, Michael den Tandt suggests that Justin Trudeau and his inner circle plan to rebuild the Liberal Party from the ground up:
Almost to a man and woman, the people closest to Justin Trudeau are “Greeks” (a cross between a Grit and a geek); bright, capable young people who, not many years ago, were toiling in relative anonymity at the feet of the party’s 1990s-era giants. Most are parents with young children. Like Trudeau himself, they tend in their backgrounds to hew to what is generally perceived as the party’s left wing. Some are people who’d hoped, in 2006, that Gerard Kennedy would win the leadership and revitalize the Liberal party. But they’re not talking about revitalizing any longer. They’re talking about starting over.
In 2006, Gerard Kennedy was met by indifference from the power brokers in the party's upper echelons. Their candidate was Michael Ignatieff. They failed to get their way the first time around. But they succeeded the second time; and Ignatieff -- who admitted that he was a better teacher than a politician -- quickly disappeared.
Now, almost decimated, the party's brass will not present much of a head wind to Justin's ambitions. And policy will come later:
There will be no leadership campaign policy booklet, such as the one produced by Michael Ignatieff in his 2006 leadership effort, Trudeau organizers say. Instead he will articulate his values and principles, sketching a frame within which later policy proposals will emerge. For now, the team’s main practical goal is to introduce him to people – as many as they possibly can, nationwide. “It’s less about the air war,” says [Trudeau adviser Katie]Telford. “He’s got to go out there and shake lots of hands and meet people and hear about the issues on the ground, and see how that evolves his message and his thinking.”
The Trudeau team is playing a long game -- which will be more about rebuilding a Liberal coalition, than just feeding the base. We'll have to see how that plan works out.