Sunday, September 07, 2014

Dipper Drift?


In yesterday's Toronto Star, Chantal Hebert suggested that, if recent events in Ontario are an indication of the party's future, the NDP may be drifting back to third party status. In the recent provincial election, traditional Dippers voted Liberal to stop Tim Hudak:

In the provincial campaign, the platform put forward by Tory leader Tim Hudak went a long way to convince many progressive voters to stick with the Liberals rather than risk facilitating a Conservative victory by giving their vote to the third-place NDP.

And in the race for mayor of Toronto, Olivia Chow has slipped to third place:

It should come as no surprise that a Forum Research poll that suggested Mayor Rob Ford (Open Rob Ford’s policard) was still in the running for re-election — with Olivia Chow running third — was followed by a Nanos poll that showed that John Tory had consolidated his lead on his main rivals.
For scores of Toronto voters, ousting Ford from office this fall comes before loyalty to a political brand.

Could the same thing happen into the 2015 federal election?

To many, the first-place Liberals come across as a safer haven than the third-place NDP, regardless of the comparative skills of their leaders or even their respective policies.

With every passing month, NDP hopes that a barrage of Conservative attack ads will chip away at Trudeau’s credibility are fading. After more than a year, they have yet to make a dent in the Liberal lead in voting intentions

The New Democrats’ own efforts at portraying the Liberals as Conservatives in disguise are also falling short.

It's quite possible that Justin could stumble. And he is still policy lite. But, faced with the devil they know, many Dippers might hold their noses and vote Liberal.


Kirby Evans said...

Don't forget all those NDP voters, like myself, who can simply no longer, in good conscience, vote for the NDP under the leadership of Tom Mulcair. And it is not only Mulcair's terrible (almost unbelievable) positions such as his failure to call out Israel that is causing traditional NDP voters to leave the Party. It is also Mulcair Harper-like leadership style as seen with his recent personal attacks on Sana Hassainia, as well as their attacks on Paul Manly.

The NDP will, no doubt slip back into third place, but some of that surely has to do with loosing much of their base specifically because of their own policies and not just because we are tired of Harper.

Rural said...

It seems to me that the NDP attacking the Liberals (or vica versa) shows a greater interest in self preservation than in the protection of Canadian Democracy from the Harper Regime. There is nothing new about that from any of them, but given that there is a very real possibility of a minority and / or coalition government in 2015 one would think that they would leave room for future 'cooperation'. We saw however that right after the last effort at such a combined effort against Harper the NDP went right back to attacking their possible partners. I despair of our politicians of any stripe using cooperation instead of confrontation to put the needs of the country before their own.

Edstock said...

IMHO, the NDP has a marketing-branding problem that they have been unable to solve.

Part of their problem is that the aparatchiki, the party workers, have become used to their second or third-place. The leadership might be discontented, but for the spear-carriers, it's a nice job.

Thus, great ideas generated at the top never go anywhere.

"Better government, not bigger government" or a similar slogan might be a good starting point.

Anyway, out of personal experience, you can't tell these people anything, because they know all there is to know . . . problem is, what they really know is how to lose.

Owen Gray said...

"Coalition" has become a dirty word, Rural. However, from the very beginning, it was seen as Standard Operating Procedure under the rules of responsible government.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Kirby. Andrea Horwath's fate should speak volumes to the party. However, I'm not sure they have gotten the message.

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely, true, Ed. Top down leadership disregards the people at the bottom. And the people at the bottom vote for someone else -- or they stop voting altogether.

thwap said...

2008 financial crisis reveals the failure of 30 years of neo-liberalism.

Liberals pursued neo-liberal austerity as much as the Conservatives.

Conservatives maintain their idiot demographic. Sensible Liberal voters move left to NDP.

Tommy Mulcair and NDP brain-trust get brilliant idea to impersonate Liberals.

That and zionism.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, thwap. At the moment, there are more similarities than differences.

Time will tell if we're dealing with intelligent human beings or with clones.

Toby said...

Edstock hit it right on target, "you can't tell these people anything, because they know all there is to know . . . problem is, what they really know is how to lose." This is especially true in rural ridings. One finds committees that have been run by the same people for fifty years and they don't take to outsiders with new ideas. They don't run any sort of opposition and don't make a peep until the writ has dropped and then select one of their own who then appears at an all candidate's night and puts up a few signs. The Conservative MP, of course, has been campaigning since the last election. Guess who's going to win.

The Mound of Sound said...

Mulcair is an excellent parliamentarian and a hopeless leader. For all his talents and exertions people don't like him and his, now standard, forced smile isn't fooling anyone.

I agree with Kirby. The Manly thing is going to haunt Mulcair, especially here in BC.

@ Rural - the NDP has been Harper's handmaiden since Layton took over. The NDP was Harper's "leg up" into power and again into his majority.

I hope for the sake of the NDP that they do return to the cellar. That's where they can find their jettisoned integrity.

Owen Gray said...

The NDP -- both federally and here in Ontario -- has lost its way, Mound. And, until it returns to first principles, it will wander in the desert.

Owen Gray said...

Which is an argument for bringing in the young, Toby. Like him or not, that's what the Liberals have done with Trudeau.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Chantal Hebert is a hardcore Liberal partisan who, like most hardcore Liberals, simply wants the NDP to disappear from the Canadian political scene. Then The Liberal Party wouldn't have to keep going through the charade of campaigning from the left and governing from the right. The Liberals could then turn their unofficial slogan into their official one: "We aren't as bad as the Conservatives".

Lulymay said...

My parents were Liberals but moved to the old CCF when my father came home from WWII and found that those who had the best jobs were those who did NOT go to war! I have voted CCF/NDP since becoming eligible to vote, but having witnessed their absolute stupidity in BC(twice)and allowing a pea brain Christy to wiggle her way into power this last time, I am firmly entrenched in the federal Libs camp. Cannot do the same in BC because they are still the old Socred/Cons. Our province has gone to hell in a hand basket: we are hugely in debt and have no revenue, just user-pay fees.

Owen Gray said...

From the comments I get from West Coasters, Lulymay, I wonder how Clark was elected. But I am also the first to admit that I don't understand B.C's politics.

Owen Gray said...

In the past, it was the NDP that provided the Liberals with their policies, Anon. The party didn't make it to official opposition status -- but it gave the country its soul.

Anonymous said...

Because of Harper, Canada is rotten to the core with corruption. Cheating to win in this country, is now the norm. Harper also stonewalls and blocks every investigation against him.

Harper also has a list of degenerates as long as a football grid, to do his dirty work for him. Gordon Campbell now has Nigel Wright for company. Campbell twice lied and cheated to win his elections too. The others, are thrown under Harper's bus.

I will take, Trudeau, Mulcair, Elizabeth May, Attila the Hun as Pm, long before Harper.

I read? Harper did not get an invite, to a meeting in Wales. Is Harper less important than he thinks he is, on the International scene? Or is it because, of Harper's big mouth? Has anyone else read this? That is certainly plausible.

Owen Gray said...

Harper was invited to the NATO meeting in Wales, Anon. But he left a little early. Perhaps the other leaders didn't listen to him as he had hoped they would.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying for almost a decade now that the NDP was taking its base for granted when Layton made his executive decision to "modernize" the party without following the party's procedures for making such a profound shift. He got away with it because he was such a party stalwart and known quantity that the Dipper base was willing to trust he would "do the right thing" once he had the power of government and put in place real Dipper policies (the fact that to get there he would be duplicating the Straussian noble lie premise that motivates Harper was an irony lost on so many Dippers) combined with his personal charisma (not that I found it so, he actually repulsed me like used car salesmen do, but I saw the effect he had on so many others and I do not discount it for that reason).

Mulcair though, Mulcair lacks Layton's connections with the party roots and faithful, he lacks Layton's personal gifts, and he has run the NDP in a manner much more like the Harper CPC than the NDP of old, and he lacks the ability to pull along his base because of it. That base, after watching their principles get compromised in the aim of destroying and replacing the Libs and instead getting a decade of Harper government are clearly wondering why they ever signed onto this, and coming to believe that leaving Martin in place would have been a lot better for the country.

I've blamed the NDP and Layton for the rise of Harper because they clearly are to blame, are they the only factor, no of course not, but they are clearly a significant and one can make the case a possibly determinative one. I've shown time and again why supporting Martin and the Libs under both Dion and Ignatief was more in keeping with core NDP values and principles than allowing Harper to enter the PMO and then to stay there even in minority, let alone with a majority. I think by this time many in the base have come around to sharing that POV, and that is not something Mulcair can easily change, if at all.

Mulcair is a good Parliamentarian, and one of the better LOOs in the House we have seen in a while, but there is far more to being a good/great federal party leader and potential/actual PM than simply these qualities, yet these are the only positives Mulcair has had to bring to the table, which is a good chunk of why he is failing to the thirst place much less experienced yet still capable Justin Trudeau of the Liberals that the NDP supposedly had destroy and set on the path to oblivion in the 2011 election.

Part of what we see is the Trudeau factor, but I think a lot of it is the anger of the base at the direction of the party, the price the party and the country has paid in the past decade on this project of replacing the Libs instead of stopping Harper as the primary goal, and in many ways this is almost a textbook illustration of the expression the chickens are coming home to roost.


Owen Gray said...

I agree with your analysis, Scotian. Until recently, the NDP was always the third party. But it had tremendous influence. It was the NDP that gave us Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, Unemployment Insurance.

They knew who they were and they accomplished a great deal.

Gyor said...

Most of this debate is pure silliness, for example most Canadians don't know who Paul Manly is and like me most don't care.

It might shock the zealots, but Isreal and Palastine won't be dominating the next election in Canada.

Having read Mulcair's thoughts on this issue they are intelligent, thoughtful, and unlike rabidly condemning Isreal Mulcair's preposal to help the Children of Gaza is both realistic and not complete and utter mental maturbation. Its a good idea and compassionate.

Reality Check, Canada's position on Isreal and/or condemnations are as useless as teats on a bull. They carry no clout at all.

And I refuse to give Hamas' never ending stupidity a free pass, hint hamas your rockets aren't usually reaching thier target, all it does is give Isreal the pretext they need to keep firing at Gaza.

As for Mulcair's popularity, he's very popular in Quebec, he's not unpopular in the ROC, he's just not well known enough, something that will change with the next election.

Owen Gray said...

We'll see, Gyor. Mulcair's decision to release the party platform a year before the election may, indeed, do him some good.

But I'd suggest that the reason he's doing it is because he, too, senses voters are drifting away from the NDP.