The Harperites don't seem to understand why they lost the election. "We got the big things right," Jason Kenny says. "We got the tone wrong." Andrew Coyne disagrees. The Harperites lost because they got the big things wrong. They were always about power, not principle:
With each about-face, broken promise or abandoned principle, from corporate subsidies to foreign investment to deficit spending, from the rights of MPs to the discussability of abortion to Quebec’s nationhood, it became harder and harder to understand just what principle or philosophy was guiding Conservative policy — other than blind obedience to the leader.
At their very core, they knew their was no philosophy -- no set of principles -- which guided their decisions. That is why they ultimately lacked confidence. And that lack of confidence had disastrous consequences:
And from this void grew the darkness. People are inclined to be generous to others when they feel confident in themselves; they will be open about their plans when they believe in their purpose — and trust that others can be brought round to them as well. Not only is it not enough to change the tone, then. It’s not even the point. What has to change first is the Tory psyche. They have to believe in themselves, which is to say they have to believe in something.
In the end, they were in power to serve the ego of one man. Michael Harris has it right. They were a Party of One. That is why they lost the election.