Jen Gerson writes that Pierre Poilievre's victory means that the Conservative Party is now actually the Reform Party:
If this Conservative leadership race was a fight for the soul of the party, as former Progressive Conservative activist and senator Marjory LeBreton recently posited, well, the results are in. Reform is back, baby. Moderate conservatism is dead, and the harder-right, angrier, rougher edge will live the life everlasting. In the end, it wasn’t even close.
Self-described centrists in the party have certainly been angered by Mr. Poilievre’s online rhetoric and pro-crypto appeals, not to mention his sympathy for the anti-mandate freedom convoy. Some of them were so perturbed by the prospect of Mr. Poilievre’s ascension that they organized under the title of Centre Ice Conservatives, a dust cloud of respectability meant to form itself into the nucleus of a new party.
These centrists envision themselves as realists repulsed by ungenteel politics and disinclined to pursue policy proposals that would be declared extreme on the CBC. There would be sound logic to this argument, except that no one ever seems to be able to define what a centrist believes, nor what he or she actually wishes to accomplish.
During the Harper years, there was constant tension between the Reformers and the old Progressive Conservatives. That tension is gone:
This division has been palpable in the Conservative Party for decades, and it played out most recently under the tenures of former leaders Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole. Both men failed to resolve the growing populism within their own ranks with the perceived realities of what the general electorate would accept from their party. Mr. Scheer, a genuine social conservative, tried to appear inauthentically centrist in order to win more progressive constituencies. Then there was Mr. O’Toole, a genuine centrist who tried to appear inauthentically conservative in order to win the leadership of his party.
Neither approach achieved an electoral breakthrough.
By winning the leadership handily, Mr. Poilievre has slayed this internal philosophical problem. He can only be exactly what he is, and his party must now be likewise.
The problem is that Poilievre and his followers are just plain ignorant of so many things. That ignorance will lead him -- and those who sing his praises -- into a very dark place.