OK, fellow Conservatives, let’s be honest with ourselves:
- The Liberals are, almost always, more popular than we are ~ it’s been that way for over 100 years, since Laurier. They, generally, get a bigger share of the vote and even when they don’t (1896, for example) they manage to win more seats. In the 120 years between Laurier and Justin Trudeau we, Conservatives, were in power for only about 35 of them. That speaks to two things ~
- The enduring popularity of the Liberal brand, even if no-one really knows what a Liberal stands for, and
- The political skill of the Liberal “machine;”
- We are, since circa 1890, habitually, weak in what I refer to (based on an article by historian Michael Bliss) as “Old Canada” ~ everything East of the Ottawa River, and, often, especially since circa 1970, stronger in “New Canada” ~ Ontario and the West. Ontario, with 121 of 338 seats, is the key electoral battleground. If you concede 90± of the 110 seats in “Old Canada” to the Liberals and NDP and also concede 35± of the 107 seats in Western Canada to them (that is 125± of 217 seats are almost always Liberal and NDP) it is still possible for the Conservatives to win if we can carry 75+ of Ontario’s 121 seats; and
- When we win it is because of the bell curve … which means that: moderates matter. The left and right are not going anywhere and the “moderate but leans left” vote is usually pretty solidly in Liberal territory and so, sadly, are too many fiscally conservative moderates who, very simply, are frightened by the social-conservative wing of our Party. We can and do win when we have enough of the moderate middle and when the NDP is strong enough to split the leftish vote.
There is an excellent article in MacLean’s from almost a year ago that looks at some potential NDP leadership candidates, especially former deputy leader Megan Leslie. I have no doubt that some aspect of political success in Canada involves being …
- Telegenic; and
- Social media savvy …
… that’s why I suggested, a few months ago, that this sort of bell curve …
… could describe one potential Canadian political “future” in which, even if the CPC broke apart on social-moderate vs social-conservative lines, we might be most likely to govern IF the NDP, Liberals and CPC all had relatively young, attractive, socially progressive and media savvy leaders. I think that the NDP, led by the right leader would get more than 15-35 seats … (I used Naomi Klein in the graphic because she is a celebrity, silk stocking socialist, quite like Justin Trudeau, and I used Michelle Rempel because she is young, progressive, telegenic and media savvy) … more likely 45 to 75, all from the Liberals. In that situation it would be possible for the Conservatives to win back-to-back and even, maybe, back-to-back-to-back majorities.
But it, that “split” on the left, works for Conservatives only if a good slice of the middle of the spectrum can be persuaded to vote for the Conservative Party‘s candidates because we represent their fiscally prudent, principled, socially moderate values, and if the NDP can secure a large enough base on the left end of the political spectrum ~ larger than, say, 35 seats.
We should all hope that the NDP elects a leader who can revitalize the political-socialist left. Right now, some are saying that Niki Ashton may be the right choice. No matter who the NDP chooses, we, Conservatives ~ in politics, in the media and so on, even those of us in the blogosphere ~ can help, too, by reminding Canadians that the modern, 20th and 21st century Liberals almost always campaign on the left, promising progressive Canadians what they want to hear, and then govern on the right, in the interests of the Laurentian Elites and their paymasters on Bay Street. We can help ourselves by talking moderation, by electing a moderate leader, by advancing moderate policies, by espousing moderation in all things ~ even finance, and, in short by being moderate … just as most Canadians are.