Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stephen Harper and the By-election Message Progressives Cannot Ignore

You'd think Stephen Harper would have been cheered by his two by-election victories in Ontario and Alberta.

But he wasn't. In the Commons yesterday he was tense and irritable.

And with good reason. For when you examine the results closely you can see that hidden in them are the seeds of his own destruction.

For in this riding in Ontario, like in other by-elections, the trends are ominous.

Not only is his support falling, while Liberal support is rising. But because the NDP is also fading, he may not be able to count on a strong showing from that party to divide the vote.

Which could prove fatal, because in many ridings he cannot hope to win without it.

But unfortunately there is also an important message for progressives in that bye-election result, one which if we do not heed could also prove fatal.

And it is that even without vote splitting, we could still lose if not enough progressives bother to cast a ballot. 

Yet even draining the NDP of all but its most core base vote in this typical red-blue race in the 905 East, the Liberals were unable to pass the Conservatives, who again confounded Forum Research as they had done so many other pollsters in Ontario during the last federal election campaign with a substantial ballot-box bonus. 

In other words, even though the Liberals have been successful in completely rebooting their field operations and adopting more modern campaign techniques for voter targeting, identification and GOTV, the Conservative ground game is still superior in Ontario and well capable of getting the job done, in spite of the Liberals' superior penetration of the media spin game.

And this trend is deeply troubling.

At 31.8%, the turnout in Whitby-Oshawa was as bad as that of Trinity-Spadina last June, and Yellowhead's 16.1% was nothing to crow about either after last summer's 15.4% in Fort McMurray-Athabasca. This means we have now had 3 by-elections with under 20% turnout in all of Canadian federal electoral history, all in the last six months.

We've seen what happened in the United States when large numbers of progressives didn't bother to vote in the recent Congressional elections.

We know the RepubliCons in this country are doing everything they can to suppress the vote. 

From changing the election rules to favour themselves, to their filthy robocalls...

So we surely must know that it could happen here.

Which only reinforces my belief that if we are to defeat them, as we must, NOTHING is more important than getting out that vote.

I'm still confident that will happen. That on the day of decision the desire for change will overwhelm everything else.

But if we are to be sure to succeed, progressives must go after those complacent Canadians more aggressively than they ever have before. The Cons have made sure the Chief Returning Officer can't encourage Canadians to vote. 

So we must do it ourselves, from the beginning to the end of the campaign with a message as simple as this one...

One that both inspires and SHOCKS.

For those who would sleepwalk to disaster must be brutally awakened. And the choice facing us couldn't be simpler.

If we fail the Cons could still win.

If we succeed we will crush them...

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  1. Anonymous8:58 AM

    One positive thought: We know the cons whip every possible vote out of the population so that should be their limit. Didn't they have every big gun out on the last day? The rest of them are not likely to vote con. And there is a big rest of them. Do you really think Canadians will fall for partisan pork?

    1. Unfortunately, yes...and my Province is a classic example of otherwise intelligent people falling for it, again and again...
      I know the reason that the BC Liberals (Cons by any other name) won because not only did the mind-numbingly stupid vote for them, the progressives stayed yes, it is a fight that needs to be fought..the struggle will always continue.

    2. Anonymous8:16 PM

      mizdarlin, The BC liberals are not Cons by any means. Likely they won the election because the NDP and their party leader was not straight& up front. It didn't help any when he was prosecuted for forgery. Had he been up front the results might have been a lot different. The NDP supporters were so sure of themselves that a lot of people were to lazy to go out and vote. That is likely why they voted and BC had already had a lot of lean years if they were not a union member during the times the NDp were the government.

    3. Anonymous8:37 PM

      The big downer is that Justin de Trudeau himself visited Whitby-Oshawa about 10 times to campaign for his girl and still couldn't pull out a win for her!!!!

      With 338 ridings in play for the next election will Justin be able to visit all those ridings 10 times to GOTV .... because that would mean he would have to make 3380 stops in the campaign??!!! Better start campaigning now Justin so you can meet your quota of campaign stops by October 2015... or sooner !!!!