8 Simple Rules for Liberal Leadership Races
As we all know, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So here are a few lessons I think we can all learn from the last Liberal leadership race:
1. The polls are fairly meaningless, with the possible exception of the ones taken of actual delegates to gauge second choice interest; Liberal organizers and bloggers probably have a better sense of the relative strength of the candidates' than the pundits do. Things like number of donors, ex-officio endorsements, and caucus support aren't bad indicator either.
2. The policy proposals put forward by the candidates probably aren't super relevant - Ignatieff favoured a carbon tax last time and Dion opposed it.
3. Things said during leadership debates might come back to haunt you at a later date.
4. Leaked Tory memos about the leadership race should be ignored completely.
5. Directly comparing your candidate to Pierre Trudeau is a good way to make yourself look silly...subtly doing it might not be an awful idea though. I suspect the "Barack Obama corollary" to this rule will apply this time.
6. Solemn pledges to not go negative have a similar shelf life to yogurt.
7. Playing up expectations about how much support you expect to get is not a good idea. That said, if the media and Liberals don't think you can actually win, you're at a huge disadvantage.
8. Saying you know how it will end, at the start of the race, is a good way to make yourself look dumb come May.
I still don't have a horse in this race yet. I'm looking towards the long term health of the Liberal Party and for a candidate who is truly committed to renewal. If no one fits that bill, well, maybe I won't be as involved in this race as I was in the last.
But regardless of how involved I get, expect a lot of coverage about The Race For Stornoway here. I'll probably revisit my leadership projections come January, once we get some donor data. And given the number of delegates who read blogs, I'd expect a blog interview or two - at the very least, I'll be sure to cover any events I'm at.
And, regardless of whether I'm a delegate or not, I'll be in Vancouver this May. It figures to be a fun weekend.
Labels: Liberal leadership race