Saturday, October 15, 2011

In leadership news...

...Justin Trudeau won't run, but Thomas Mulcair will.

So this sets us up for a Mulcair-Topp battle for Stornoway. All early indications are that Topp and Mulcair will play nice with each other, while their supporters mercilessly smear each other in the press.

After watching Liberals do this very thing for years, I'd caution against this war-by-proxy. You'd be amazed how many people pick a candidate to support just because someone else's supporters come across as complete assholes. By sending their supporters out to do the dirty work, Mulcair and Topp are opening the door for someone like with Paul Dewar or Nathan Cullen to come "up the middle" and win.

I know it sounds unlikely now given all the media attention on Topp and Mulcair, but this is a long race, and things like this have been known to happen before.

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7 Comments:

  • The most interesting part of the Topp-Mulcair contest will be their differing views of where the NDP should go. Mulcair threw down the gauntlet when he said the NDP needed to appeal to move voters to enable it to become the next government. He said Dippers needed the courage to do this. Topp seems content with the union-centric status quo.

    This battle will soon eclipse the snide comments by supporters of the two men. We can expect real debate, about what the NDP should stand for, how it should change, and who should lead the reforming so as to fashion a realistic government alternative.

    Both Mulcair and Topp will have to address the changes to the Preamble of the Party's constitution, which Layton did not manage to get passed at the convention.

    And this means a battle over state ownership of means of production, and the role of profit in a capitalist society.

    All this while OccupyWallStreet turns into a genuine, international protest movement the likes of which we have not seen before! Expect OWS sentiments to spill over into the Topp-Mulcair dialogue.

    We seldom see such a dramatic difference of view in Canadian politics. Are we headed for our version of the famous Blair-Brown tussle for the soul of the Labour Party? I think we are.

    By Anonymous CuriosityCat, at 1:43 PM  

  • Anybody but Mulcair (or another Quebec MP) would be an unmitigated disaster for the NDP.

    Take a look at the Quebec numbers in Angus-Reid's polling of NDP support under Topp, Doer and Mulcair (http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2011.09.24_Politics_CAN.pdf).

    Mulcair: 52%
    Topp: 31%
    Doer: 27%

    If Mulcair loses, it is likely to be interpreted by many of the NDP's soft support in Quebec as a slap in the face of those who gave the NDP a shot - particularly given the degree to which the organizational math is sloped against Mulcair.

    Like the Liberals before them, the NDP should alternate between English and French leaders (or heck, just run with French leaders - King and Mackenzie are the only anglo Liberals to have ever won a majority government). Regional shifts in party alignment don't happen overnight, they require constant attention and care, lest they end up like Mulroney's foray into Quebec, or "Paulberta".

    Now If Topp wins the NDP nomination, this would create a tremendous opportunity for the Liberals to nominate a Francophone... who will probably be Denis Coderre (Garneau is too old and Dion is Dion).

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 3:28 PM  

  • "You'd be amazed how many people pick a candidate to support just because someone else's supporters come across as complete assholes"

    Very, very true. I've seen it in leadership races, and I've seen it in actual elections. The behaviour of a candidate's supporters has caused me to change my vote away from that candidate on at least two occassions.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 4:52 PM  

  • @Michael Fox: you'd be surprised at how often the worst-behaved "supporters" of a candidate are actually supporters of another candidate, trying to attract mud to their political enemy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:57 PM  

  • ill soon eclipse the snide comments by supporters of the two men. We can expect real debate, about what the NDP should stand for, how it should change

    That's what they said about the race that Layton won. But I'm ready to hear the real debate if it happens, of course.

    or heck, just run with French leaders - King and Mackenzie are the only anglo Liberals to have ever won a majority government

    Barring Harper, whom I think of as quite effective and competent, all the best PM's have been francophones in my humble view. Not to say French are better or smarter, it's just an interesting thing I was thinking lately.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 9:28 AM  

  • I'd put Macdonald and King in the pantheon, but they were of a different era, when you could get away with relying on Quebec lieutenants. I think French Canadian leaders succeed because they can't become leaders without conquering the two solitudes issue (ie. Quebec support isn't enough to win the leadership). English leaders don't necessarily face that problem until they have to win elections.

    Harper may be the exception because of the rising importance of the west, and relative decline of Quebec - you can now win a majority without Quebec.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 6:20 PM  

  • I like King, and other anglo PMs too

    In a list of all the anglo PMs and a list of all the franco PMs, a much higher percentage of franco's stand out to me (I include LaFontaine on the list fwiw).

    can't become leaders without conquering the two solitudes
    Good point, you are probably onto something here

    Harper may be the exception because of the rising importance of the west, and relative decline of Quebec
    I was talking just about his management and abilities, but certainly I agree with you here -- Quebec has nibbled away its own value and its say has certainly declined - to H's electoral benefit.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 10:07 AM  

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