Newfoundland election and Tory rut

On March 12th, it appears voting will end in Newfoundland but could be several days before we know final results. Either way with Atlantic Canada largely avoiding the worst of the covid-19, I am pretty confident the Liberals will win a majority. Question becomes how big. In terms of endorsement, I would probably vote for PCs led by Ches Crosbie, but won’t be too upset if Liberals led by Andrew Furey win. He seems more like a Chretien/Martin type centrist as opposed to left wing progressive like Trudeau. One thing I must say I like about Atlantic Canada is their politics has remained in the centre and not seen the polarization you do elsewhere. Liberals still centrist, not left like federally and Tories still sticking with Red Tory tradition, not lunging rightward. Our country as a whole would be much better off if our federal parties were like this.

Bigger story is Tory poll numbers are gawd awful and it seems more people see Erin O’Toole, the less they like him. Whether it be his porta potty joke on Trudeau or just lots of attacks with no vision, it is clear party is in very bad shape. While Erin O’Toole has his flaws, I think bigger problem is party is largely made up of right wing ideologues who live in echo chambers and are driven more by anger and hatred of Trudeau, not any constructive solutions. Simply speaking any leader who could make party more electable would never win as base wouldn’t allow it. But types who appeal to base are exactly the types toxic to the general electorate. Never mind as I’ve said before, Canada is moving leftward and if Tories want to win they need to reverse this. And only way you are going to reverse this is having strong counter arguments. The more Tories appeal to their angry types, more they turn off rest of public who not only won’t listen to them but will automatically associate anything proposed by the Conservatives as bad policy. Once you establish a bad brand name, it can be very damaging and tough to recover. And Tory brand is definitely negative with far more Canadians than it is positive. Liberals have their flaws and I am not happy with Trudeau government. But one thing Liberals have going for them is they still have a fairly strong brand. If you asked people on the street to describe each party in one word, you probably find majority would affix positive ones towards Liberals while negative towards Tories. It seems with Tories focus is more on how to appease the base not how to appeal to swing voters. They already have the base locked up and doubling down on them won’t help. Party needs to both broaden its appeal to more voters, but also focus more on areas like BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada where they need to gain more seats, not double down on Alberta and Saskatchewan where they not already have almost all the seats; they are winning by such massive margins any gains there don’t do them any good in terms of seats. It seems fear of a split on right is consuming party. I think O’Toole needs to call their bluff and if those further right want to go form their own pup tent, let them do it. Any short term pain will be offset by long term potential.

I am more or less resigned to Tories losing next election. Real goal is more to at least win enough seats so they have a chance in 2025 as I am afraid they are in such bad shape, it might not be possible to win before 2029 or possibly even never. As scary as this may sound to some on right, idea of NDP replacing Tories as alternative is not as far fetched as some think. Amongst millennials, NDP is tied with Liberals and Tories are in distant third. Yes many will say people become more conservative as they age and that is true to some extent, but not to extent most think. Most people generally develop a certain ideology when they come of age and stay with that with minor changes. So if Tories are at 20% amongst millennials/Gen Z voters, sure maybe they climb to 25% amongst them as they age; but they aren’t getting the numbers they need to ever form government again. I believe there is a real risk Tories will follow Union Nationale in Quebec and Alberta Social Credit both who were once dominant parties in their respective provinces but failed to change with the times and are now a political footnote. While some may say you will always have a party on right and in just about every other country on earth that is true. But Canada isn’t every other country. Unlike most which are close to evenly split, Canada has always had more on left than right so its not impossible that eventually we reach point where left overwhelms opinion and right becomes a small irrelevant minority. Case and point is just look at US results by county in 1980 and 2020 and you will notice back in 1980 almost no counties were going over 80% for either candidate. Today, large swaths of rural America saw Trump get over 80% and likewise many large urban centres saw Biden get over 80% in the city proper. Once a certain opinion reaches a critical mass, people only hear one side and eventually that opinion becomes universal. To remain competitive, you need a large enough share with opposing view that it gets discussed and heard.

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