Canada learned a lesson tonight on how fiercely negative campaigning can salvage the electoral fortunes of even a dishonest and corrupt government.
The British Columbia NDP, by everyone's assessment, was to win a strong majority government tonight. The governing BC Liberals were to be left with a weak minority.
Upset. Despite having been 20 points down in the polls at the beginning of the election campaign, the Liberals pulled out one of the most amazing upsets in Canadian politics, not only winning another majority but picking up an extra three to four seats. Those seats were lost by the NDP.
This resets the clock on British Columbia politics. Adrian Dix chose to take the high road in this campaign. That was a colossal blunder.
I wonder if Justin the Naive is paying any attention or if he's off wanking somwhere.
I don't know, Dana. I think the message goes first to Tommy Mulcair. Tonight showed just how soft and shallow NDP support is. That mirrors their brief, meteoric rise in Quebec under Layton, support that is now evaporating rapidly.
If you can't beat a widely despised government with a record of 12-years of corruption, scandal and dishonesty, then you must be the problem. BC voters distrusted the NDP more than they despised the Libs.
At least my Greens finally got on the scoreboard. The only bright moment for the opposition tonight was the fact that we'll have Andrew Weaver sitting in the legislature.
I have lost faith, if the NDP can not bring down a scandal plagued government, is there any hope for BC?
The Liberal friends will be at the door looking for more handouts.
If you can't defeat a government with a record like this one, you're not remotely fit to govern yourself.
The Right understands that politics today is a blood sport. If your opponent is willing to stand motionless and be your punching bag, you win.
If negative campaigning is what gets a person elected what does that say about our country, the people and the culture? It's basically sick.
Democracy is in very ill health, Anyong. This happens periodically and usually leads to unrest. My late father taught me that we didn't have a single democratic right that hadn't been fought for, often more than once, and often paid for in blood.
The rise of the modern, corporatist rightwing is an exercise in the weakening of individual and collective rights and their transfer, along with their income and wealth potential, to a very few. In the past this was often done by force. Today they have found better ways to get us to yield rights unknowingly.
Well, who was the winningest, most effective leftist politician of this century so far? Hugo Chavez. Was he afraid to go negative? Not in the least. He stuck it to them. Sure, he had positive programs too and those were important.
But when the other side lied, he called them liars. When they sabotaged, he called them saboteurs. When they took American money, he called them traitors. When they siphoned the country's money, he called them thieves. And he never shut up about it. He didn't so much repeat the same simple slogans over and over, like the right tends to--but he was clear on those themes and he kept on talking about them and talking and talking. By the time he was done, much of the electorate saw the elite few as the "escualidos" they were.
IMO he was able to do that more effectively precisely because his own policies were radical enough (and he was unapologetic enough) that he could draw the stark contrast: I am taxing the rich, they are taxing the poor. I am creating health care and education, they are taking it away. I am creating jobs--no, for real, by having government do stuff that employs people--while they are pretending that if you give them the money instead of paying people to do work, somehow jobs will happen. I am claiming the money from our resources and giving them to the people, they are letting a few rich people and foreign companies have them. In order to draw that stark contrast and blast your opponent for being on the wrong side of it, you have to actually be credibly saying that you will do things different.
Sure, the problem is the media will demonize you. But that's almost better than the damning with faint praise you get when you're all accommodating--"Oh, he's moderate, he probably won't be totally terrible on the economy although obviously a right winger would be better blah blah".
PLG, I lamented the demise of true leftism within the NDP when it began under Jack Layton as part of the party's quest to become the next liberal government. It's unnatural, inappropriate and leaves the left flank drifting and vulnerable.
You're absolutely right. The NDP have to campaign from the left and, if they win, govern from the left.
I posted complaints with their campaign on their facebook page, and they always deleted them. This was their election to lose, and they made sure to do it in a spectacular fashion. What a weak campaign they ran. I am not suggesting they should have been running "attack" ads, but the campaign was horrible.
I disagree with you there, Anon. I think they should have been attacking, relentlessly, from the beginning to the very end of the campaign. That's what this election ought to have been about - 12 years of corruption, scandal and dishonesty.
When Dix failed to attack it was as though all that misconduct didn't matter. That allowed CC to frame the election as a referendum on Dix. That's exactly what Harper has done to every Liberal he faced in an election. Make it a referendum on your opponent, paint him as unreliable. Sow doubt and fear.
When somebody is giving you that sort of tune up you give it right back. When you do nothing it's easy for people to question whether you're really up for the job.
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