Friday, March 18, 2011

Wild election predictions

I haven't blogged nearly as much about contemporary politics of late as I did when this blog got started. In no small part, it's because I've found both federal and provincial politics to be rather depressing, and largely without policy initiatives to inspire me. I've also thus far refrained from most of the election speculation that has been running rampant. But since a former student asked me last night for my thoughts about what is increasingly looking like an election train pulling out of the station, here's my wild speculation on the outcome of such an election.

Best case scenario (from my perspective): Another Conservative minority. Some shuffling of the deck in terms of Conservative-NDP-Liberal seats, but overall more-or-less the same ratios in the house, and no major Bloc losses.

Worst case scenario (from my perspective): A Conservative majority. Bloc stays constant. NDP and Liberal losses, particularly in Ontario.

Why do I think this? I don't think that voters are nearly as outraged about the various contempt scandals facing the Conservatives as they were about Adscam in the Martin years, and Harper has wisely (from a strategic standpoint) decided to try to put out the fires rather than throwing more fuel on them (launching an inquiry, declaring his outrage, and stamping about like a ninny). Most Canadians, frankly, don't even understand the finer points of what his government has done wrong, and probably don't care, because they're so disenchanted with all politicians right now. And so, the major election issue that the Liberals and NDP are banking on, I think, will fizzle. Neither of their leaders is particularly beloved, and I don't think that will change either. I hope to be proven wrong on this. (And sorry, Elizabeth May, but the Greens are going to be totally marginalized this time.) But with the Conservatives able to spend way more money on advertisements than the other two parties, I think they'll get to set the narrative this time.

What are the outcomes of these scenarios. Well, the big one is that Iggy gets shown the door in both cases. (Jack will be allowed to stay if he wants to, because nobody is going to launch a coup against a leader recovering from medical treatment.) After that... well, my suspicion is that the Liberals then crown "Premier Bob", and let him go down in flames in Ontario in the following election. And then we might actually see some renewal in that party.

Thus endeth a really, really pessimistic and bitchy post. Do you see now why it's better to have me posting about historical issues?

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At 1:04 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

As someone who has supported the Grits in the past, I think the best thing that could happen to them is an election. Either it will show Iggy to be a decent politician or it will result in his being shown the door, either way they win.

While I know many commentators have suggested that the Grits should wait, I don't see how waiting 6-12 months will help them all that much. In fact, if the economy improves (either because of the EAP or naturally) the Tories will be in a much stronger position than they are now. Better to take a chance on taking down the government and trying to frame the argument around ethics. I still don't think the Grits have any chance at winning though...

At 1:11 pm, Blogger Matt said...

Oh I don't disagree with you Eamon about whether waiting would help the Liberals at all. I don't see this seeming decision to try to frame the election around ethics as a particular strategic blunder. I just don't think it's going to help them win as much as they might be hoping.

At 2:43 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

I guess we'll have to see the poll results of this big ad buy that the papers have been talking about... maybe it will resonate. I doubt it.

It may not be the best thing for Canada, but I think an election is the best thing for the Liberal Party. They won't win, but at least it may give them the impetus to rebuild properly.


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