Mission 2015: Convert Conservative Voters 2

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Mission 2015: Convert Conservative Voters 2

i LIKE this discussion that started here.

and i like all the directions it has gone.


Gaian wrote:

Indeed, Scott Brison, an articulate, business-minded critic of Conservative economic "policy" demonstrates that building an effective riding organization is made far easier by having an effective candidate.

You leave it a mystery what exactly this has to do with beating the Conservatives.

But there is a world of difference in the riding association building needs and capabilities of an incumbent. They are not just another candidate. And we are talking about winning in place where a lot if not most of the grassroots development is dficient to start with- let alone not remotely like that which an incumbent has.


One thing to keep in mind re the thread theme: in this past election, in campus-tinged "strong/winning Liberal" seats like Kingston & The Islands or London North Centre, a lot of the strongest poll zones for the NDP leveraged themselves out as NDP/Con fights, with Liberals thumped into third--a true "Reagan Democrat" phenomenon worth considering.  (While contrary to common "united left" assumptions, the strongest Liberal zones often worked out to be surprisingly weak for the NDP--the Grits sewing up the town'n'gown vote, IOW.  Or, if we were to transcribe Toronto mayoral demos, the NDP actually did better in Kingston and London's "Ford zones" than its "Smitherman zones".)


That makes total sense. High income, high education voters are Liberals first, Tories second and New Democrats dead last. The story you tell for Kingston is certainly the story of Vancouver's North Shore which has a similar class makeup and culture. 


Like Tommy Paine's idea about focusing on food - the poor are seeing their food prices rise and the upper middle class want to eat healthier food - so both have a vested interest in a fight against Monsanto and the rest of the agri-foods business - as far as better labelling to prevent green washing. Like the term "advertorials" and maybe we should get a specific definition for the term so that we can all learn when to apply it - both on Canadian and American boards - get the word into mainstream lexicon. Their treatement of veterans is also a weak point - we should be supporting an Occupy Remembrance Day for veterans and the Scott Oelsons - we should not be forgetting about how veterans are being treated.

Human rights lawyer Jagmeet Singh was pushed to run and, even in this unique way of raising his profile, one sees that - that they are not so much following but pushing him forward. Ontario's gain is our loss!


You even see him featured prominently in this spoof NDP ad (sorry for the sexism):

StuartACParker says: (quote) The Mouseland parable is a prime example of rhetoric that identifies a group of nasty elites responsible for our problems and encouraging a united front against them. (endquote)

I know a woman from Georgia who said that Mouseland has inspired her for years but had not heard of Harper until a few months ago when I told her (made me jealous!). Mouseland, which comes with Spanish subtitles, has been inspiring people who know absolutely nothing about Canada or Canadian politics.

Idealistic Prag... says: (quote) The Layton-era NDP's best populist message: "Never let them tell you it can't be done." Yes, it's us-and-themmy, but it's still resoundingly positive and terrifically empowering. (endquote)

The "them" was usually Liberals and their self-serving promotion of "strategic voting". Yes, it works to be overtly positive even as one is covertly dinging one's opponents.

Re Corporate Welfare Bums - every time someone says the phrase Corporate Welfare on American boards, I make a point of mentioning that it was David Lewis (Naomi Klein's husbands's grandfather) who coined the phrase. Even the famous Jack Layton Freudian Slip (ie Big oil and big a$) shows that the NDP have been working on these issues even before they became cool - which gives the party street cred.

Speaking of the difference between "us" and "them" - The NDP increased their votes without phoning people up and telling them that their polling station had moved to discourage them from voting (most people lured to the non-existant spot will get frustrated and not vote). The Tories targeted close votings and sabotagued the ability of their opponents to get the vote out using underhanded means. We've seen the strategy and know that they are likely to try it again next time - if we don't come up with some way to counter it.



Ottawaobserver mentions the Muskoka Minister - that is a good point in that the Tory bread and butter is that they are able to paint themselves as fiscally conservative - which they are not unless you define the term as pro-porkbarrelling and creating deficits without really having anything to show for average folk. I think that the NDP are already planning to take away the Tories' perceived strength (which never really existed outside of their self-serving rhetoric any way).

Note that porkbarrelling never dings the riding in which it occurs (for obvious reasons), but does make the party who does it look bad. Even Charlie Angus admits that Toilet Tony's porkbarrelling was meant to increase his ability to get reelected - at the expense of fairness and people elsewhere.

TheLeftyInvestor - the "you had an option" stuff works best if a person feels some shame over what they did - or that it was inconsistent to what they promised during the previous election (which bring one back to the guilt issue). Yes, the Tories have an option, but they have always believed in giving all the money to corporations and getting rid of social programs - they can defend their positions without batting an eye because they believe that they are doing the right thing and what they did is consistent with their policies and tendencies. It would be best to work at destroying the credibility of their claims, while remaining positive and offering an alternative, than to go to the "you had an option" except to point out that whenever Tories have an option they tend to behave in certain scripted ways.

TommyPaine - the F-35's are not just a boondoggle, they are a contract imposed on us by the Americans - the Americans have been encouraging their friends to buy these planes - there is more going on than just giving money for crappy planes - Lockheed Martin has some pull at the White House. Note that the only thing the Fiberals see wrong with the deal is that they would prefer Boeing! To paraphrase the song: F-35's what are they good for - absolutely nothing! The F-35's, even if they worked, are not designed for disaster relief or traditional peacekeeping missions.





I originally put this article into the wrong thread, but if you want a modern-day example of how Ganzian principles have been used by one of our up and coming elected members, check out Dan Lett's column on how Kevin Chief won in Point Douglas, and raised turnout in the process.


Now, I say in the next breath that this is not a riding where Conservatives are a factor. The biggest threat is non-voting, and the next biggest threat is Liberals.

That said, I wonder if the lessons translate to hiking turnout in places where the Conservative strategy to beat us is to beat down voting.


Thats great about Kevin Chief's organizational achievement, and the methods he used.

Sounds very similar to methods I have used in a FN community, and which I described here: that there is a method to in some places in throwing out all the existing campaign method books, and really focusing on netwroking.

It was unfortunate to see that little or none of that was apparently done in the by-election Chief lost.... but that it emerges not to surprisingly in a campaign where he and people he has longer relationships with more in charge. And another lesson in what the part is losing by not adapting. Although, my feeling is that is inevitable when the federal party does not have its own culture and infrastructure of organizing. More on that in the succesor thread For example: " Unfortunately we have never taken the second step, which is to develop a culture of permanent organizing effort in the party."




The reason you focus on networking among traditiaonally non-voting communities [aboriginal and others] is because it is working there already. And our existing methods of getting out the vote depend on record keeping that is not much use there.

There are pockets of these communities evrywhere. In very few places do they play such a huge role as they did in Winnipeg North. But they are a significant chunk of voters in many ridings held by Conservatives.

Our conventional model of getting out the vote works on progressive proselatizing of our identified supporters. That does not work in marginalized communities. And what is the point of 'identifying' supporters as we ussually think of it?

If they are going to vote, it will almost certianly be for us. So you dont just put 'increased emphasis on 'if they are going to vote'... it is everything. And guess who is most influential in getting them to want to vote? Not to mention, incredibly efficient at getting it done.

So the crucial work goes into launching and continuing the snowball effect of networking- which apparently is what the successful Chief campaign did.

The chain of volunteer, to new volunteer, to new voter, many of whom become in turn new volunteers.... its all about the chain. Not the latteral and pyramid organization of a traditional campaign


For those wondering, I dont know what the Chief campaign did, but using this network driven method of get out the vote- you dont primarily build this for eday GOTV.

Maybe that is feasible- but it at the very least has the big downside of not using the advantages of networking. Pushing it all to eday is never easy- and working with marginalized communities is even harder. So you work to advantages. Drivers are always easier volunteers to come up with. You can have them on tap at all times. So when the calls go out to see if people will vote- it is right now, to the advance poll, or every day to the returning office.

I think for our purposes now, the details are less importatnt than the example of taking a number of creative and efficient approaches for getting more people to the voting booth. And none of involves inventing anything new and from scratch.


Bump this back into circulation with a cross-fertilization from the discussion on the Tornto-Danforth byelection.

KenS wrote:

The Cons making the best show possible in T-D is not about moral victories or at least coming out ahead of the Liberals [which in itself they could not care less about].

It is about a long term national/regional campaigning strategy- and having the cash to invest in that everywhere.

By comparison, even during election campaigns we do not even put resources into our entire 'third tier' of seats where the chances of winning this election are remote, but we have a serious chance for anytime after the current election. Let alone the spending across the range of riding development potential that the Conservatives do between elections, while we do virtually none anywhere.

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

Good point, but as you say the Conservatives have a lot more money to spread around for things like this. The opposition parties don't. I suppose one could ask if you put 0$ in to 3rd tier ridings, or put 1000$ into them, which would on average take away from 1st and 2nd tier ridings would that really help the party's strategic position? A fair question and something to try perhaps.

KenS wrote:

I'm not advocating re-allocating the slices on the same small pie. If we want to beat the Conservatives, we have to raise more money. Period.

Which means it has to be made more of a priority. That in turn is part and parcel, integrated with growing the party organizationaly.... which is never going to happen as long as we continue to tiptoe our way through the balkanized federated structure where the federal party simply does not have an organizational infrastructure. This gets discussed from a few angles in [this thread] on beating the Conservatives. ....albeit that particular organizational question, more in the predecesor thread.


Vansterdam Kid

Raising more money isn't in doubt. But if the party doesn't raise more money then it will have to have to make do with its continued limited resources. And even if it does raise more money relative to the Conservatives, it's still likely to be out gunned by them simply because the average Conservative supporter has more money to spend (or launder through their relatives) than the the average NDP supporter.

David Young

Vansterdam Kid wrote:

Raising more money isn't in doubt. But if the party doesn't raise more money then it will have to have to make do with its continued limited resources. And even if it does raise more money relative to the Conservatives, it's still likely to be out gunned by them simply because the average Conservative supporter has more money to spend (or launder through their relatives) than the the average NDP supporter.

Good point, Vansterdam Kid!

What we have to differentiate is between the dyed-in-the-wool Reform/Conservative who will vote that way until they die, and the recently converted ex-Liberals, especially visible minorities, who have been pursued endlessly by Jason Kenney and others into voting Conservative in growing numbers over the past few elections

Forget about the Reform/Conservatives voters, they're a waste of time.

Having M.P.s like Paulina Ayala, Tarik Brahmi, Sadia Groguhe, Sana Hassainia, Romeo Saganash, and Rathika Sitsabaiesan joining Olivia Chow on the NDP benches shows that the NDP is a party open to anyone.  Seeing Jagmet Singh elected provincially in Ontario is also a great boost.

Support will come from places and groups that never considered the NDP as a viable option previously.  They saw the Liberal ship sinking, so they went to the most familiar option.  There is now another option.

I am confident that the next NDP leader will continue Jack Layton's work at gaining new supporters.

Let the Liberal Party die a slow death, continuing to believe that it can return to past glories.

No to any merger, but yes to gaining in-roads into the communities that voted Liberal in the past, having flirted with the Conservatives recently when it seemed there was no other choice.



Just a note that defying logic, this discussion of organizational and fundraising capabilities is also going in the merger [or not] thread.


David Young wrote:
What we have to differentiate is between the dyed-in-the-wool Reform/Conservative who will vote that way until they die, and the recently converted ex-Liberals, especially visible minorities, who have been pursued endlessly by Jason Kenney and others into voting Conservative in growing numbers over the past few elections

Forget about the Reform/Conservatives voters, they're a waste of time.

Obviously there is a floor below which the Conservatives won't fall, but remember that many people were originally drawn to Reform because of its populist message and that it was going to take on Ottawa and stand up for the little guy. With the way the Conservatives have been acting, some of these people may be open to an NDP message, especially in Western Canada.


In the first place, I didnt say it HAD to be a full break. It has to be more independence. If I can see that another way than a full break, fine.

But I do think a break is going to be necessary. That does not entail replacing with the Liberals byzantine and expensive structure. The Conservatives have no formal connections with provincila sections. No one- not even a Liberal- would choose their structure if they were starting from scratch. There would be some cost savings lost if we broke with the sectionc- but I think it is quite arguable that much more is lost in going around in circles when you are still tied to the sections- no matter how tied to Ottawa the smattering of federal organizers are.

And I came to this conclusion by the way when I was still a bona fide NSNDP insider. In other words, before I 'soured' on my section.

As to the give a break, look what we've been through, etc, etc.... no one is talking about why nothing is happening NOW. What is being argued is that there is a long running back history of deficiency; and when better to discuss it than during a leadership race when we are explicitly looking at the future direction of the party?

As to the point about planning, or lack of it..... It would be more precise for me to say that we appear to have only a weak plan and weak commitment to building the organizational capability.

I said earlier that I dont think it was only for money that the full time organizers were pulled in the period after the 2008 election. If you dont have a well developed plan of where you are going in building the organizational capability, then it should come as no surprise that after a while those organizers are not really accomplishing more than the kind of things done in pre-election organizing.


I have imported this from the merger thread. If it seems an abrupt break, go back there. But I think the comments can stand on their own:

ottawaobserver wrote:

I disagree with full breaks from the provincial sections. Brad struck the right balance in terms of hiring his own organizers, if you ask me. I think Ken is just sour on the NS provincial section, and that's coloured his thinking on it. The alternative is to create parallel federal wings in each province, just like the Liberals did with their PTAs, and that way lies way too much spending on overhead.

Another thing for people to think about - just because you don't see any evidence of planning, doesn't mean it's not going on. I remember on any number of occasions in the past, we would ask here "why aren't they saying anything on issues XYZ", and it would turn out that Jack was widely canvassing and consulting people on what to do, considering his strategy, doing communications planning, and would come out of hiding with a big strategic move that was a game-changer.

This is the downtime for the party. There has just been a historic election, followed by a convention, followed by a sick leader, the installation of an interim leader, the transition involved in that, massive hiring and re-organization on the Hill, the death of a leader, a state funeral, seven-count 'em-seven provincial or territorial elections, and a leadership race to run. Oh, and the House of Commons is back.

Give me a fucking break.

ottawaobserver wrote:

Brad has been quoted in several places saying that they switched things so that the organizers were directly creatures of the federal party rather than the provincial sections, which presumably took place under his watch.


There is a lot in there.


Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

This seems as good a place to put this link as any: Éric Grenier from threehundredeight.com has turned his focus on federal politics in Alberta and the NDP's chances for more seats there. I'm not sure it's worth a whole lot, given how faulty the results are these kinds of purely quantitative models tend to bring, but it's still fun for geeks and an interesting thought experiment.


In keeping with the thread topic, I am a conservative voter ( at least in the last two federal elections ). Convert me. I believe I am under taxed. I believe people's sexual orientation and gender identity are none of my business. I believe there should be a poverty reduction surtax, segregated to those specific needs. I believe abortion is none of my business ( I am a man ) . I believe all guns should be registered. I believe our foreign policy should not involve regime change. I believe our military should only be engaged for peace keeping and avoiding genocide. I believe in religious freedom, I am an atheist. I am a founder and a major owner of a small, non-union business founded in 1992 . I get paid the same as our best paid employees, we have a salary cap that applies to all. I believe we owe the world, being a rich country, foreign aid support and more open immigration policies. I live in Alberta. I believe in a two state solution wrt to Isreal and Palestine based on the 1967 boundaries. I believe the oil sands should be developed in a sane and sustainable manner. I believe climate change is real, but we are dependent on fossil fuels at the moment. So, why aren't I voting NDP?


Hi Glenl. For one thing, do you live in a part of Alberta that has ever voted NDP and/or had a local NDP campaign that looked at all like it could go over the top with a serious candidate? If not, that could be part of it.

Also, I'd have to guess at your motivation in voting Conservative the last two times. Was it because you felt that at a time of economic uncertainty it was no time to change horses? Or was it a concern about the influence of different regions in the national government? You seem to be saying that you voted Conservative the last two times, but hint you voted otherwise previous to that, so I'm guessing Liberal.

How am I doing so far?


With regard to my voting history I've voted for all 3 main parties federally. Your right wrt to lliberals more often than the others. I've voted NDP while living in Regina so you may also be right regarding the possibility of voting for the winner in the riding. Mr. Martin was my favorite finance minister it's a shame he turned out to be a weak Prime Minister. I like carbon tax rather than cap and trade but couldn't bring myself to support Mr Dion. I am representative in my beliefs with all my conservative voting friends. There must be an opportunity to convert myself and others?


Are there things you like about the NDP? Did you like Jack Layton, for example? Could you have imagined him as a capable prime minister?

On the other hand, were there some issues or positions that were a bridge too far for you?

Or was it that you didn't see the NDP as ready to govern federally yet?


I thought Mr Layton was the best choice overall. I'm not a big fan of Mr Harper. My reasons for voting the way I did in the last election were a bit petty and not indicative of how I may vote in the future. As a business founder and part owner my main problem supporting the NDP is I feel that I'm part of the problem and no part of the solution. I realize the NDP platform doesn't state all corporations are bad but I feel many supporters feel this, and their influence in that regard frightens me. Being in business for the last 2 decades I know that corporations ( Canadian owned ones ) do three things with profits; expand, pay salaries and pay dividends. The first one is good for everyone and the other two are taxed personally. Our company is not a person, it doesn't take vacations or buy itself expensive toys. I think Canadian owned corporations should pay zero corporate tax, that kinda puts me at odds with raising them. That's the main obstacle I have supporting the NDP. Socially I agree with most if not all their ideas and I think personal taxes should be higher on high income earners. In lieu of corporate tax I would prefer a requirement for profit sharing, which we have btw, and that it also taxed. I am seriously asking to be converted. If the NDP presents a clear and detailed platform in the next election campaign and promises to limit it's initiatives to those presented I will probably vote NDP. No surprises. Specific policies on things like the oil sands not just saying we want to fix them for example. I think Canada is ready to try a different approach, but it must be clear and incremental changes that they are offering not " we are better than conservatives ", some of my best friends are conservatives and they don't eat puppies.


What I like about what you're saying, Glenl, is that you're open to different approaches that have been thought through, are principled, and not reckless, and you expect people seeking your vote to run the country to conduct themselves that way.

Evidently there are people who are reckless who are supporters of *both* the Conservatives and NDP. They aren't the party in its entirety, on either side.

You would probably find that the people who have nursed the hope of being able to form a social democratic government federally in Canada for a long time, are not reckless and would want to ensure that the project they've worked on - against all odds and much of the opinion establishment - would not fall apart needlessly from being overly ambitious or getting too far ahead of the mandate it was given. And I would count pretty well all of the leadership candidates in that camp. And Jack Layton too, obviously (as I think would you too, based on what you said).

They also feel that they represent those whom our society has discounted in situation where income and wealth has become more and more concentrated. The tactics and language of the powerless can look scary sometimes to those with more education or experience being able to get things done in society. But the truth is that most people just want to make their way comfortably in the world, not run roughshod over everything that's been built by someone else.

Now, I'm not the policy wonk on this board, and perhaps others will take up those details. But I think Jack Layton demonstrated, for example, a willingness not to let the conventional discourse dictate what solutions were acceptable to propose, and yet could eventually bring people around to his, often farsighted, proposed solutions. No-one laughs at Taliban Jack anymore, or at the concept of harm prevention to deal with HIV and drug addictions, or bicycle lanes. I hope the next leader will continue that approach to social democratic politics.


Thanks. On a positive note the demise of the liberal party, assuming it continues to be MIA in the next election will force myself and those like me to choose. It's been too easy to just park my vote ( more often than not ) with the liberals over the years, telling myself that the centrist platform was safe. I think the NDP have an opportunity now that may not come again in my lifetime. I sure hope you choose the best leader to capitalize on that opportunity.


Me too. I think it will take a few debates before we're sure who that is. As you've probably surmised, the race has not really gotten going fully until all the provincial and municipal elections were out of the way. But at least now we'll get a good opportunity to see them in action in a variety of situations. I hope you'll take the time to share your perspectives as we go through the process.


I will be watching the process carefully, it may be very important to the country.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Presumably, if in 2015 the NDP achieve minority government status, the Conservatives and Liberals would likely move quickly to form some type of governing accord to push the NDP out of power, so, in the event of an NDP minority, the NDP would likely have to seize the opportuniity - it might never come again - and make whatever changes it can as quickly as possible, maybe to existing legislation, and certainly kill off the most odious Conservative spending - the F35s?

Somewhere the NDP must have an existing plan to implement should it become government some day - existing NDP policy, maybe some new stuff?


Boom Boom wrote:
Presumably, if in 2015 the NDP achieve minority government status, the Conservatives and Liberals would likely move quickly to form some type of governing accord to push the NDP out of power

That's pretty presumptuous. Granted, the Harper minorities were largely a Con-Lib coalition, but the party line was always how much they hated each other. The Reform wing of the party wanted nothing more than to see the Liberals destroyed, and they almost got their wish, but if they could continue and stomp it into fine little ashes they would. And a lot of Liberals are pretty creeped out by the power Harper exerts in a minority situation.

If the 2015 situation gives Liberals the balance of power, to either prop up a Con minority or an NDP minority, they will have to put some deep thought into it. If they really are serious when they contend that Harper is ruining the country, it would be irresponsible of them to turn around and let them continue after the electorate tears a strip off of them.