What lessons should the Federal NDP take from the Nova Scotia experience/coming nightmare?

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Skinny Dipper

Centrist wrote:
Skinny Dipper wrote:
If I were Tom Mulcair, I would run a campaign that combines issues like the economy and trust. Mr. Mulcair can state that the economy is in a shambles
Again, the economy is, and always will be, THEE major campaign issue. And that has been corroborated by various public opinion polls. Unfortunately, the Cons have always led on that same issue - TO THIS DATE - for whatever reason. How to overcome the Cons apparent dominance on that issue?! Just look to the recent BC May election campaign whereby Chrusty Clark consistently ran on the economy and jobs and overcame a 20% NDP lead! In that regard, just last week, Petronas announced a $36 billion LNG investment in BC and the MSM stated that the federal NDP will oppose same in Parliament. And that is the impression that will be left with the BC voter. Not good. I have already stated herein that THAT would result in political suicide in BC for the federal NDP. Again, in terms of the economy - even the BC NDP supported BC LNG and still lost on the economy issue! As a result of the federal NDP opposing LNG in BC in the recent MSM, the federal NDP has put themselves even further behind the economy 8-ball compared to the BC NDP. Can't believe that they have not yet learned anything from the BC campaign. In politics, voter perception is everything.

Thanks, Centrist.  I am a believer that people vote based roughly on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  That means that people will vote on which party or candidate will help improve their own lives first.  Which party will ensure that I have decent food, shelter, and clothing?  "Decent" is a relative term.  That could mean a party helping a family afford to move from an apartment to a single-detached house.  The Conservatives have generally done well selling their message on families' basic needs.

If a party starts campaigning on climate change, it had better make a strong connection between the negative effects and Canadians' immediate needs.  If climate change affects polar bears, that won't matter as much to voters as climate change affecting personal incomes.

I don't suggest that the NDP campaign on some macro-economic theory.  When I suggest that the NDP campaign on the economy, I do suggest that the party pick specific points about the economy that affects families personally such as having decent jobs.

KenS

Then where/how does the NS campaign and the road to it fit in?

The NDP started and had past mid-way in the term the highest ratings for confience in economic and fiscal management.

Nothing ever actually went wrong on that, and the NDP got consistently even better ratings with the media and economists than it got with the public. They maintained that standing with media and 'economic pundits' right to the end.

So, now wht is the lesson?

socialdemocrati...

KenS is asking the right question. Voters aren't as transactional as people think. They aren't just asking "what's in it for me". Both social democrats and hard conservatives allege they care about people like you, and their policies are designed to pass economic benefits onto working people. So who wins elections? People vote as much with their hearts as they do with their heads. They want to create a better country.

I also think that Skinny Dipper is onto a better answer. You can't just talk about the economy in a vacuum -- every party claims to do that. You have to present it in the context of some bigger idea. Trust? That a more transparent and accountable government will make better economic decisions? Maybe. But that sounds suspiciously like what Ignatieff tried to run on in 2011. That the Conservative scandals made them unfit to run the economy.

I think the NDP needs to make the argument that a more equal economy is a better economy. That the "trickle down" economy has not only failed to trickle down, but it also caused the economy to repeatedly fall backwards over the past decade.

jerrym

KenS wrote:

Then where/how does the NS campaign and the road to it fit in?

The NDP started and had past mid-way in the term the highest ratings for confience in economic and fiscal management.

Nothing ever actually went wrong on that, and the NDP got consistently even better ratings with the media and economists than it got with the public. They maintained that standing with media and 'economic pundits' right to the end.

So, now wht is the lesson?

I think that I saw something that approximates part of the answer last night on Alec Baldwin's new show, Up Late, when he interviewed Bill DeBlasio, the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York. Although I have never been much of an Alec Baldwin fan, I decided to watch the show and was pleasantly surprised by Bill DeBlasio. His approach to the problems facing New York would have to be adapted to Canadian conditions, but his holistic, straight-to-the-point, comfortable-in-his-own-skin manner and his proposals with regards to inequality, jobs, inequality, racial tensions, childcare, education, and New York's stop-and-search police state mentality of the current city government, have an appeal that could extend to Canada and is one that I have not see in Dexter, Dix, or Mulcair. 

Below is a connection to the website that shows that program in several separate segments:

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/up-late-with-alec-baldwin/53260184/#53260184

 

Skinny Dipper

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I think the NDP needs to make the argument that a more equal economy is a better economy. That the "trickle down" economy has not only failed to trickle down, but it also caused the economy to repeatedly fall backwards over the past decade.

I like that idea!

socialdemocrati...

DeBlasio is interesting. He's not necessarily a super charismatic guy, but he has that "says what he means" quality that invites trust. And he's not afraid to talk about economic issues as moral issues, not merely "competent public administration".

Stockholm

If elections were 100% about "the economy" and scandals and ethics didn't matter - that someone explain how the Tories under Harper beat the Martin Liberals in 2006? Remeber Canada in 2006? For all of the Liberals faults (and i'm not saying I give them credit for this), the Canadian economy in the winter of 2006 was booming, unemployment was low, the budget was in SURPLUS, Paul martin was widely seen as having been an economic "wizard" and despite all that the Liberals lost power to the Harper Conservatives for no other reason than some post-Chretien blow-back over the sponsorship scandal. If all that mattered was being seen as "competent economic managers" why isn't paul martin PM in a majority liberal government today?

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:
If elections were 100% about "the economy" and scandals and ethics didn't matter - that someone explain how the Tories under Harper beat the Martin Liberals in 2006? Remeber Canada in 2006? For all of the Liberals faults (and i'm not saying I give them credit for this), the Canadian economy in the winter of 2006 was booming, unemployment was low, the budget was in SURPLUS, Paul martin was widely seen as having been an economic "wizard" and despite all that the Liberals lost power to the Harper Conservatives for no other reason than some post-Chretien blow-back over the sponsorship scandal. If all that mattered was being seen as "competent economic managers" why isn't paul martin PM in a majority liberal government today?

You can also ask similar questions about government fatigue with Lorne Calvert in Saskatchewan in 2007.

Centrist

Stockholm wrote:
If elections were 100% about "the economy" and scandals and ethics didn't matter...

Just  as an example, let's look back to the May BC election campaign. Prior to that, the BC Libs were totally engulfed in the "Ethnogate Scandal" about the BC Libs using taxpayer funds to benefit the BC Lib Party, which made consistent headlines in the BC MSM. And the BC NDP basically had a proverbial "knock-out punch" in last spring's legislative session as reflected by the MSM. So much so... that many ethnic Libs were on the news, day after day, stating that Chrusty Clark should resign or that they would vote NDP. The BC Libs were brutalized in the MSM on that matter. Here is just one headline pic from the BC Province back then, which clearly corroborates same about the then sentiment:

 

And then we had Chrusty Clark go all over BC with her silly hardhat and a consistent narrative (which bandwagon the MSM was also on) about the economy and jobs. The MSM also portrayed the BC NDP as the "NO Party" to everything (economy wise) and the BC populace bought it up hook, line, and sinker. Pathetic. So much so that a 22% BC NDP lead at the beginning of the campaign turned into a 27% NDP deficit at the end of the campaign or a 5% Lib win. The BC voter apparently did not care about the major BC Lib scandals including Ethnogate, etc.  That meme is what definitely the NDP needs to learn from the BC election. Most definitely. One reason why I have been posting about the BC LNG issue here recently and its potential future economic and political impact.

 

Stockholm wrote:
someone explain how the Tories under Harper beat the Martin Liberals in 2006?

One thing you forgot to add, is that the Cons have always won the "economy" issue (even to this day) even over the federal Libs and esp. the federal NDP. If Paul Martin is portrayed as a right-winger, it would not be too hard for those same voters to vote for another right-wing party without the ethical and scandal baggage when it comes to the economy. For whatever reason, the NDP always lags on that issue. And when I say that, just look at all federal opinion polls about voter's "top of mind issues", which has always been the economy... and jobs by extension, which the Cons always seem to win by a large margin. Of course, the NDP always wins the education, health care, and social issues but, again, the economy always trumps those issues big time with voters.

 

Stockholm wrote:
If all that mattered was being seen as "competent economic managers" why isn't paul martin PM in a majority liberal government today?

I believe that is why Tom has been emphasing his previous "good economic manager" bit in the MSM, but I don't think that will be enough.

 

KenS

Centrist wrote:

One thing you forgot to add, is that the Cons have always won the "economy" issue (even to this day) even over the federal Libs and esp. the federal NDP. If Paul Martin is portrayed as a right-winger, it would not be too hard for those same voters to vote for another right-wing party without the ethical and scandal baggage when it comes to the economy.

That is incorrect. Martin remained higher rated on the economy to the end. It took some time in government for the Harper Cons to get a lock on that.

That does not in itself undermine the case you make. Although, even on its own, its a useful reminder about the supposed always paramount importance of economics: not even necessarily true for the Harper Cons who have currently achieved a solid lock on the issue.

The other general caveat is that you use the example of BC provincial politics... which always has its own dynamic, including the unique in Canada hyper-polarization. So unique it does not even transfer to politics in BC at the federal level.

But its still a strong argument you make.

Centrist wrote:

For whatever reason, the NDP always lags on that issue.

Not quite right. And the part that is wrong is crucial.

The NDP is always vulnerable on the issue of the economy.

Therefore it always needs to inoculate itself on the issue, to at least neutralize its inherent advantage.

It is possible for NDP governments for a time to own the issue. But always consider that ownership temporary- and I doubt that it can ever be owned as a top of the list issue while the NDP is in opposition.

That other parties can own the issue in a far more stable manner. That is their inherent advantage over the NDP. But it does not in itself win them elections, nor does it mean we cannot win them regardless of the essentially permanent handicap.

The NS NDP did not win government owning the best for the economy rating.

It did successfully inoculate against the NDPs inherent vulnerability on the economy. Testimony that it is a minimum condition of winning government and keeping it.

But that does not make it a sufficient condition of winning or keeping government.

The Dexter coterie made the fatal mistake of being singularly obsessed with the formula of keeping government by becoming the best economic managers on the block.

It just does not work for us the same way it does for other parties. Least of all when the obsession of the Dexter coterie contributed to their lack of attention to the generalized trust of voters that they knew was what got them into government.

Thankfully, at a minimum Tom Mulcair shows that he understands well that for the NDP winning is not all about "the economy". But he does concern me that he puts too much faith in what that can and must do for the NDP. And it works a powerful attraction on a big slice of the NDP, a slice that is an even bigger proportion of the cadre that does the everyday work of running the NDP.

 

 

KenS

As to the LNG in BC as an example... I accept that this is something on which the federal as well as provincial NDP has to be very careful. And it may well be that Dix's "Kinder Morgan pipeline surprise" had the unintended effect of undermining the BCNDP's support of the "LNG future" for BC. But that does not make it as generalizable as you think.

I do not even think that it "proves" that Mulcair should be so careful that he should not make the huffy comments he did about awaiting the outcome of environmental reviews on the LNG projects.... making the point that the Harper government has heavily compromised that.

We are years out from a BC election, so the potential effects on provincial politics of what Mulcair said in 2013 will be long trumped by events over the next couple years. He would not have said what he did if we were in or near an election in BC. As to the risk that you obviously think Mulcair is taking with the federal fortunes in BC.... the NDP will not win by being another doormat for every megaproject going. There are already two very good doormats for that.

 

KenS

Summary:

The left is wrong- paying attention to the question of who is the "best economic manager" is crucial if the NDP is to win. The NDPs inherent disadvantage has to at least be neutralized. And this is no mean feat.

But it is also wrong, very wrong, to exprapolate that more of a necessary thing is better. And trying to ramp up the success around the econoomic managers issue is likely to end up being self defeating.

Skinny Dipper

While I think that Tom Mulcair will change the traditonal focus on NDP campaigns from health care and the environment to the economy, this shift didn't start with him.  Jack Layton started by having campaign platforms that targetted seniors and middle-class people--the people who are most likely to vote.  I do think that Mr. Mulcair will continue target the middle-class because it has the largest group of voters.  Yes, there may be a lot of poorer Canadians.  However, the poorer one is, the less likely one will vote.  Personally, I think it is more expensive for a party to try to get a non-voter to vote for you than get voters to switch parties.  My prediction is that Mr. Mulcair will target the big group of middle-class voters while offering a couple of niche promises to those less well-off.

kropotkin1951

Skinny Dipper wrote:

My prediction is that Mr. Mulcair will target the big group of middle-class voters while offering a couple of niche promises to those less well-off.

Yes that has always been the winning liberal formula.  Power being the goal not societal change it is indeed a very pragmatic and achievable goal.

socialdemocrati...

Centrist wrote:
And then we had Chrusty Clark go all over BC with her silly hardhat and a consistent narrative (which bandwagon the MSM was also on) about the economy and jobs. The MSM also portrayed the BC NDP as the "NO Party" to everything (economy wise) and the BC populace bought it up hook, line, and sinker. Pathetic. So much so that a 22% BC NDP lead at the beginning of the campaign turned into a 27% NDP deficit at the end of the campaign or a 5% Lib win. The BC voter apparently did not care about the major BC Lib scandals including Ethnogate, etc.

In one of the lowest election turnouts in Canadian history. 

I can't believe I opened babble to find people repeating that lazy lie that people chose the BC Liberals for the economy.

When the NDP loses an "easy" election due to abysmal turnout, the problem is much more painstakingly obvious: you can't beat a bad government with nothing. You can't just wait for them to flame out and piss all over themselves, and then say "hey, you have no other choice but to pick us now, we won't do anything wrong." You actually have to stand for something.

And to focus on turnout is also to be mindful of the attacks on Dix's ethics and flip flops in the campaign. When people lose faith in all the leaders, then turnout drops. When turnout drops, then the right-wing wins.

Quote:
Stockholm wrote:
If all that mattered was being seen as "competent economic managers" why isn't paul martin PM in a majority liberal government today?

I believe that is why Tom has been emphasing his previous "good economic manager" bit in the MSM, but I don't think that will be enough.

You believe that "good economic manager" won't be enough because you've been paying attention, and you have common sense.

KenS

I think the business of NDP sections waiting to inherit the brass ring by default goes hand in hand with the thinking that it is all about appearing as the good economic managers.

I dont see any necessary logical connection- but they do seem to go together.

 

The NS NDP definitely flew in under the radar to win government. Full disclosure: myself and others in the exiled 'dissident crowd' that cut across ideological lines, we said not only that we did not like it, but that it wont work. And we were proved wrong, pretty demonstrably.

But maybe we were more right than it appears, just not in the simplistic way we thought of it. For one thing we were proven right about 'part 2': even if you do achieve government, without a mandate of what you will do, it will be nothing. But maybe its even worse than that: that the lazy way in breeds the opposite of what it takes to be a resilient government.... one that can sustain itself, let alone do anything social democrats want to see out of government.

 

So that while in principle it might be possible to fly in under the radar to win government, the practice of doing it leads to a corruption of capabilities. And even to a corruption of basic common sense. For example, what was the Dexter Cockpit thinking in letting the MLA expense scandal develop, despite explicit internal warnings of what it could come to.

Corruption of common sense is one of the things that gets magnified when you revel as did the Dexter Cockpit in the already bad tendency of today's politics in concentrate decision making in the hands of a very few.

socialdemocrati...

To sum up KenS's last post: You can sometimes win government by "flying under the radar". But if you win, you'll either have to govern cautiously, or make your big changes with no mandate. Both of which lead to your support fracturing, and ultimately, losing government.

I draw two conclusions from this:

- If flying under the radar eventually leads to a government that can't win, maybe you have to stand for something.

- If flying under the radar eventually leads to a government that can't win, then you may as well be a one-term government that accomplished something.

That "something" should be transformational. Proportional representation would be at the top of my list, let alone a major social program, or something that further reduces the influence of money on government.

Centrist

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
In one of the lowest election turnouts in Canadian history. 

I can't believe I opened babble to find people repeating that lazy lie that people chose the BC Liberals for the economy.

When the NDP loses an "easy" election due to abysmal turnout... When turnout drops, then the right-wing wins.

You are referencing a news article from the day right after the May 14 BC election. Special and absentee ballots hadn't been counted yet, for example. The final turnout was actually 58% - higher than the 51% turnout in 2009 and a similar turnout going back to 1996.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/209405741.html

 

 

socialdemocrati...

I stand corrected on the voter turnout. But your analysis of the Liberal strategy is still narrow. They didn't just attack Dix on the economy. They attacked him on ethics, and on trying to have it both ways. So to say that voters didn't care about trust and honesty, and this election came purely down to jobs, is inaccurate. The economy will always be a factor, even a dominant factor, but not the only factor.

Ken Burch

janfromthebruce wrote:

As for going back to being a party of what - conscience - seriously????

Meanwhile, in Ontario the liberals showed what kind of losers they really are.

 

Shouldn't the NDP be fighting against the argument that a party can either have a conscience or govern, but can't do BOTH?
Why can't the NDP campaign on being a GOVERNMENT OF CONSCIENCE?

Does governing always have to mean being cynical and soulless?

What's wrong with govening with clear principles and clear values?

Ken Burch

scott16 wrote:

hello KenS

You seem to be the leading expert here. Will the NDP be tainted in NS in 2015?

Is Darrell Dexter the NS Bob Rae?

Well, we'll know that if he gets a federal Liberal nomination in 2015.  Are we really sure he ran the provincial government this badly by accident, after all?

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:

scott16 wrote:

hello KenS

You seem to be the leading expert here. Will the NDP be tainted in NS in 2015?

Is Darrell Dexter the NS Bob Rae?

Well, we'll know that if he gets a federal Liberal nomination in 2015.  Are we really sure he ran the provincial government this badly by accident, after all?

What do you mean by accident? Part of the problem is that Dexter did not porperly communicate the government's legitimate accomplishments.

Besides, Rae managed to keep his seat when his government was tossed. I'm not sure any party will want Dexter now.

janfromthebruce

Ken Burch wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:

As for going back to being a party of what - conscience - seriously????

Meanwhile, in Ontario the liberals showed what kind of losers they really are.

 

Shouldn't the NDP be fighting against the argument that a party can either have a conscience or govern, but can't do BOTH?
Why can't the NDP campaign on being a GOVERNMENT OF CONSCIENCE?

Does governing always have to mean being cynical and soulless?

What's wrong with govening with clear principles and clear values?

I was meaning that at all and this was a misread of what I was inferring. Inferring that just be a rump of elected and never seek office for the most seats or be PM.

Ken Burch

That wasn't aimed at you, jan, as much as it was the idea that there has to be a choice between conscience and power.  The leading strategists of the federal NDP, like those of the Democratic party in the U.S., seem to be insisting that there has to be...that a party can't actually be principled and can't actually fight for the powerless and the dispossessed and still hope to govern-that the whole thing has to be reduced to "it's enough that 'our team' wins".  Please don't take it as a personal slam.

It's suicidal for the NDP to assume that the vast majority of the company is and always will be sharply to the right of the NDP's base.  That's all I meant.

Ken Burch

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

scott16 wrote:

hello KenS

You seem to be the leading expert here. Will the NDP be tainted in NS in 2015?

Is Darrell Dexter the NS Bob Rae?

Well, we'll know that if he gets a federal Liberal nomination in 2015.  Are we really sure he ran the provincial government this badly by accident, after all?

What do you mean by accident? Part of the problem is that Dexter did not porperly communicate the government's legitimate accomplishments.

Besides, Rae managed to keep his seat when his government was tossed. I'm not sure any party will want Dexter now.

What I mean is, it's hard to believe that Dexter, having run a really effective political strategy to get the NSNDP into power, would just suddenly become that politically tone-deaf and incompetent at getting the message out once in power, and would get that clueless about how to treat the party's base once elected.  You kind of wonder if he was offered something to tank the whole thing. 

And it's awfully convenient for the federal Liberals that Dexter bottled things just at the moment when doing so would do Justin Trudeau the most possible good(in the same way that Bob Rae, even though he managed to hold his seat, did the same service for Jean Chretien and the federal Libs in the run-up to the 1993 federal, election, when the Liberals desperately needed to make sure that the NDP wasn't going to be any threat at all in Ontario. 

I find if difficult to believe things went down this way by chance is all.

 

Ken Burch

Here's some things I would suggest for the federal and Nova Scotia NDPs(and the provincial NDP leaders and caucuses in the rest of Canada) in response to the third-place showing in the N.S. seat count

1)make it clear that the next Nova Scotia NDP government(if they ever get one again)and the first federal NDP government will NEVER cut taxes on corportions and the rich(or, if nothing else, at least never cut them during times of a budget shortfall).  The NDP has a particular obligation to reject all aspects of supply-side economics, especially in times of hardship and shortfall.  Failing to respect that obligation means that an NDP government isn't an NDP government at all.  Period.  End of story.

2)make it clear to the base that, even if they have to take sacrifices in the first term of that government, the cuts will be FULLY RESTORED in the second term(and services expanded beyond the pre-cut level if at all possible).  Also, change the way the services are offered to incorporate greater decision-making powers for the poor and the working-class/middle-class themselves.

3)Communicate any gains that HAVE come to the base(don't take the strategy, which I think Dexter took, that the party needs to LOOK like it doesn't care about its base in order to appease those finicky, and probably mythical "swing voters", voters who are most likely to be influenced by appeals to practicality and effectiveness, not by promises to treat loyal NDP voters with indifference in any case).

4)introduce absolute transparency in budgeting so that, at all times, the voters will know the exact state of the books in Nova Scotia.  If they can it in Bolivia, they can do it anywhere.

KenS

Ken Burch wrote:

What I mean is, it's hard to believe that Dexter, having run a really effective political strategy to get the NSNDP into power, would just suddenly become that politically tone-deaf and incompetent at getting the message out once in power, and would get that clueless about how to treat the party's base once elected.  

I have made the point, and given one of the timelines showing how the aloof high handedness, complete with tone deafness, reaches back years before taking power- into the period of time when they had a winning and effective political strategy.

And they were never clueless about how to treat the party's base. The Dexter Crowd has always had a big Please Fuck Off wall out there for folks who do not want to be always compliant when it matters. Nice people, or more or less nice people, person those gates. Nicely.

But if you stick to criticising, even if it is always iternal and according to all the written and unwritten rules, then the nastys will make sure you get the message. The irony is that when you get driven out you ALWAYS get labelled "not a team player". Yet the longer you stick around being a team player abiding by what you expressly do not agree with.... the nastier will be your final FUCK OFF.

KenS

Darell Dexter will not be runing for the Liberals. Would not even if they would have him.

More time for golf and shooting hoop. Whats not to like?

Collect a few soft directorships.

Who needs the Liberals?

Geoff

He already ran for the "Liberals".     

KenS wrote:

Darell Dexter will not be runing for the Liberals. Would not even if they would have him.

More time for golf and shooting hoop. Whats not to like?

Collect a few soft directorships.

Who needs the Liberals?

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