For political junkies, there is nothing like the high drama of watching a leadership convention. After each ballot, we watch intently to see who will make the walk to another candidates side and offer their support. These strategic moves are critical for any candidate to gain the momentum to take the prize in a crowded field. With regards to the looming Liberal leadership convention, I think we already have some insight into possible scenarios.
It is a safe bet that Ignatieff will enter the initial ballot with sizable delegates, if not the most. It is also reasonable to assume Bob Rae will have adequate initial support. Given the number of candidates, it is doubtful any one candidate will have enough support to win on the first or even second ballot. What is particularly interesting is that both Ignatieff and Rae have a built in advantage that others may not necessarily enjoy. Does anyone doubt that these two lifelong friends will not form some kind of alliance?
If Rae is forced to concede, I can already picture the momentous walk to Ignatieff's perch. So while we look at individual candidates, people like Kennedy, Dion, Dryden and Brison must also be aware of the "group" dynamic at play. If either Ignatieff or Rae can secure another ally, then their candidacy may prove to be unstoppable. For this reason, a person like Kennedy must "network" with other candidates and form his own alliances if he is too have a chance. You can even speculate that Rae and Ignatieff have already had discussions, wherein Rae's bid is really some cover for Ignatieff and in turn Ignatieff offers Rae a prominent role in any future government(i.e foreign affairs).
Ignatieff can enter Montreal knowing that he has a built-in momentum grabber in and amongst the uncertainty of a convention. So, as we draw nearer the convention and we get a better idea as too possible support, I will tally the Ignatieff and Rae support as essentially one. The other candidates face an uphill battle and had best plan accordingly because appearances may mask the true reality. Of course, this all speculation and I could be dead wrong.