Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The "Bandwagon" Effect

Nothing is written in stone, anything is possible, the fat lady isn't singing, but any objective read of the situation has to conclude that Ignatieff is heavily favored to win. Today, we hear musings about Brison moving to Ignatieff:
Brison spoke to Ignatieff yesterday and it is likely all those unkind words will be forgiven and forgotten, if, as sources suggest is likely, the Nova Scotian endorses the current front-runner. Insiders in both camps say it is a "good fit," and Ignatieff sources say they are "feeling good" about the prospect.

Jumping on the bandwagon:

There are further suggestions that delegates who will support Ken Dryden, Joe Volpe and Martha Hall Findlay on the first ballot have already indicated they will slip in behind Ignatieff on the second, even if their candidates do not.

A Brison endorsement would effectively put Ignatieff over the top in my mind. Not so much the potential delegates, but the powerful psychological symbolism that starts the "inevitability" angle. People will not move en masse to anyone if Ignatieff has so much as a hint of momentum- it's simply doesn't agree with human nature. Why put your neck out, risk alienating the new powerbase and effectively put yourself on the outside looking in? There is no doubt that political calculation and self-interest will come into play, both of which benefit Ignatieff.

There is one element to this entire discussion that has been largely missing. Given the past sharp divisions within the Liberal Party, is there really an appetite for "long knives" and overt negativity. Will delegates rally around a mean-spirited attempt to take Ignatieff down, because that is what it will take, polite disagreement won't do it. I fully expect the "unite the party" meme to make the rounds and see pressure mounting to gel around one person. The convention will be an exercise in image, will Liberals want the country to see blood letting and acrimony?

Ignatieff doesn't need much in the next weeks to look largely inevitable. If it appears that a Herculean effort will be needed to knock him off, I don't see people endorsing a messy struggle. The risk of losing is too great and that has consequences for any potential conspirators. Ignatieff looks safe, I expect many to migrate to the safe harbour.


CuriosityCat said...

Dream on. The campaign is just beginning. The so-called "knifes" are legitimate debate about who is the best leader, who can beat Harper, who will make the best prime minister.

No attempt by Ignatieff supporters to create a false "momentum" and "let's unite now" behind a self-appointed king will stop the legitimate campaign to elect the next leader of the LPC.

If Ignatieff cannot fight the battle to become leader, how one earth can we expect bim to best Harper on the hustings?

Steve V said...

"No attempt by Ignatieff supporters to create a false "momentum" and "let's unite now" behind a self-appointed king will stop the legitimate campaign to elect the next leader of the LPC."

I'm not an Ignatieff supporter, I'm just trying to be fair.

s.b. said...

Steve V, in what alternate reality do Dryden delegates support Igs as their second choice? Dion is the overwhelming second choic of Liberals and delegates? I have not spoke to one Dryden supporter whoo will be going to Iggy on any vote.

Steve V said...

"Dion is the overwhelming second choic of Liberals and delegates?"

Rae has no room for growth, the polls suggest otherwise. Kennedy gets nothing, seems unlikely. No one moves to Ignatieff defies logic, as Brison attests. Delegates aren't cattle, all these predictions are predicated on that false logic. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Brison did not speak to Iggy yesterday.

John Ivison is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I can see Brison and Iggy, but Dryden? That's a stretch.

Sinestra said...

Dryden delegates going to IGGY? You must be ill.

Anonymous said...

So are we just supposed to become the go along to get along party? We should all just bow down to the inevitability of Michael Ignatieff. The way we bent down in front of Paul Martin only to be bent over by the people of Canada?

Anonymous said...

Dryden Manitoba delegates are the one's likely to go Iggy.

Watch his Manitoba orgainizers in the coming days.

MississaugaPeter said...

Iggy drew the line in the sand with other Liberals when he voted with Harper instead of the majority of other Liberal MPs.

Afghanistan will be the defining issue in Montreal.

Iggy should have asked each of his delegates before nominating them: Are you with me on the Afghanistan issue.

He did not, and that is why he will not win in Montreal.

Skip said...

But it's not just Afghanistan. Liberals are going to be asking over the next few months, who they think can beat Harper now, not in four years, but now.

The question will be: Can Ignatieff, with such a similar foreign policy to Harper and such a close association to American-Republican politics (because of his support of Iraq War, etc.), really beat Harper?

If Liberals say yes, then Ignatieff will be the next Liberal leader. If no, he won't be. That's what it comes down to. But the main thing is that Liberals aren't thinking about electing a Prime Minister in four years or more, they are looking for a Prime Minister in May.

Steve V said...

Ignatieff doesn't need Dryden's delegates, although common sense would say a few would come his way. I am not making a personal judgement on Ignatieff, merely pointing out that he will be VERY hard to beat. The campaign isn't "just starting", as a matter of fact it now has a certain rigidity that is hard to ignore. I'm trying to approach this reasonably, not emotionally. I guess we will see what the next few weeks bring.

CuriosityCat said...

The campaign is really just starting a slightly different phase. Up until now, Ignatieff has been given a free ride by the mainstream media, many bloggers, and other candidates. His unusual political views regarding American imperialism, his questionable support for "robust" interrogation methods, his absence from Canada for most of his adult life, have not yet really been probed.

If you doubt that, just google "Ignatieff imperialim" and browse through a few of the articles.

Now the spotlight turns on the front runner, and the key question is this: Just where would Ignatieff take Canada if he became Prime Minister?

Not many Liberals, or Canadians, will like the answer once it is place squarely in front of them.

Steve V said...


"Now the spotlight turns on the front runner"

I understand what you mean, the glare will intensify. However, this guy has been the perceived frontrunner all along, and from my reading has had considerable negative coverage. My general sense of the MSM soundbite coming out of this weekend is that Ignatieff has "solidifed" his hold and you have to wonder how this perception filters down through the rank and file.

I've changed my opinions so many times, but sitting her today I have to conclude that this weekend was a good outcome for Ignatieff. A four person race disallows a single stop-Iggy focus point, and that is really all that can stop him.