There seems to be two parallel conversations occurring, one involving steadfast partisans, the other detached observers with expertise in gauging political realities. Whenever the idea of co-operation, merger, arrangements are raised between the Liberals and NDP, there is hearty blow back and much of it is frankly understandable. However, I note in the last week two prominent pollsters have weighed in with alarming consensus, two firms who's job it is to pour over the data and ascertain political outcomes. As an aside, I've spent some time with electoral maps myself- without including the new pro-Conservative seat allocation- and come to similar conclusions, forever an uphill battle, the numbers are hard to run.
Both EKOS and Ipsos Reid have concluded that "only way" to beat the Conservatives is for the opposition to join together in some manifestation. Of note, the current NDP candidate for leadership with wind in his sails is entertaining just that as the required path forward. As well the leadership favourite is anything but your "far left", if he was running for the Liberal leadership, nobody would question his spectral lean, fit within the supposed "tent" with little effort. That the Liberals currently have a former NDP Premier as their interim leader, and we all think he's doing a terrific job, another indicator that tribal lines blur practical realities.
The pollster view offers a reality check to long odd "scenarios", they have no horse in this race, merely an objective read of the political landscape, one that is also supported by your own analysis. Part of the reason I've moved into the arrangement camp is because of the sober realities Graves articulates. I fully expect merger, co-operation talk, to increase moving forward as we get closer to the next election, for every difference we can highlight, there is also a compelling overlap. As well, any arrangement doesn't constitute the status quo, positions will be tempered, compromise, pragmatism will demand a reworking. This realization is important for those that point to incompatibility, because manifestations would resemble a coalition in spirit, an arrangement which articulates compromise anyways, just another to path to a similar result.
When the dust settles from this NDP race, we may be confronted with certain coherent avenues moving forward. I foresee the Liberal leadership race becoming a potential vehicle for the arrangement proponents. Much is to be determined, but the open primary concept will allow for participation beyond the hardcore partisans, meaning the general public- who are MUCH more open to arrangements- could have input if a candidate makes these ideas a rallying cry. There is a path for a proponent to bypass the narrow tribe contingents and reach out to a more receptive audience.
One thing is clear to my mind, the issues surrounding co-operation aren't going away, if anything I see a growing clamour moving forward. The pollsters are crunching the numbers, they see the daunting gradient, what is required now is some sober reflection, or it's very likely we revisit this conversation post 2015, facing another mandate, almost by divided opposition default, rather than true democratic expression.