Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sun Rising On Liberal "Darkhorse"

There is something very instructive occurring within the Liberal leadership race that deserves consideration beyond the process itself.   There is simply no question that apart from Justin Trudeau, Joyce Murray has the "momentum" in this race, turning an afterthought campaign into an intriguing potential coalition of like minded partisans and NON.  In fact, we are witnessing a repeat of the NDP leadership process, wherein "darkhorse" Nathan Cullen went from second tier candidate to contender on the back of "co-operation" musings, with the added empirical curiosity that the supporter category brings.  

Let's keep it real, Trudeau will win this leadership race. But, that fact doesn't distract from what amounts to a genuine grassroots movement that is developing behind the Murray campaign, one that gets louder with each passing day.  What remains to be seen is true manifestation, but there is no doubt the "buzz" is real, Murray has momentum.   The Liberal process is wide open- adding a new wrinkle to the Cullen model- perhaps providing further elevation for an idea which enjoys broad support outside of traditional tribal considerations.  That "outside" groups are lining up behind Murray, further evidence that an appetite exists for a united progressive alternative.

As I read the Murray campaign, it isn't just about co-operation, but a true BIG L LIBERAL agenda, that makes "support" all the more appealing.  When you look at some of the endorsements coming Murray's way, it is clear the intrigue begins with co-operation, but is affirmed with a coherent progressive policy agenda.  Observers should note the candidate with perceived traction in the race is the "leftie", not the Conservative-lite artriculations, perhaps a testament that the progressive wing of the Liberal Party is alive and well and recruiting more like minded people as we speak.

When I voted for the "supporter" designation at the Convention, what is transpiring now was my hope, namely someone would emerge and attract new people into the equation, breathing life into the Liberal Party.  Again, lets not forget the impact Trudeau has had, is having, and will in the future, but we can walk and chew gum at the same time here.  Joyce Murray is where the action is, the fact it comes under the co-operation banner, all the more enticing and interesting moving forward.  Let us also not forget that Trudeau has basically mused about the same need for co-operation in the recent past, latest "company man" articulations aside.

I have no idea the ultimate vote totals when the dust settles, but it is fair to draw some conclusions already.  There is an appeal in the land for co-operation, it exists, it is tangible and it seeks to organize itself under a unifying banner.  Big picture we have "star" power lining, anecdotally I can say I know of three in recent days signing up to support the Liberal Party because of Joyce Murray.  Something is clearly afoot and no matter the final result, people are foolish to ignore the potential impact moving forward.  Co-operation, mergers, arrangements, whatever, those that become proponents find fertile ground.


ch said...

I don't like the idea of having only a CPC and one other candidate (or 2 others in Quebec, since it seems Murray will not cooperate with the Bloc) in each riding. Who picks the non-CPC candidate? Anyway, Mulcair has made it clear he will run NDP candidates in all ridings, so this is not a practical position.

I also don't like PR, although I would like to see a ranked ballot, which I think is more appropriate for selecting one local representative. The current CPC would lose out in such a system, since there are many voters who do not like them and would not put them as either first or second choice. A party more like the old PC may do fine in such a system though. As should the NDP and Liberals.

So, I won't be voting for Murray. But it will be interesting to see the numbers and which candidates Murray can surpass of MHF, MG and JT. In the unlikely event that Murray won, I think you would find that some "supporters" are not Liberal supporters. Once Murray's scheme of only a single non-CPC candidate failed, which it obviously will, I think a many would vote for other parties. She is distinguishing herself from other candidates on issues which she has not shown any evidence that she can deliver on - eliminating many candidates and bringing in PR despite its unpopularity among the general population in provinces where it has been considered.

Steve V said...

"Who picks the non-CPC candidate?"

Local voters who participate in a "run off" of sorts. Nothing is lost in terms of democratic input, if anything another layer is added. Various parties present their ideas, it is voted on, the winner then confronts the Conservative in the general election.

ch said...

Thanks for the answer. I didn't realize they would open it to all eligible voters. Not sure how that is possible without EC help, and even if EC had the resources, can they just help non-CPC parties in this way to defeat the government?

Also, given that this is supposed to be in ridings where the CPC won by a small amount or almost won, wouldn't CPC voters have a substantial influence then on picking the non-CPC candidate?

Ideally you would want ALL eligible voters who are NOT going to vote for the CPC in the upcoming election. But I guess that is not possible or even well defined (people do change their minds).

I hope these kinds of issues with Murray's platform get fully discussed before the Leadership vote.

Steve V said...

I think open to all eligible members of each party, Lib, NDP and Green, of which any citizen can join. The avenue is there for full participation, the onus is on people to get involved. If we have a nomination fight between all three parties to see who takes on the Con, then anyone is free to join any party and vote. The choice is still there, we just add another level of participation.

ch said...

Well that's not fair. Most people who vote in federal elections don't belong to any federal party. I don't think people should have to join a federal party. I've voted in dozens of provincial and federal elections without belong to any party. This strikes me as a bunch of political insiders cooking up a scheme. I don't think it will sit well with many people and there would be backlash. Could end up with more CPC. It is undemocratic, imo.

Steve V said...

No offence, but if people can't take the time to get involved with the nomination process, I have little sympathy for their cries about lack of choice. Seriously, you want to make a difference, do more than show once for two minutes every four years. Not YOU, just saying... The avenue still exists to participate, take advantage and have a voice.

BTW, I favour full merger, the only way the NDP gains power is to become the Libs anyways, like Dexter did in Nova Scotia, like Doer in Manitoba, like Calvert... I can't recall on truly socialist expression actually gaining power in my lifetime, any NDP victory has always been centrist in policy, so where is the choice exactly when you get right down to it? Go look at the NDP leadership ad, Mulcair is in a Bay Street boardroom for cripes sake, they know they have to move to the center to appeal, so again "choice" is an illusion.

ch said...

I guess we won't see this the same way. Sounds like a money making scheme for political parties, requiring people to join in order to make the type of selection they used to be able to make for free in a federal election. On the other hand, I can see requiring paid membership to vote between different party candidates would discourage CPC supporters. But at what cost?

ch said...

btw, I don't have anything against parties merging, if that is what the parties choose. That all seems fair and square and their democratic right. It is the distinct parties running interparty pre-federal-elections that require paid membership that bothers me.

Steve V said...

Should be noted that the party appartus people are against co-operation, it is the maverick elements and OUTSIDE forces like LeadNow, Suzuki, that are pushing the agenda, so this is NOT a money making scheme hatched up by party hacks, to the contrary. Thanks for the thoughts.

Jordan said...

Why is it that we don't think people are only voting for Trudeau because of his views on foreign ownership but when it comes to Murray and Cullen it's only because of co-operation they are doing well?

Jerry Prager said...

ch seems incredibly confused about what cooperation means. Maybe some time in front of Sesame Street might help.
I have never been a member of the Libs (was a member of the provincial greens for a year.)But I have voted Green, NDP and Liberal, mostly Liberal, because of the ridings I've lived in.
The right wing takeover of liberalism in general has always galled me, the possibility that it might become the party of greatest equal liberty and not just corporatism light is what keeps me coming back.
Also, the word cooperation has finally appeared in this election in terms other than voting, McCrimmon has even talked about credit unions, the only real alternative to the cabal of gangsters that runs international banking: to think a soldier is talking about the kind of Canada they think they are dying for is one that includes cooperatives and credit unions excites me no. We may finally bury fascism for good.

Dana said...

ch is a straw man more interested in re-electing cons than anything else.

But then so are lots of LPC and NDP members.

There's no secret anymore to what it will take to consign Steeve and the Harpies to history.

The only secret is why so many LPC and NDP members don't want to.

ch said...

Jerry, I was referring only to Murray's proposal of determining one candidate from the various opposition parties to run in the ridings which were close in the last election. I know there are other ideas of cooperation, including cooperating after the election, which I like.

Jordan, I think Murray will have supporters who support her for a while variety of reasons, but there are some organizations that are trying to recruit their members for here based on single issues which distinguish her from other candidates.

The Globe & Mail has a good article for outlining how Trudeau's vision differs from Murray in that Trudeau wants to enhance the power of local representation, by having open nominations (Murray already has a plan for some ridings which she would impose if she delivers on her promises) and he would allow free votes on everything outside confidence votes. This is the kind of representation I would like, one where more power is transferred to the individual that people vote for and less power to the parties. PR shifts our already skewed balance between parties and individuals even further toward parties. Trudeau would shift it the other way. I like that.