Don't Attack The Conservative Party
September 1st, 2021 | NZ
Among many conservatives there is a temptation to go to war with the Conservative Party of Canada. Support for the party has dropped significantly. Erin O’Toole is attempting to neuter the party in order to appeal to soft Liberal supporters in hopes of expanding the pool of potential CPC voters. This is a strategy that has been advocated by progressives with no intention of ever voting Conservative. Ostensibly, this advice is meant to help the Conservative party by bringing it to the centre and making it more competitive for mainstream voters.
The real reason for this advice is that progressives always want to undermine conservative principles in order to neuter their competition. By encouraging a less conservative Conservative party, they can feel more comfortable about controlling the opposition.
True blue conservatives realize that this method has been adopted and are consequently abandoning the Conservative Party in favour of more strident alternatives like the Maverick Party in the West, or Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. As someone who will be voting Maverick in the next election and voted for the People’s Party in the last one, (and the Christian Heritage Party in the one before that), I have some insights and advice of my own for dissident conservatives that are eager for change.
1. Don’t waste time criticizing the Conservative Party
Many of us have a history with the Conservative Party. It was exciting back in 2006 to finally, after 13 years, get rid of the Liberals and take over government. It was even more exciting in 2011 when Harper got his long-awaited majority. I was there that night and watched the crowd cheering as Harper took to the stage and promised great things from his “strong, stable, Conservative majority government”.
Then reality set in and the “Stop Harper” campaign immediately began. The Cathedral of progressive opposition kicked into high gear like we’ve never seen before. The Conservatives had very little political capital to expend and everything they did was with the consideration of how it would affect public opinion in time for, you guessed it, the next federal election.
They were stifled and blocked and grew weary and ineffective. It dawned on many of us then that if Harper…with a majority, couldn’t fix anything, then maybe things weren’t fixable.
As the years have gone by things have only gotten worse. Andrew Scheer alienated hundreds of thousands with his Maxime Bernier spat. Michelle Rempel turns off supporters with every woke tweet she sends out. Erin O’Toole lost the Western base with his carbon tax that’s not technically a carbon tax. Derek Sloan got ejected and took thousands of supporters with him.
The party has been shedding support, held together now only by a visceral loathing of Justin Trudeau.
Nevertheless, I encourage all of these Conservative orphans to resist taking the boots to the remains of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Attacking the Conservatives from the right does nothing positive for your chosen party and instead alienates potential converts. Scolding or badgering Conservative supporters for not being “real” conservatives isn’t going to win hearts and minds toward your chosen party.
Furthermore, most Canadians don’t know or care about all the above listed material. They don’t follow politics and they don’t have long memories. When elections roll around people vote, maybe, and when they do it’s for extremely thin reasons. The federal Conservative brand is still the best alternative to the Liberals and in the minds of most Canadians it’s the brand that is the most competitive.
Focusing on attacking the CPC will only further diminish an already failing Conservative Party of Canada in the minds of politically neutral voters.
Why is this a problem?
It’s a problem because the Conservative Party still functions as a bulwark against Trudeau and the circus of progressive clowns that are running the agenda in Ottawa. They are still the best of the worst mainstream parties available, and they are the best chance of holding Trudeau to a minority.
So, should we just vote for them?
No. Vote for a more strident option available. The Maverick Party and the People’s Party are still in the nascent stages of development. It will take some time and organization to gain traction.
In the meantime, let the Conservative Party die slowly as a sacrificial bulwark against progressive hegemony. Ideally, we’ll have another minority outcome which will keep politics at the forefront of the news cycles, demonstrate the CPC’s consistent inability to win and stifle any great ambitions of progressives like Trudeau. Meanwhile, burgeoning parties of the right can continue to build.
2. Don’t address vote splitting
The experience regarding vote-splitting in the 1990’s has definitely traumatized conservatives of a certain age across Canada. Nobody expected the Progressive Conservative Party to get single digit outcomes in 1993. The battle between Reform and the Progressive Conservatives lasted too long and allowed too many easy Liberal wins thereafter.
Now that the right has split once again, I’ve noticed a lot of energy and explanation regarding vote-splitting. The Maverick Party especially has devoted a lot of time and effort articulating their masterplan to avoid vote splitting while appealing to Conservative supporters. As a strategy for strip-mining the base away from the CPC it’s not bad, but during a general election these explanations need to stop.
The main reason to stop doing this is that it looks extremely weak. Worrying about an accidental Liberal or NDP win due to splitting votes with the CPC makes alternative parties look like junior protest partners of the CPC. It’s a convoluted and confusing strategy that will alienate normal average voters and, remember, the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Anyone who is a switched-on political junkie gets the whole “no vote-splitting” thing already, but the average voter still doesn’t even know what the Maverick Party is or that the People’s Party exists. These voters aren’t going to want to hear about some convoluted strategy about vote-splitting, they need simpler approaches.
3. Share a positive vision
The simplest approach with voters is to share a positive vision. When someone asks what the Maverick Party is about, don’t start talking about a triple E senate or equalization formulas. Stick to a positive message of “Standing up for the West” or “Promoting a fair deal for the West”.
Even the independence angle needs a backseat this time around. Too many voters see the independence angle as frightening and yahoo. When promoting the Maverick Party speak about “Standing Tall” and “Taking More Control Back From Ottawa”.
The People’s Party needs to stop talking about the corruption of the CPC and focus on promoting positive ideas that people can digest. Motherhood statements like “Freedom” and “Responsibility” are dead ends. The hardcore libertarians are already in the party,move past that angle and start a three-point populist sales pitch.
"The party has been shedding support, held together now only by a visceral loathing of Justin Trudeau."
The main goal this time around is to get in the game. Be positive and celebrate your ambitions. Offer simple platforms and friendly ambition. Promote high ideals but put some meat on the table. Give people a reason to care.
If these new conservative parties are going to just be disgruntled right-wingers stomping on their sour grapes, then nothing good will come from these endeavours. If they can ignore the Conservative Party, avoid the pedanticism of politics and offer a positive vision, then we could be looking at some serious growth when the dust settles after this election.
© 2021 Poletical