Erin O'Toole Offers Us A Bleak Future
October 3rd, 2021 | RR
Erin O'Toole lost votes and seats. After winning twenty seats and earning the highest total votes compared to any Conservative since Brian Mulroney, Andrew Scheer was pushed to resign. How Erin O'Toole thinks he can remain as leader is beyond logic, but the Conservative Party will try to keep him.They'll say that another leadership race would be unhealthy and that it's better to give the electorate time to get to know Erin. It all sounds great, if you're a typically dumb Conservative strategist.
The problem with letting Erin stick around, so more Canadians can get to know him, is that it hasn't worked very often for other losing parties. O'Toole had more than a year to get his message out and to butter up the electorate before Trudeau called his selfish election. He did a decent job in the beginning and put himself in a winning position, but then he flip-flopped on gun rights, vaccine passports and healthcare. Every time the media and Liberals pounced, O'Toole got scared and pivoted when the ground got hot.
We should have known what type of leader O'Toole would be when he fired Derek Sloan because of something that was published on a website run by the Broadbent Institute.
O'Toole's changing positions gave conservatives whiplash and Liberals ammunition. Trudeau had an easy job that involved attacking O'Toole, convincing him to backtrack and then claiming victory by calling O'Toole a disingenuous liar—which he is. There was no greater evidence for O'Toole's desire to be a liberal than the 2021 election campaign.
Every time someone in media accused O'Toole of being too conservative, he changed his position.
The Conservative Party platform became as meaningful as toilet paper under O'Toole's leadership. By the time the campaign was over, there was nothing conservative left in Erin O'Toole's platform. The party's promise to un-ban certain guns, to support private healthcare options and to allow citizens to choose whether to get vaccinated became meaningless words written on a napkin. By the end of it, O'Toole had flip-flopped and backtracked on all of his most conservative promises.
Worse yet was O'Toole's shameless pandering to Quebec.
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O'Toole's two-faced pandering got so bad that the Bloc leader called him out after the French debate. “I'm almost impatient to see it, is Mr. O'Toole repeating some of the things he said tonight in English in a few days,” Blanchet said. He was referring to O'Toole saying things in French to Quebec audiences that he would be reluctant to tell Canadians, in English, at the English debate.
Blanchet made the same dig again, briefly, during the English debate.
It turns out, most Quebeckers saw through O'Toole's pathetic salesman schtick. His pitch to win more seats in Quebec amounted to nothing, leaving him with the same number of seats in the province as his predecessor, Andrew Scheer. O'Toole worked hard to tell Quebec one thing and the Western provinces another, only to cause conservatives to lose trust in him. All so he could win ten seats.
In the rest of Canada, he fared no better.
O'Toole only has one thing left to bank on in the next federal election and it's the hope that normal voters and conservatives vote for him out of pure hatred for Trudeau. It could have happened this time, when O'Toole was polling at 36% in August, but he blew it by purging the remaining conservative policies he had left. It will be his only shot again in 2023 or 2024. Grassroots conservatives aren't likely to come back, unless they see that he has a chance to beat Trudeau.
Imagine being such a bad Conservative leader that you have to bank on your Liberal opponent being worse than you in order to inspire grassroots conservatives to vote for you.
Had O'Toole not burned bridges among so many conservatives, he could have banked on their wholehearted support. Through thick and thin, they would have stuck by him like they did with Stephen Harper in 2011. Now, instead, they've gone elsewhere and will only come back—maybe—if they see a good chance to end Trudeau.
This time, many grassroots conservatives didn't bother to vote. Some of the ones who did voted PPC, while others held their noses and voted for O'Toole just to beat Trudeau. The numbers and the enthusiasm weren't anywhere near where they were for Conservatives in 2019. Had they been, O'Toole probably could have won a majority.
This was another wasted opportunity for the Conservative Party.
We should expect the party to waste even more opportunities in the years to come. The brass will try to keep O'Toole in power, while the same old strategists plot out the same old paths they plotted in 2015, 2019 and 2021. You know, the same paths that led the party to defeat against a drama teacher. Don't count on anyone getting fired, or on anyone forcing O'Toole to resign. Conservatives are going to keep pushing left in the hopes that Trudeau fails even harder.
I mean, it is destined to work eventually. One day, Trudeau will overstay his welcome with ordinary Canadians and if O'Toole moves far enough left, the Conservatives will win a majority as a temporary alternative—until Liberals replace Trudeau with Mark Carney. In such a case, we'll see another one-term Conservative majority under a leader that is softer and more liberal than Brian Mulroney. Once Liberals take back their majority, maybe in 2027, the Conservative Party will again be left in despair and ruin. Like in 1993, they won't have any real conservatives left to pick up the pieces.
Permanent Opposition From The Grassroots
As long as O'Toole is leader, the Conservative Party will face permanent opposition from grassroots conservative groups across the country. Every forthcoming election for O'Toole will be marred by vocal opposition from groups like Rebel Media, the PPC, and various grassroots activists. We here at Poletical have no intention of giving him a free pass either.
Until the Conservative Party elects a leader that small C conservatives can trust and look up to, the party will face aggressive opposition from the people it was supposed to represent.
Under O'Toole's leadership, the Conservative Party will have no other choice but to veer further left in order to pick up votes. With the exception of Trudeau failing badly within the next two years, conservatives will not continue to naturally vote for the party as they have in previous elections. The days that guaranteed support from grassroots conservatives are over. Under Erin O'Toole, they won't ever be back.
It's very possible that Erin O'Toole could win the next election. By default, under Trudeau's horrific leadership, it should be easy to do. However, he won't do it with the help of a majority of grassroots conservatives. If O'Toole wins, it will be because most Liberals stayed home and because some voted Conservative merely out of protest. A fraction of grassroots conservatives might help him out, but only out of desperation to oust Trudeau.
"The Conservative Party platform became as meaningful as toilet paper under O'Toole's leadership."
Once in office, O'Toole would take fire from all sides.
His government would be barraged from the right and left. This pandemic and the restrictions in many provinces have turned grassroots conservatives against the provincial governments of Jason Kenney and Doug Ford—so we would see much of the same in O'Toole's situation. Ordinary conservatives have learned lessons from this pandemic. The tried and tested strategies of provincial conservative parties won't work anymore, because a new breed of conservative has emerged.
An O'Toole government wouldn't last more than one term.
Without the full backing of a majority of grassroots conservatives, not a single conservative government in Canada stands a chance. Without grassroots conservatives, a federal Conservative government would have to veer far enough left to build loyalty among ex-Liberal voters. Without liberals and traditional Liberal voters, an O'Toole government would be eaten alive by activists on both the right and left. An O'Toole government would have to go full left to stay in power, or find a way to win back the trust of conservatives.
Both scenarios seem unlikely.
If the Liberal Party crowns Mark Carney, or someone of an equal calibre and stature, O'Toole's government would be over immediately. The next election would just be a symbolic gesture to bring about an inevitable outcome. By then, it would be too late for O'Toole to extend an olive branch to the conservatives he abandoned and outright dismissed as a part of his failed strategy in 2021.
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