An Anti-Harper, NDP Government
People around Canada are tired of hearing about Alberta. People in Alberta are tired of hearing about Alberta. Alberta has been the centre of most political discussions since the Alberta NDP won a majority. This new reality has dripped into conversations about the upcoming federal election, and it's making some pundits and strategists squirm – rightfully so. Alberta witnessed an unusual populist revolt against an old, tired government. A revolt that is unlikely to be repeated in the province for another fifty years. The next provincial election will have a much lower turnout, a lackluster campaign season and a slim margin of victory that will either see the NDP returned to power or the Wildrose make history. By 2019, Albertans will have forgotten the recipe that cooked up an uprising of casual and first-time voters. However, this same recipe could be mixing to produce a similar disaster on a national level in October.
Conservatives and their voters make up the majority of NDP naysayers, just like PC and Wildrose voters did in Alberta, despite what every reputable pollster was saying. They didn't think it was possible, but by the evening of May 5th, it was a reality. The same could happen nationally in October. Conservatives are convinced that left-wing vote splitting puts them in a powerful position, but this is only true if voter turnout doesn't increase in unison with a collapse in Liberal support.
Irrational Harper hatred has been brewing since 2011, unions have been drawing their battle plans and the NDP have been sharpening their blades since Jack Layton's death. Students, unionized public servants, minorities and low wage workers are being recruited and riled up by an organized left. Unfortunately, that left is made up of two federal parties and all of their unions and “non-profit/non-partisan” organizations. Both the Liberals and the NDP will be stoking the same fire. When voters are frothing at the mouth with anger, they'll be compelled to jump on the NDP bandwagon if polls say the party has a chance. This, combined with an overall increase in first-time and casual voters, could spell disaster for Conservatives.
For the entire left, this election will be about one thing: ending the Harper Government. Just as Alberta's election was about nothing else but ending the PC dynasty. To survive, Stephen Harper will have to infuse this election with some real substance.
All elections are about ending the reign of an incumbent government, but what sets this election apart from all the rest is the unprecedented disdain and contempt the left has built against Harper. Similar disdain grew against the entire Liberal Party following the Sponsorship Scandal, but what makes this election different is that the disdain is being dumped on one single leader. If you don't think that makes a difference, keep in mind that during the height of the Sponsorship Scandal in 2004, the Liberals still captured 37% of the popular vote. Harper didn't win his majority until 2011, following two attempts in 2006 and 2008. After the scandal, Harper's majority took seven years to materialize.
The Liberals eventually collapsed under the weight of scandal. If current polls are correct, they might never recover. To many voters, the Conservatives are in the same leaky, scandal plagued boat as the old Liberals. That leaves only one viable, untarnished party that hasn't fallen and flailed around in the mud.
What many voters don't know is that the NDP's ideology is inherently corrupt. It's this lack of information and willful ignorance that the NDP relies on to win elections. To most fresh-out-of-school rookie voters, the NDP is a breath of fresh air. To the rest of us, the party is a fart in the elevator. The NDP's socialism is built on high taxes, big spending and crippling debt. The rich, entitled elites like Mulcair and Rachel Notley are fine with taking six digit salaries while the poor peasants battle it out below them on a playing field of equality. Their ideology moralizes taxing entrepreneurs and anyone the elites deem “wealthy” – which is everyone who makes six digit salaries, except themselves, their friends and their fellow cronies. This is how socialism works and it's what the NDP's ideology is rooted in. The very things Albertans are against is what's considered natural and moral within NDP ranks.
Because of a massive and ignorant populist revolt, Alberta ended up with a government that opposes everything it means to be Albertan. The very things Alison Redford and Jim Prentice were criticized for are the same things considered normal for the NDP. Big spending, entitlement, debt and arrogance have been trademarks of every NDP government in Canada.
In 2012, over 1.2 million Albertans voted . In 2015, over 1.4 million Albertans voted. Voter turnout in 2012 was one of the highest in decades, but in 2015 it was even higher. This is evidence that casual and first-time voters turned out in droves to end the PC dynasty. Although only 40% of that turnout was for the NDP, those extra 200,000 votes were all it took to nudge the NDP into majority territory. Since both the Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives lost votes from 2012, it's fair to say that the 200,000 extra votes in 2015 went directly to the Alberta NDP.
It's important for strategists and pundits to focus less on popular vote percentages and more on raw vote numbers. If we subtract the extra 200,000 votes from the NDP's raw numbers, we get roughly 403,000. That's about 9,000 less votes than the Progressive Conservatives. Had the NDP not riled 200,000 angry, first-time and casual voters, it's likely that the Progressive Conservatives would have won a minority government in Alberta.
So what if we applied similar math to the federal election? First, we have to keep in mind that Stephen Harper's Conservatives only beat Jack Layton's NDP by approximately 1.3 million votes. In Alberta's 2015 election, the NDP's raw vote numbers grew by nearly 500% (by over 476,000) from 2012. Although it's unlikely that Thomas Mulcair's NDP will increase their raw votes by 500%, an increase of only 25% would be enough to nudge the federal NDP into minority territory. This 25% increase wouldn't have to bleed from other parties, it would only have to come from riled up casual voters. It would come from a popular uprising of voters who didn't vote in 2011, 2008, or 2006.
A 25% increase in raw NDP vote numbers from 2011 would give the NDP about 5.6 million votes in 2015. To keep par, the Conservatives would need to – at least – keep their 2011 numbers (5.8 million) in order to win a minority. To win a majority, the Conservatives would need to add to their 2011 numbers. At this point, based on current polling data, it seems unlikely that Conservatives would be able to increase their number of raw votes from 2011. Furthermore, an increase of 50% in raw NDP votes would put the NDP in majority territory, making the end of the Harper era inevitable. This, of course, is only true if the Conservatives and Liberals fail to increase their own numbers from 2011. If the Conservatives somehow fail to match their 2011 numbers while the Liberal vote collapses, the situation could be much worse.
Ending the Harper era is the only objective of Canada's left. Conservative strategists probably know this, but a lot of Conservative voters probably don't. The left's war is based solely on contempt, not good will. This has become evident on social media and by unions and their bosses, including Sid Ryan, who boasted about beating Tim Hudak in Ontario. The left doesn't care about Canada or its economic progress, they only care about beating Conservatives and Stephen Harper for the sake of beating Conservatives and Stephen Harper. Once conservative and moderate voters realize this, they'll be able to take better judgment to their polling stations in October. More importantly, they'll be compelled to show up on election day.