Is This The Weirdest Election Since 1993?
October 18th, 2019 | RR
I've heard pundits compare this 2019 election to one that happened almost thirty years ago. In 1993, the Bloc Quebecois became official opposition with only 54 seats and it looked like something that would normally happen in a system of proportional representation. There were only five relevant parties competing for government, but it looked like voters were more undecided than ever before. Canadians were all over the map and they had no idea what to do. It all ended with Jean Chretien's corrupt Liberals winning a majority following eight straight years of Progressive Conservative failure. It was off the heels of Brian Mulroney's pathetic excuse for a conservative government and it resulted in a conservative reset that would last a decade. Flash forward to 2019 and voters are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Justin Trudeau's corruption and arrogance have thrown the Canadian electorate into a tailspin, leaving voters confused, disillusioned and disoriented. As a result, 2019 is making 1993 look like a walk in the park.
Some have even suggested this will be a re-run of Pierre Trudeau's fight for a second term in 1972.
In 2019, we have six parties running to form government. We can argue about whether all of them are relevant or not, but three of them have a good chance of winning enough seats to offset or topple a Conservative minority. Of the six parties, four are left-wing and only two are right-wing. The other right-wing party is likely skimming much-needed votes from the Conservative Party, which could help prevent a Conservative majority. If you were to confront PPC voters about it, they would would say something along the lines of “I have principles” or “we aren't splitting votes, we're gathering votes”. Regardless of what they say, PPC supporters and Maxime Bernier are helping Justin Trudeau win his second term. The only question is: are they stupid, or are they fully aware of the consequences?
If your principles help re-elect Justin Trudeau, I don't want to have anything to do with them.
Judging from my own experience, I opt to conclude that PPC voters are ignorant about Canada's electoral system, too naive to understand that Canada is inherently liberal and too stubborn to absorb facts when those facts challenge their own, predisposed version of reality. You can call that stupid, or you can call it ignorant. I'll let you make the call.
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"Regardless of what they say, PPC supporters and Maxime Bernier are helping Justin Trudeau win."
Canada can only have one successful conservative party. I didn't make those rules and I wish they were different, but trying to explain this to loyal PPC voters is like trying to explain political science to a poodle. To every die-hard PPC voter, there is a belief that Bernier's PPC will win enough seats to either prop up Conservatives or win a majority. Unfortunately, neither scenario is anywhere close to reality. This makes PPC voters blissfully unaware of what's coming their way on October 21.
But, enough about that. Let's talk about how weird this election is and what the outcomes and consequences might be on October 22.
You'd be hard pressed to find a poll from any major pollster that shows Andrew Scheer's Conservatives polling above 33%. Given that these same polls show Maxime Bernier's PPC only polling between 2-3%, we have to wonder how the CPC has failed to move upwards from their 2015 results.
In 2011, Harper scored nearly six million votes and scooped up 39% of the electorate. In 2015, he only lost about 200,000 votes and scored 32%. Trudeau's numbers reached 39% only because turnout soared by 9% from 2011 and those new numbers helped change the equation. 2019 will be much different and there is a low likelihood that Trudeau will come anywhere close to 6.9 million votes. So, what does that mean for Conservative voters?
If current polls are accurate, Conservatives are stuck at their 2015 numbers. If turnout sinks and they come in at 33% on election night, that would mean they have lost even more numbers and are below the support they received in 2015. If this is true, we can probably blame Maxime Bernier, the PPC and the party's clueless and stubborn “principled” voters.
There is also a good possibility that Conservative voters will come out of the woodwork like they did in 2008 and 2011. Even in 2015, two major pollsters (Nanos and Forum) under-estimated Conservative Party numbers. Both pollsters had the Tories at 30%, but on election night they came in at 32%.
In 2011, Nanos, Forum, EKOS, Harris-Decima and Abacus all under-estimated Conservative support just days before the election. Of the five pollsters, Nanos came in the highest at 37% on the eve of the election that saw Harper rake in 39% and a majority government. The night before the election, pundits and media were predicting a minority Conservative government because of what pollsters were saying.
We all know how that turned out.
Fast forward to 2019 and we're hearing pundits declare that this will—for sure—end in either a Liberal or Conservative minority. Based on how pollsters have consistently failed to accurately gauge Conservative support over the past few elections, we should be skeptical.
A Liberal Minority
If we wake up to a Liberal minority on October 22, expect it to be propped up by the NDP. At this point, we can safely forget about the Green Party—they won't matter again. Jagmeet Singh has made his dislike of Conservatives clear in the past few days leading up to the election, so don't expect a repeat of 2006 and 2008. As for Elizabeth May, her numbers are stuck and a Green surge is looking less likely by the day. Potential Green support is either shifting to the NDP or to the Liberals and it's being driven by fear of a Conservative government.
I've been consistent in repeating my prediction that Liberals will either win a majority or a minority, with Conservatives only being capable of winning 145 seats. Doing the math and spending days looking at past numbers, I don't see a realistic scenario in which Conservatives win more than 145 seats—however, in a situation like this, I look forward to being proven wrong.
If Conservatives can't win at least 138 seats, Andrew Scheer has failed. There are 138 ridings that Conservatives should be able to win in the face of Liberal corruption, scandals and Trudeau's poor polling numbers. If they can't win all 138 of them, Andrew Scheer will need to resign. If they win 145, Scheer will stay on and hope for a no-confidence vote if he is faced with a Liberal minority. With 145 seats, Conservatives will be in a good position to take a majority in the next election.
If faced with a Liberal minority, Andrew Scheer needs 138 seats (a bare minimum). If he fails to achieve this, expect a leadership challenge or a resignation.
A Conservative Minority
A lot of Conservative voters view this as a good outcome, but it's not. I go over this here. In the event of a Conservative minority, media, activists and left-wing voters will go ballistic. A groundswell of support for a left-wing coalition will grow quickly and Andrew Scheer will be out before he even gets a chance to move into the PMO.
A Conservative minority would be about as useful as a Liberal minority.
A Conservative Majority
It would be a shock, but in an election this weird and unpredictable, who knows. A Conservative majority would require 170 seats and no polls or models currently show that it's possible. My own calculations show the Conservatives only capable of winning 145 seats, minus a complete Liberal collapse. If Liberals do collapse, the Conservatives have the NDP to contend with in BC and the Bloc in Quebec, limiting their potential to scoop up more than 145 seats nationally.
To win a majority, Conservatives would need a healthy sweep of Atlantic Canada and—at least—half the seats in Ontario. Election night will start with Atlantic Canada and slowly move West toward Quebec and Ontario, but if Conservatives haven't scooped up at least 100 seats by the time polls start counting in Saskatchewan, there won't be a Conservative majority.
Once the vote counting hits Alberta, Conservatives will see a jump in their seat count, but it likely wouldn't be enough to count for anything. BC will be a make-or-break province if it's an extremely close race, but unless Conservatives are in majority territory, it won't matter. A Conservative minority is as good as a Liberal minority.
On October 21, Conservatives need to make some choices.
If you're looking to beat Justin Trudeau, you'll need to vote Conservative. A vote for the PPC or any other party won't cut it. In a race this unpredictable, every riding will count and every vote will matter. If polls are accurate and this is truly a dead heat between Liberals and Conservatives, we can't afford to sit this election out. We can prove the pollsters wrong and we can make this Liberal government a regretful piece of our country's history, but it will take some effort.
On Monday, let's make this Justin Trudeau's last election.
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