Musings —07.30.2015 09:56 AM—
So, you’ve all seen this. Who wins and who loses, in an eleven week campaign?
- CBC: They have started to edge away from yesterday’s bombshell – ie, “THE ELECTION WILL BE CALLED THIS SUNDAY” – but they are still on the hook in the estimation of many. If they got it right, they’ll have a bragging rights about a major, major scoop. If they got it wrong, they’ll be hearing about it for a long, long time. After the Ghomeshi/Lang/Murphy/Mansbridge/Solomon stuff, they can’t afford another huge mistake.
- Third Party Advertisers: Whether they are on the Right or the Left, they’ve all got impressive war chests and things they want to say. Their ability to say those things will be dramatically reduced by a dramatically-longer writ period: the spending limits in the Act are designed to prevent the very sort of advertising they want to do. If the campaign kicks off sooner than later, these third-party PAC-style outfits are a big loser.
- Liberals: They have way less money than the Conservatives. A writ period of 70+ days is not what they were expecting, and it means they won’t be able to do as much paid as they had hoped. It hurts them. That said, Justin Trudeau – despite his various now-well-document faults – is a Hell of a retail campaigner. A longer writ gives him the ability to connect with more voters, more often, and possibly turn around his party’s downward descent in the polls.
- New Democrats: They, too, have less dough than the Tories. They, too, will effectively go bankrupt at some point during the campaign. Do they stop advertising at the start of the writ? At the end? In the middle? Not an easy choice. That aside, Angry Tom has turned out to be better at retail than many of us expected – cf., Tom feeding goats, Tom doing the weather, Tom smiling so much his face must hurt, etc. Maybe a longer writ helps him, too. (A caveat: past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour. Inevitably, if you give him enough opportunity, Angry Tom always gets Angry. A longer writ period creates more opportunity for that to happen.)
- Conservatives: For Stephen Harper, the two-month-long writ is a gift. It crushes the campaigns of those pesky trade union advertisers, and it seriously squeezes the yarbles of Messrs. Mulcair and Trudeau. But – and this is a big but – the 2015 campaign is really just a great big referendum on Stephen Harper. Is giving people more opportunity to think, over and over, about how Harper has been there a decade a really good idea? I’m not so sure. He has gotten a bit more popular, lately, but he’s done that by staying out of the papers. Is being back in the media, every day for more than two months, in any way advisable? Again, there’s a sizeable risk there.
- Canadians: Folks who love democracy, you win! You are about to get truckloads of it, right on your front lawn, for week after week! Folks who hate politicians, you lose! You’re about to hear from more politicians, more often, than ever before!
Election fatigue, here we come!