Musings —08.31.2015 08:39 AM—
- It’s the last day of August…and survey says the electorate don’t really want anyone to be government.
- Check out that Abacus slide – all three parties are within three points of each other!
- What’s that mean? That means the New Democrats have suffered an (inevitable) drop, the Conservatives and Liberals have benefitted (a little bit). And it means that no one has (yet) captured the support of a plurality of voters. Perpetual minority government, here we come!
- The economy is the issue, as seen here and here. The CBC’s Don Pittis has a smart analysis, here. It’s logical, Watson: if (a) none of the parties is generating enough enthusiasm to break out of the pack and (b) voters believe the economy is the issue, then (c) that means none of the parties has crafted a winning narrative on the economy yet.
- What is a winning narrative? Well, for starters, coming up with one is always easier to say than to do. Ask God, a.k.a. James Carville. In 2010, in similar circumstances – coming out of a recession, some sectors/demographics still hurting badly – Carville said this: “The hardest thing to do in all of political communication is deal with a bad, but somewhat improving, economy.” Often, Carville (and others) note, it isn’t about coming up with “the Holy Grail” of economic plans in a confusing communications environment. If such a quick fix existed, it would have been implemented long ago.
- No, what we have here is a failure to communicate. “You don’t have to change anything, just repackage it as a plan,” Carville advised President Obama back in 2010. Voters are smart: they know that – for the big-ticket problems, and particularly the economic ones – the problems are myriad, and the range of solutions are myriad-er. Ipso facto, Keep It Simple Stupid: keep talking, over and over, about two or three easy-to-understand ideas about making the economy better. Harper did that in 2006, 2008 and 2011. I don’t really see him doing it in 2015.
- People look at the economy through the prism of three things. To wit: jobs, spending and the well-being of their families. To put together a winning economic story (because facts tell, but stories sell), you need to show folks how you will protect the jobs they’ve got, and how you’ll grow new ones. You need to help them find a bit of extra cash to spend on something they think they need or want. And you need to make them feel – make them know – that you can achieve all of that stuff without jeopardizing their future, or their kids’ immediate future.
- Has any of the parties done that? Nope, not from what I can see from my armchair. Thus, their current predicament. None of them has a winning narrative on the economy. And – not surprisingly – none of them is therefore winning.