Election thoughts

Well, the writ was dropped a few days ago.  I am going to try write regularly about the election and related political issues through the course of the campaign.  Here are some of the things on my mind; I’ll write extensively on these topics over the next few weeks:

  1. Duverger’s Law in Action:  As I see it, the Liberals are in tough.  They look every part a third-place party in an increasingly two-party system.  I have not looked at the Vote Compass yet, but my sense is that the decline of Quebec separatism has meant that we are operating in a mainly unidimensional political system.  That plus FPTP means big trouble for the Liberals.  I doubt they have either the leader or the $ to withstand the force of the electoral system.
  2. Money and the length of the campaign:  There were several editorials expressing outrage that Harper called the election so as to drag out the campaign. This is widely seen as a ploy to maximize the Conservatives’ financial advantage over their rivals.  Firstly, I am shocked – shocked and dismayed, I tell you – that a sitting PM would sink to such manipulation…. I mean, it’s almost like he’s trying to win the election, and no, no Canadian PM before Harper has ever done anything remotely self-interested; they were all practically saints (especially the Liberal ones) before that Nixonian charlatan stole the premiership from that nice Mr. Martin.  Secondly, and more seriously, I think its worth exploring i) what political science tells us about the impact of campaign spending on election outcomes, and ii) exactly how the Tories have altered campaign finance rules in the last few years. That may be a bit dry – but it’s important – and the regular press won’t do it… they are too busy being shocked and outraged by Harper.
  3. The parties’ records:  I find it interesting to think about how the parties have and are trying to position themselves.  What’s Harper’s record left him with?  Is the Liberals’ decision to support C-51 going to dog them? What about the Liberals’ choice to run to the left of the NDP? How many times can Mulcair say that the NDP will not soak the rich under his watch before the rank and file spit the dummy? I’ll try be dispassionate…but frankly with this crew it’s very difficult not to slide into despair and cynicism.

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