Sunday, October 18, 2015

#elxn42 Campaign Closer: Liberals

Finally, let's look at the Libs' campaign as tomorrow's election day approaches.

In case there was any doubt, the Libs' main challenge was to try to cast Justin Trudeau as being "ready" in response to the Cons' saturation ad campaigns. And while Trudeau likely benefited from the lowered expectations created by that very campaign, he at least met the standard of seeming to belong on stage with his fellow federal leaders.

But the most important factor for the Libs is that they really haven't had to answer much more than that single challenge. As a result, they've been free to snipe away at the other parties - and particular to spend most of the campaign trying to chip away at the NDP.

That hasn't done much to damage most people's underlying views of the NDP or its leader. But did just enough to push the Libs ahead by a nose at a time when that shift made for an appealing narrative for the media. And unlike in the past few election cycles, the Libs have been able to make arguments around strategic voting and campaign momentum work for them as the campaign has worn on.

Nor have the Libs' criticisms been particularly plausible - focusing as they have on messages which are readily disproven with the slightest look at what outside parties are saying. And indeed, a campaign which has mostly only had to make its leader look halfway competent has been able to skate by without developing much at all by way of policy.

Which brings us to the ultimate irony. The once-overwrought Con talking point which sought and failed to define Justin Trudeau would actually represent a meaningful progressive critique of the Libs' platform: their plans for most major issues are better classified as "not ready", rather than being fit for a potential government.

But while that point is worth keeping in mind for anybody still deciding between opposition options, it only figures to reach so far without any other party having spread the message systematically. And the result is that the Libs have the opportunity to form government and make significant gains at the expense of every other party - only to have to figure out after the election what it is that they actually intend to accomplish in the process.

1 comment:

  1. Part of the problem here is that the main party interested in spreading that point, the Conservatives, would do almost anything rather than flesh the criticism out. What are they supposed to do, counterpoint his somewhat fluffy policies with their actively malignant ones?