Sunday, January 17, 2016

On timing

Following up on the subject of the federal NDP's leadership, I'll note that the Edmonton convention won't figure to be the only one before the next federal election - and that there might be a case to hold off for now.

The NDP's constitution provides for conventions not less than every other calendar year, meaning that another one should take place well in advance of the 2019 election. And there are factors mostly beyond the NDP's control which may influence any question as to who is best suited to lead the party.

In particular, there's likely some truth to the theory that a different electoral system might produce different incentives for political parties in general. And Mulcair may be a textbook example of a leader better suited to some systems than to others for members primarily concerned with electoral viability.

Mulcair's broad acceptability is a particularly strong asset under first-past-the-post or alternative voting systems, particularly if his relative fortune compared to Justin Trudeau gets reversed again. But in a more proportional system, somebody with a stronger personal connection to issue-based organizing might be better suited to take on the leadership role.

And there are plenty of other risk/reward considerations involved in holding a leadership race sooner rather than later. Even if one assumes a leadership race will happen at some point, the value of building a new leader's personal brand over a longer period of time can be weighed against the advantage of knowing who other parties (notably the Cons) will be putting forward before making any final decisions.

I won't presume to wade through all of the considerations which might affect a party decision as to who ought to lead it. But I do think it's safe to say there might be something to be gained by gathering more information before making any irreversible choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment