Sunday, October 20, 2019

Canada 2019 - Election Notes

With Canadians going to the polls tomorrow, I'll offer a few thoughts on what to watch for on election day and beyond in a campaign whose early stability seems to have given way to some late shifts. 

First, a minority Parliament seems likely. But of all the predictions and expectations which can go awry based on unexpected late-campaign movement, few are more precarious than the balancing act required to create a minority situation. And 2015 offers a recent precedent where a seemingly close race turned into an unexpected majority.

By the same token, the seat projections which have shown effective ties for first and third place based on median expectations shouldn't be seen to make those into particularly likely outcomes in any event. The end of the campaign matters in ways which won't have been caught by earlier polling, and the default expectation should be that they'll be off somewhat (even if we can only make the most educated guesses possible as to how, with Frank Graves for one already reporting that a Lib majority might be in sight).

Second, if a minority does result from the vote, the next crucial question will be which party or parties hold the balance of power - or which might instead be dismissed as unworthy of any say due to being just short of the mark. (See Paul Martin, 2004.)

There, the most important swing factor is one which has received relatively little attention in mainstream coverage, even if it seems to be the subject of plenty of individual-level interest.

The Bloc has undoubtedly regained strength in Quebec compared to the previous two election cycles, with some models hinting at prospects of winning half the province's seats or more. But the NDP has pushed its way upward in the polls at the end of the campaign as it challenges the Bloc directly for the support of progressive voters.

That matters in two key ways: a relatively small shift may be decisive in Quebec seats with multi-party splits (as can be seen from the sharp turns at the end of both the 2011 and 2015 campaigns), while also determining who emerges with the larger caucus and the balance of power in Parliament as a whole. And for voters who want to see the Libs forced to act on the national progressive promises they're again trumpeting on the campaign trail after neglecting them in office, it's crucial for the NDP to be in a position to set the terms of any governing arrangement.

Plenty of other battleground regions could also substantially change the balance of power with relatively subtle swings. And most importantly, a strategic vote against another neoliberal majority now looks to involve ensuring that other, more progressive parties get the upper hand on the Libs wherever possible.

But particularly given the lack of much organization on that front, it doesn't appear likely that any attempt to be strategic will overcome the two main forces in the campaign, being the NDP's surge and the Cons' collapse relative to the Libs. And so the main questions for tomorrow seems to be which of those factors will have a greater impact in electing MPs.

7 comments:

  1. L Mimas3:29 p.m.

    Since the last election I've learned enough technology that most democracy platforms seem minor. After Harper and after more immigration by family oriented people, the goal of most voters is too pay a mortgage or rent and not read instead. So the goals of leaders need evermore to read and live enough to preserve the planet. I heard a sliding response of MPs where the Liberals have an anti-AI platform, the CPC recognize the issue, the NDP will look into it, and the Greens think any technology that haphazardly exists will always exist. The Bloc position on taxing polluters is good if applied to taxing bad technologies. I've learned people who commute and live in cubicles shouldn't be powerful for the most part unless they are resilient: they ignore risks as well as don't address their need for self-approval. I've learned neuro-imaging should've been applied to industry, gvmt, and the military in the 1960s and vote-free Crowns created. I've learned complete dump files sent across quantum networks to secure analysis facilities might catch an AI that recognizes us as not metal or as us able to turn us off. Maybe cars hacked or a few robots hacked will end democracy and brave readers will head unelected Crowns. It is no longer about building a base, it is about learning known unknowns and unknown unknowns for yourself, maybe in a day. That is Q-of-L and should be facilitated.

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