Monday, November 02, 2020

On uninspired choices

Following up on this post about Regina's city council elections, the range of possible outcomes in the race for mayor looks far more limited.

Once again, Jim Elliott is on the ballot as the candidate with the strongest policies on paper. But it's hard to hold out much hope for a perennial candidate who's been unable to break 12% of the vote even as the primary challenger - which means that it would be nice to be able to cast a ballot with more chance of meaningfully affecting the result.

On that front, there are two lines of reasoning worth considering.

First, there's the theory that it may be worth casting an anybody-but-Flegel ballot. On name recognition and resources, Jerry Flegel may have a fighting chance of winning - and on policy, it's hard to imagine a worse outcome than endorsing a plan to throw new money at arenas, stadiums and police alongside an implicit expectation of austerity for everything else.

That said, we also need to consider who would stand to benefit from such a campaign. 

Incumbent Michael Fougere is making a few less preposterous promises, and has learned to speak a language that appeals to a relatively wide cross-section of voters. But when it comes time to make any decision, he's regularly shown both a willingness to accede to the wishes of the Saskatchewan Party, and a preference for symbolism over action.

That leaves one other plausible contender for a vote: Sandra Masters, who obviously has Fougere's attention as the main target of his campaign attacks.

On paper, she'd bring a strong resume to the table. In practice, she's been far too willing to resort to anti-tax and austerian language which seems to contradict an otherwise reasonable set of plans and priorities. 

As a result, the choice looks to come down to an evaluation of whether Masters will offer a meaningfully better option than the other candidates with a path to victory in listening if the best happens in the Council votes, and offering any resistance if the worst materializes. And while the difference looks to be incremental rather than polar on both fronts, it still looks to be worth voting for the prospect of something better.

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