Sunday, May 8, 2011
The New Winning Campaign Strategy: Don't
Since the election, the media has focused their attention on the NDP 'paper candidates'. They did none of the work required to win an election, but won anyway.
"Undemocratic", "unfair" "unheard of".
And of course they have been following Ruth Ellen Brosseau around (or at least trying to) like she's Paris Hilton. She gave her first interview yesterday and we learn that she has yet to even visit the riding she represents.
Shocking but not life threatening.
I think Jack Layton will have more trouble with those MPs supporting separatism. Pundits are suggesting that he takes a page from Harper's handbook and put muzzles on them all. I hope he doesn't.
However, as we question whether or not some of his newbies deserve the job, we are forgetting something.
What about the Conservative campaign?
Across the country the stories were the same. They were no-shows. They attended no debates or all candidates meetings, and avoided the press. The only glimpse of many was their faces on signs or pamphlets.
Campaigns were directed from afar, and mostly by telephone. In Kingston Ontario, calls for our local candidate, came from as far away as Miramachi, New Brunswick.
I received one where I was asked if I would support Stephen Harper and a person I'd never heard of. When I asked the caller who that was, she sarcastically informed me that he was my local Conservative candidate. Once I got through to her that he did not represent my riding, I heard a rustle of papers and then she started running down a list of names.
After a bit more of this foolishness, I stopped her and said, "look, I'll save you the trouble. My local Conservative candidate is Alicia Gordon and I wouldn't vote for her or Stephen Harper, unless I was very drunk and had taken leave of my senses."
She slammed down the phone. I smiled.
Several NDP prospects never expected to win, so did none of the work. Many Conservatives did none of the work, but expected to win and did.
As everyone is weighing in on what happened to the Liberals this time around, a common critique, especially of high-profile incumbents, is that they didn't spend enough time at home, instead lending support to rookies. Really? Is that your final answer?
Maybe this will become the new norm for successful electioneering. Hide. No one can accuse you of not spending enough time in your community, if you don't show up at all.
Of course, with Stephen Harper and a majority government, there will be no need to even show up in Parliament.
And this my friends is what passes for democracy in Canada in 2011.