Death of a political party: NDP and leadership.

Looking more closely at what is happening to the Ontario New Democrats you realize that the signs have been there all along. This is a party without the will to exist. It has lost impetus, direction, raison d’etre and is adrift without effective leadership. Maybe, as political apparatchiks, we see this first but it will be clear to all after the vote on June 12.

There was a television clip the other day of Leader Andrea Horwath trying to respond to a question about her leadership. She was challenged in an open letter from a group of long-time New Democratic Party supporters. These people were “deeply distressed by the current campaign.” Andrea Horwath publicly laughed and said that it shows how democratic the party can be.

Only a fool would laugh at long-time supporters such as Michele Landsberg and Judy Rebick. These people are deadly serious. They are threatening to take their vote from the New Democrats and they take many thousands of votes with them. They might relent but the damage has been done. Andrea Horwath is toast.

Mind you, Horwath is no loss. As the Pillsbury Dough girl of the campaign, she only provided a few laughs. Her running to the right of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals has been a wonder. We all expected her to refuse to support the Liberal Budget but it was her lack of effective response to it that left us confused. She seems to be running this campaign from notes in the back pocket of her jeans. There is no theme, coherency, or any attempt at effective communication.

When Horwath said that she was not supporting the Liberal provincial pension plan because there will be a federal election next year and a new government would fix the Canada Pension Plan, she astounded both Liberals and New Democrats. You wonder if she has that in writing from either Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau.

The only people left in a quandary by these events are the news media. They have to rely on the polling information and the pollsters have been running well behind what is happening. It is far too early to say what impact all this will have on the vote other than to acknowledge that the Liberal Party is heading for a majority. We can assess that better after the debates. Oddly enough the Northern Debate that is only between Andrea Horwath and Kathleen Wynne will take on more importance. Key will be how Wynne acts towards Horwath. The kinder Wynne is to her, the more votes the Liberals will be racking up.

Conversely, the nastier Horwath is towards Wynne in either of the debates, the lower the vote the New Democrats will get. This is why we love politics.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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