Monday, January 16, 2006

Vote Borrowing

If you're a disgruntled Liberal, Jack Layton wants your vote. Well no, not actually. He'd like to borrow it if you're not doing anything else with it right now:

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton put a new twist on attempts to siphon votes from his opponents Monday, begging disaffected Liberals to “lend” him their votes while their party “regenerates.

“Vote for us just this once, in this election, so there is a strong voice in the next Parliament that is standing up for the priorities progressive people believe in,” he said.

Layton added the Liberals will be “going into the repair shop for a while” to work out their ethical issues, and will thus be thinking about themselves and not voters' priorities.

This is the electoral strategy he should have adopted from day one. It would have dashed Liberal hopes of another ad hoc coalition and made it harder for them to scare soft NDP voters back in line with fears of a Conservative government. It would also have put the NDP in a stronger position to squeeze out the Liberals on the other side of a pincers movement, with the Conservatives pinching the Grits' right flank.

It would have also made him look less like the grubbing opportunist he was in the spring when he saved Paul Martin's bacon for a few billion dollars in pork.

But it may still work for Layton and the NDP. The Liberals left their attack ad campaign just a little too late. When the Tories were up by two or three points, the fear that their lead would grow might have frightened off soft NDP votes. A ten point lead is too great an obstacle for even fear to overcome.

And who knows? Left-leaning Grits who might be parking their votes for now might decide to leave them there, if the NDP looks like it has its act together, and the Liberals don't, a year or two down the road.

The NDP has been given a second chance to become the dominant voice of the left.

Let's see if they can capitalize on it.

Source: Global TV

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