Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wildrose Lost?

Ouch, very few saw that one coming. Given that Wildrose was leading in the polls for most of the campaign, one of two things must be true; either there was a last minute swing in support, or the polling during the campaign was completely inaccurate. Wildrose won zero seats in the previous election, so a jump to 20 should be considered a strong step forward; had it not been for repeated lofty expectations of a Wildrose victory. If the polling was accurate, then what officially knocked the train off the tracks? There were some comments by individual candidates which created significant amounts of negative press. Was it simply a case that in a pinch, people will tend to go with the devil they know rather than the one they don't? Can we find a way to blame this on the unions?

As a non-Albertan, I can't speak about the mood on the street; but I am trying to figure out what happened. I'd still rather live under Allison Redford than Dalton McGuinty, so in that sense Alberta, it could be worse (aka living in Ontario).


  1. As an Albertan who voted strategically for the PC simply because the Wildrose party was polling so well, don't dismiss that us lefties (yes, we do exist in Alberta, though we rarely mention this in public out of a sense of self-preservation) flocked in droves to the PC's in the polls. Make no mistake, Alison Redford didn't win the election, Smith lost it for herself.

    I can't say I'm a big fan of Redford and I think she's made some mistakes. But the more people heard from certain WildRose candidates, the more we realized that they weren't a responsible libertarian alternative, but rather a suspect bunch of bigots, racists and homophobes. Yes I know that last line was an exaggeration, and many people who supported the party are anything but those hateful terms, but I use it as a point because this was what many 'undecided' people started believing.

    But what really makes me shake my head is that Smith said afterwards she 'wouldn't have changed anything, that she did all she could to get the most votes'. Seriously Danielle? You believe that? Because if she had come down HARD of those members of her party that kept putting their feet in their mouths, I really believe the fear that her party was too much 'Wild' may have been significantly reduced, and we could be talking about a different outcome right now.

    1. I for one am happy to hear DS say "she wouldn't have changed anything". She ran a good campaign, was COMPLETELY honest with the voters (a true rarity in politics today), had the balls to stand up to the climate change evangelists, and I just like what she stands for. A pretty impressive showing for a first-time run by any stretch. This woman will be a premier yet...

    2. Beating up a Pastor for reading scriptures from the Bible is a 'progressive' thing,
      and I am proud of Danielle standing up for a citizens right to freedom of religion.

      Even with 16% of the Liberal vote collapsing into the PC camp (likely gone to the PCs never to return), REDford still lost 8% of the popular vote, Wildrose gained 28%.

      The 'united left' will not sit well with the real Conservative MLAs still flying the PC banner.

  2. It's too bad that the turnout was, again, so low. Maybe 50%. It seemed like people were engaged.

  3. Smith had a weak slate. In the end nobody wanted to trust her wi government.

  4. I agree with the above poster. What's worse is that 50% or a bit above is considered quite good, compared to recent history. :(

  5. http://www.leducrep.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3533142

  6. Harper. Alone again, naturally. How discouraging that Albertans got spooked at the last minute. But I guess I can't say spook or the Human Rights Commission will get me. No white person can ever say anything again about being a white person.

    And you fell for high-speed trains which only engineering firms and consultants love.

    Alberta you were our inspiration and you have drunk the koolaid.

  7. Media played a huge role in this loss. Their focus on silly comments as being more important than actual issues changed the focus.

    I cannot understand how people can believe it when they are told that one man's personal beliefs or an off the cuff comment are the hidden agenda of the government. To me, it says that people are not thinking critically.

    I am disgusted by the 50% turnout. That made the difference. The unions were motivated to keep the status quo. Obviously half of Alberta wasn't.

  8. It seems Albertans prefer their loons on the lake rather than in government. The Reform Party didn't become a serious player until it divested itself of the worst and most obvious wingnuts. The WLP will have to learn that lesson if it wants a shot at power.

  9. You people don't understand.

    The pollsters lie about the polls and were telling you dummies in Alberta that the Wildrose was going to win a majority.

    This was done on purpose to drive the PC vote.

    By telling Albertan loons that the Wildrose was going to win, it brought out the PC loons in large numbers.

    People in Canada are about as intelligent as the system of government they get to enjoy.

  10. How can going from 0 elected in 2008 to Official Opposition in 2012 be considered a LOSS??

    There is nothing new in the media to push hard for the 'progressives',
    and the progressives to use fear and smear with the help of the media.

    PCs have a 41 year old machine with huge bank accounts and organization at the riding level.

  11. Well, congratulations to the PCs for running a very effective campaign. They succeeded to turning the election into a referendum on just 2 WRP candidates. The fact that they were unable to find any dirt on the other 85 got lost in the cloud of dust they raised

    Having said that, it can be fairly said that they won't be able to achieve the same effect next time. In fact I believe that WRP is in a good position for 2016 with the rightmost 35% of the 2012 vote. Given that this level of support was for WRP as a relatively unknown party in the face of a fear campaign I think it is safe to consider this bloc of voters as WRP's irreducible minimum.

    Every other electoral scenario than yesterday's is upside from there, provided Danielle is able to maintain caucus discipline and provide an effective opposition in the next 4 years. If WRP picks up just 5% from the PCs next time around, it will be in contention for government.

    This presents the PCs with a dilemma: either move right to smother WRP (and lose the borrowed Liberal/NDP vote) or move leftward to claim permanent ownership of the soft left and further expose its right flank to WRP nibbling. Given the bridges burned between PC and WRP, I don't believe that PC is likely to recover much of the WRP base and as the fear factor recedes it may lose more of the conservative vote it still has. So my guess is that Redford will follow her heart and move the PC party further left.

    The trouble with this is that there is not much left to gain on the party's left. What remains is hard Liberal/NDP support. If the 2012 Liberal/NDP voters did not migrate to the PC in the fraught atmosphere of this election, it is unlikely that they will do so in the future. Again, as the WRP fear factor recedes with familiarity, the PC may lose some of the soft left vote it got this time around.

    To sum up: the 2012 election returns represent a best case for PC support in its new positioning, while the same returns establish a minimum for the WRP. Danielle Smith is absolutely right: while last night's results were disappointing, they should not be seen as discouraging by WRP supporters.

  12. The reason The Wildrose Party lost is not because we believed they would legislate on moral issues. They lost because people realized that racism and homophobia, while not part of the parties platform, shows that this party is so far to the right that inevitably these horrid beliefs would seep into their policies. The fact that anyone in this decade can make absolutely disgusting remarks like some of the candidates did just shows how terrifying a Wildrose gov't would be. Stupidity and ignorance will never win an election, even if your platform is sound. It just goes to show that Alberta has told Danielle Smith something with this outcome. "We will not be swayed by parties adhering to hateful beliefs that should not exist in this day and age".

  13. I agree with everything Ryan said. I will add that the Wildrose Party sent more people to the polls in my rural community than I have seen in nearly fifty years. There was a steady stream into the polling station. They were all voting Wildrose (they even shouted "Go, Wildrose!" as they were leaving, so I'm not just guessing). Why? Because this sleepy little town is full of racist, sexist, homophobic and uber religious nutjobs who felt the party was definitely singing their kind of tune! As the campaigned progressed, they got more and more vocal...not bothering to hide their prejudices anymore. They thought they were going to win and that ALL Albertans were ignorant pricks just like them. There was safety in numbers, and boy..did they EVER rant. There are a lot of angry/shamefaced people around town today. I can barely contain my glee.
    I hate where I live, but it's home... whatchagonnado?

  14. Seeing Danielle Smith put aside her own personal views to defend religious freedom, in front of a CBC reporter, was the proudest moment in my engagement with Canadian politics. Well done Danielle Smith. Those of us who are Christians respect and honour you for standing up for our freedoms. We have been seeing our beliefs and our religious liberties attacked, demonized, and mocked by the media and political elite since the Trudeau years, but we'll remember you as the lady that stood up and said no!

    1. It's not a matter of defending religious freedoms. Religious freedom would be saying "i am a opposed to homosexuality because that is what god told me". Telling people that gays will burn in a lake of fire is hate speech. There is a big difference. I am sure everyone, including the PC's, Liberal's, NDP's etc are for freedom of religion. I know as a liberal person that I certainly am. But when you use that religion to spawn hate and fear in others, then you deserve to be shunned and demonized by the public.

    2. Respect is EARNED. If you use your faith to belittle and bully an entire segment of the human population (this goes for all religions, not just Christianity), you deserve to be demonized and mocked.

    3. That's the problem. The far right wing religious movement believes it is ok to demonize and attack those who are for abortion, gay rights etc. but then get upset when they feel their religious beliefs (whichever religion it might be) are frowned upon in the media or by the public.

  15. Stephen Harper played the abortion and gay rights issues perfectly,and got the majority he sought.

    The Leader of any political Party should remember how he did it,and do the same.

    Danielle Smith should have been interviewing candidates to seek out this kind of extremism,and quietly replace him with someone more discrete.

    It's noble to expound on your religious beliefs when running for Office in Canada, but it's also wise to consider that you will almost certainly be noble and unelected.

    We live in an age of compromise,and those that don't accept that premise will be on the outside looking in. It's the nature of the game.

  16. So dmorris, the age of moral relativism is in full bloom. We can then expect continued justified corruption and pigs in the trough -type government. We can also continue to expect that politicians will continue to say anything in order to continue to stay in power, with no hope that they will actually follow through on promises or commitments which actually benefit Canadians. How sad.

    Perhaps our current motto should be "Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing" so everyone will be happy.

  17. A friend of mine wrote a good take on it here. http://onealbertavoice.blogspot.ca/2012/04/misinformation.html (first post on her new blog)

    I was very disappointed in the election results. I had hoped for a WR majority, but expected - hoped for - at least a minority. In the days leading to the election, however, I saw more hatred and bigotry directed *at* the WR, from people accusing the WR of hatred and bigotry, then I've ever seen before. It was also clear people had to dig hard to find mud to fling at the WR, what with digging up a year old blog post and taking it out of context, or misquoting another candidate to make him out to be a racist. Basically, people who already believed that the WR was made up of gay-hating troglodytes (not that many of them could handle a word with that many syllables) lapped it up and projected it onto everyone else in the party. Others, unable or unwilling to tell the differencse between fact and spin, went along with it (and I see by the comments above, some of those people are posting here). None bothered to see for themselves if the accusations and quotes made against the WR were accurate or in context, and many seemed to assume that many WR candidates were saying such things, rather then just 2 of 87 (and never mind that there were plenty of PC candidates guilty of similar remarks).

    Reading people's comments, I saw so many saying they would vote just to keep the WR out, often accompanied by fearmongering and foul mouthed diatribes. Mostly, though, they just repeated the same thing others were saying, so it was pretty clear they weren't doing any thinking for themselves.

    This is my take on it. Though the PCs still have a majority, they did not actually win. What they got were hate spewing anti-WR "strategic" voters; a shaky foundation at best. The WR, meanwhile, saw tremendous gains, while the Libs and NDP saw major losses. On top of this, the number of people who actually bothered to vote increased by 10%. It seems a lot of those new voters chose WR. The people who voted WR did so because they actually supported WR - many of them having been regular PC voters in the past. Based on my observations, Redford herself chased a large number of PC support away; I heard from many people who said they had always voted PC, but no longer could with Redford at the helm. The WR foundation is built on a stronger base of support then the PC's and their protest voters.

    Strategic voting is, in essence, anti-democratic. It is an attempt to deliberately manipulate election results. Any party that wins based on strategic voting is in a weak position. Such voters are a fickle lot, and it won't take much for them to drop their pretence.

    So while the PCs managed to get their majority, it came at a great cost, and has left them in a very weak position, while the WR is in a very strong one.

  18. I'm afraid dmorris is out to lunch. These views are not "extreme", they are entirely acceptable, and they had nothing to do with this loss.

    Wildrose did about as well as could be expected from a new party with very weak bench strength going up against a long-established dynasty. If you hadn't seen the campaign, you'd think it had gone very well for them.

    But of course, we had that campaign. We know all too acutely just what kind of turds have been placed in power. And we can be certain that those turds consider themselves to have a mandate to stink the place up. We aren't going to enjoy the next four years. But when the reckoning comes, the Wildrose victory will be universally recognized as necessary, no matter how viciously you hate Christers and whites.