NDP/Liberal Free-for-all: Is it a left-wing deathmatch or just coalition courthship?
After last night’s debate its clearer than ever what the NDP strategy relative to the Liberals is: build us up by tearing them down. As a reasult some Liberals, including Bob Rae say they need to start attacking the NDP.
If this a doomed proposition? Will the left be split ushering in a conservative majority? Maybe. But maybe not. Rae’s more of a bulldog than Dion, gee that wouldn’t be hard, but he’s pragmatic too. When asked about coalitions, he responded:
It’s really unwise to start speculating now what the numbers might be. The numbers will tell us what we have to think about.
Well isn’t that interesting? He’s definitely talking about strategic voting when comparing the NDP and Jack Layton to Ralph Nader in the US. I think that’s a bit much, the NDP and the Liberals are neck in neck in the latest polls, if you believe polls. But he’s right that in each riding with a Liberal/NDP split many people will be considering their options and choosing votes to minimize the chance of the Conservative candidate. If the cross party attacks on the left can be expressed as healthy competition, and the leaders can coyly, or more openly, imply that a coalition is possible, then that could dramatically change this election.
Think about it, the conservatives are playing it safe now, trying to “lull us to sleep”, as Bob Rae puts it, and get elected on pure interia. But there is the opportunity here for a new formula to rule this election:
NDP + Liberal > Conservative
If this ended up being true after the dust settled and the votes were counted then could Dion and Layton go to the Governor General and say we deserve to rule? Perhaps consitutional scholars out there could answer this question. Has this ever happened? Is there a rule that says the party with the most votes must form government even if two other parties, in official coalition represent many more people?
I don’t know. If you do let me know. Or more importantly let Jack and Stephane know. Or perhaps you should talk to Bob Rae, because for all his loud politicking the past week, it looks like its on his mind too.
What do you think?