My NDP leadership ballot rankings
Mar 19, 2012

My NDP leadership ballot rankings

Let's just get it over with:
  1.  Nathan Cullen
  2.  Brian Topp
  3.  Peggy Nash
  4.  Paul Dewar
  5.  Niki Ashton
  6.  Thomas Mulcair
  7.  Martin Singh
These rankings are not necessarily who I think is best as the leader, but are for a variety of strategic reasons as written below. The major choices involved where I am showing a distinct preference for leadership are "not Mulcair" and "Nash over Dewar of the various not Mulcairs".  These are the decisions that I think will be relevant in down ballot considerations which will most likely result in a race between Mulcair and one of the other contenders, probably Nash. As for my front runners, I don't think Nathan Cullen or Brian Topp is going to win, nor do I necessarily want them to. However, I want them to do well. I want them and their ideas to continue to have relevancy in the party and a marginal increase in nomination votes can help achieve this.

Brian Topp:
I don't think Brian Topp is electable, either as leader of the NDP or as Prime Minister if he became the NDP leader. I have written previously about how terribly important being likeable is in Canada and how this is a necessary trait to have. When the race started, all the big endorsements and media coverage was of Topp and Mulcair, a fact I found disappointing at the time. However, Brian Topp quickly fell from grace and has been polling 4th or 5th despite his many high ranking endorsements such as from Ed Broadbent or Jack Layton's mother. Personally, I have found his debate performance to be lacking in most debates and that he is an ineffective political speaker in a way that disqualifies him from leadership; that his public opening to the NDP fell so quickly just confirms this impression.

That said, I have a lot of respect for Brian Topp. I think he has the most depth in his policies of the various candidates, I think his tax reform and environmental strategies are well positioned and could do very well in the general election even if they poorly articulated by him, and I think he represents many of the values and policies that many in the NDP liked in Jack Layton. He was a great behind the scenes strategist. I hope he will continue to be a great behind the scenes strategist. I just don't think he can be the public face of the NDP. The reason I ranked him so highly is to make sure that if Mulcair wins it, it is clear that there is still support for Brian Topp in the party so he is included in the strategy going forward.

Nathan Cullen:
I think it is really too bad that Nathan Cullen ran on the joint nomination proposal because it makes his candidacy a referendum on that issue. I don't think the joint nomination proposal is that great of an idea, as I have written about here. And I think that Nathan Cullen is often somewhat shallow and vague on various policy issues, even if I definitely support his pragmatic outlook. However, I think that Nathan Cullen is by far the most likeable and electable person on the stage and if he had run without the joint nomination proposal I think he would have won the leadership race and, in 2015, become Prime Minister.

I put him at the top of my list for two reasons. Firstly, to make a strong showing of support for the general idea of working with the Liberals. I don't necessarily endorse his specific plan, but I doubt it will actually occur. However, various coalition governments or agreed upon riding swaps may occur and, eventually, so too might a merger. I want to keep the general idea open and think we should work with a spirit of cooperation in mind. Secondly, I think that Nathan Cullen should get a prominent public place in the NDP because of his ability to draw in new people and connect in a way few others can. Just the opposite of Topp, Cullen massively rose based on the success of his debate performances. Something like a shadow minister position would be excellent.

Peggy Nash:
Peggy Nash comes from my home riding of Parkdale-Highpark so I have had, perhaps, somewhat more exposure to her than the average NDP member. I think that as NDP leader she is electable. Peggy Nash can speak passionately and articulately about the issues in a way few other candidates can and can, I think, convince Canadians of the righteousness of NDP values and the efficacy of their policies. She has a geographic advantage, and, frankly, I think that her gender is now an advantage. She is not my ideal candidate (for instance, she heavily represents the union side of the NDP which I do not identify with and sometimes disagree with) but she is close to me on a wide range of issues.  I certainly prefer her to Paul Dewar who as been feckless on the campaign trail, offered few new policy initiatives, is not particularly electable in a general election, and whose French more or less disqualifies him from leadership.

Thomas Mulcair:
I see why people like Thomas Mulcair. He has a fiery tenacity and appears to have the grit to be able to withstand a bloody general election. He looks like the NDP's best hope to hold onto Quebec and it isn't really close. He is a technocrat like myself, with lots of policy ideas and would certainly enact various changes, some for the better. He is not the extreme evil some paint him to be and remains further to the left than Liberal orthodoxy.

However, I distinctly disagree with him on various issues and, I think, with the general framing and direction of his candidacy. For instance, one of the main topics of this blog and the reason it was created was for discussing foreign policy, particularly in the Middle east. Mulcair is incrediably pro-Israel, and has also made hawkish statements on Syria that I think would be disastrous. These are the exact opposite messages of which I believe Canada should be espousing, especially when Harper is also so hawkish on the Middle East. Or take Mulcair's complete ruling out of any form of cooperation with the Liberals in the future. On issue after issue, I end up disagreeing with him and as such have gone into the "not Mulcair" camp.

I put Niki Ashton in 5th not because it much matters, but because I hope she does well in the future. Martin Singh is ranked last because he was a feckless, two issue guy who, while I am glad he has made inroads with the Sikh community and has perhaps emphasized that the NDP can deal with business, has been ineffective on the campaign trail.

Regardless of whether you agree with the above, if you are an NDP member I would encourage you to vote. 

Thoughts on this post? Comment below!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha ha hah hahah hah. Pro-Israel guy won the anti-Israel NDP nom. LOVE IT!

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