No, that's not meant to be a joke - the possibility exists, my dear fellows.
However, it's far from an easy task. Indeed, the mountain the Liberals need to clime is huge. Even to get back to our 2004 results, we need to bump up our raw vote from 3.6 million in 2008, back to about 5 million in 2004. That's a helluva lot of votes to scramble for just to get into a minority position.
But, it's not impossible. It just requires three things: organization, mobilization, and polarization.
Organization is one that we've worked well on so far, even if in incremental steps. We've increased our quarterly intake since 2008, with 2010's second quarter showing a 75% increase in the amount of money we bring in since 2008 - and that's a growing trend throughout all quarters. (I'd mention 2009's Q2, but that was skewed heavily by the May convention.) We may be sorely behind the Conservatives in funding, but we're outperforming many of the years before. With better funding, strong candidates (especially this one), and a better, more experienced team in the OLO, I think we've got this down.
Mobilization is obvious - we need to get our voters out there. With the new Liberalist program, an increased focus on GOTV operations and better presence by the Leader, our job will be easier. But in the end, it comes down to the riding associations to get their voters out to the polls, especially the advanced polling. Just looking through my own riding, we were killed in 2006 and 2008 - the two years we didn't win - in the advance polls. The Conservatives are notorious for getting their people out to the advance polls - let's take that advantage away from them, especially in marginal ridings like mine.
Polarization is the most controversial, and the hardest. If we want to win the next election, we need to show that we're the alternative. Not the NDP, the Bloc, or the Greens. The Liberals are the only viable alternative to the Conservatives, and the rest of these parties are simply sideshows along the road to Ottawa. Many of our former voters have gone to Layton's NDP and May's Greens because they find our policies lacking, our leaders silly, and our organization corrupt. Even if we don't manage to get back those votes we need from the Conservatives, both the NDP and the Greens have room to collapse.
That's evident with the fact that among both Green and NDP supporters, we're the plurality second choice. Take Ekos' numbers as you will - Lord knows I have enough criticisms - but it isn't exactly against common sense to think that they'll rush to the other centre-leftish party when their own parties aren't good enough for them. Given enough of a push, we can get them.
But that means we can't run around asking for a coalition. Co-operation is great, yes, but we don't necessarily need to come out expounding on it as the only way we can win. The Coalition as a pre-condition for the next Liberal government binds us to a detrimental obligation to form alliances with the NDP and etc., no matter the results. Even if we manage to miss all the landmines while tiptoeing through the Coalition field, most people will not see the difference between a strong party willing to co-operate with the other parties, and a weak one that is desperate to get into power, even with the help of minor and sometimes whack job parties.
What we must do is appeal to those voters that vote for these parties, not because they're tied down to them, but because they have policies that appeal to them.
The NDP hardly has a monopoly on some of the sensible economic decisions that they come up with. Given the fact that we are the ones who can actually implement them, all the better. Nor do they control social welfare ideas. Despite what anyone says, Canadian medicare was not a one-man show, either for Pearson or Douglas. We've also seen to improvements in welfare, education, access to workplace opportunities, and all sorts of good stuff. Expound on the record of social progress - especially in these times, when the the lines are blurred between us and the Conservatives on the economic front. Social issues, like healthcare and education, are areas we can easily take control of, both from the NDP, who are somewhat credible, and the Conservatives, who are not credible at all.
And obviously, the Greens do not have a monopoly on the environment. We saw during 2008 that our environmental plans, while maybe not presented in the best light possible, were generally accepted by the populace as both positive and workable. We're inherently a "green" party, and we need to show that. But, unlike the Greens, we know we need to balance this with economic opportunities - eg., the oil sands. That is an appealing message to Canadians, and I'm glad to see Ignatieff keeps driving it home.
I believe that if we follow these steps, we have an excellent shot at beating down the Conservatives. Even one of their favourable pollsters have the Conservatives on the decline. Canadians want an alternative, and we must show them that we are it.