Friday, October 28, 2011

Nash, Chisholm Likely Round Out Dipper Field

Both Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park) and Robert Chisholm (Dartmouth-Cole Harbour) have announced their intentions to enter into the increasingly crowded NDP leadership race, with Chisholm's announcement coming up this Sunday, and Nash's will be today (today being Friday).

I look at both candidates and wonder what their bases of support will actually end up being. And I gotta tell ya, it's hard.

Nash, a former union negotiator and the party's Finance Critic, is not in any way particularly impressive as a candidate, and probably shares a similar field to Dewar. I can't see anything outside of those union connections for her to build on. However,  even those connections may not matter much if the unions see Brian Topp as the standard bearer in the race - as United Steelworkers already has. One could say that the women's vote might coalesce around Nash, but in a party where all major candidates support progressive attitudes towards women, it probably won't matter much (think Martha Hall Findlay).

Chisholm is a somewhat experienced hand, at least provincially, and has proven he can lead. He'll likely mop up the support of the NS NDP and Premier Darrell Dexter (his successor as NDP leader), and may or may not gain the support of the other Atlantic Dippers, minus the official groups in New Brunswick (as NB NDP leader Dominic Cardy supports Mulcair, and Acadie-Bathurst MP Yvon Godin supports Topp). Other than that, Chisholm's appeal is narrow and regionalized, appearing more like a Scott Brison regional candidate who, if all the other options really sucked, you could see yourself voting for, but in the end never will.

All this means is that Mulcair and Topp are the two likely frontrunners. I would not hedge any bets on Nash or Chisholm, and the same goes for Cullen and Saganash, as well as the utterly irrelevant Singh. Dynamics can and probably will change, but right now I see Mulcair-Topp with a Dewar spoiler as the likely climate right now and for the immediate future.

1 comment:

  1. Nash is just going to be the female flagbearer in a race that's pretty much 3-horses at best. Running will raise her profile and help her protect her spot in a swing riding. It will also give her credibility (should she not embarrass herself, which i don't think she will) for options down the road. As a Liberal, I could care less who they choose - if Canada is truly going towards a 2-party system the centre and centre-left will marginalize those who are trumpeting the Topps of the party. If as I believe there is lots of life yet left in the Liberal Party as an electable and governable option, I think any of the NdP candidates could be problematic and beneficial for our cause. But we need a strong leader, too.