Sunday, April 29, 2012

Brian Topp: Failed Candidate, Failure of a Columnist

I have a particular dislike of Brian Topp. I don't know what it is about him, but the man smacks of all the things about union leaders, columnists, and New Democrats that I dislike. He's arrogant, he's the purest example of partisan journalism out there, and he's more left-wing than any current political leader. And yes, he's a failure of a leadership contender, offering no positive vision for the NDP, running instead on fears of modernity and taxing the rich. The man is a wreck, to put it mildly, and this was before I read his latest article.

"Liberals across Canada are being hoist with their own petard," in which he disparages the idea of tactical voting as bad, then lauds the fact that the Liberals are being subject to it, using the recent example of the Alberta election as proof (in which he also says that a one-point rise for the NDP, when they were predicted to rise at least four-points, was somehow good). Then ends with this line:
"Conservatives and New Democrats at both the federal and provincial levels have an interesting opportunity to pay the Liberals back in more of their own coin in future elections. The challenge is to do so without being consumed by this tactic. To delve one yard below it, as Shakespeare put it so elegantly, without a fatal over-investment in it."
LOL. He disparages the tactic with gusto and glee, then says he thinks the Conservatives and NDP should partake in it to exact some revenge on the Liberals, for old time's sake, but you know, not too much because then we'll be just like them - bypassing the fact that asking for the votes of other parties supporters is, you know, standard-effing-fare for every party, including his own, who consistently asked for strategic votes of left-Liberals during the past elections! A strategy he likely piloted, by the way.

Really, Brian? This is what your career as a "key strategist" for the NDP has culminated in? Taking petty revenge on the Liberals because of past strategic voting!? And encouraging the Conservatives to take part in it?

What a hilariously small man Brian Topp has become.


  1. I never had much time for Brian Topp, myself. I always saw him as arrogant and hyper partisan. Although, I am a fan and an advocate of taxing the rich and raising corporate taxes.

    He's just sore he lost to Tom Mulcair. The people spoke--they wanted somebody best able to get into Harper's face. Tom Mulcair was it.

    But, Topp did give himself away, now didn't he? I mean, he was a backroom boy under Jack layton and then party president. Stategy would've been his thing. His end game was to destroy the Liberals, just like it is for Harper.

    Yeesh! Neither the Liberals nor the NDP can pull it off on their own. They share, at least, similar ideas. They should work from that--for the good of the country. We can't afford this Harper majority, let alone another one.

    1. I've seen a couple of polls this week that says the NDP could pull it off on their own.

  2. The NDP vote collapsed before the PC vote did in 1993. Going into the 1993 election the NDP were at 8% in the polls. They finished with 7% of the vote. In other words, the notion that NDP voters moved over to the Libs to block the Reform party is not there in 1993. The regional makeup of Canadian politics, the unpopularlity of NDP governments in Ontario and BC and NDP support for the Charlottetown accord explain why the NDP vote did not return to normal until 2004. Strategic voting had nothing to do with it.

    1. Unlike Teddu, I do doubt you, and I doubt you a lot. Strategic voting had clearly a LOT to do with it - especially in Ontario. Why the hell else would the NDP drop from nearly 20% to below 10% in the province, even though provincially they maintained themselves above that, despite the collapse?

      And once scary scary Reform came into the scene, voters in Ontario and the West, the latter being the NDP's birth place, voted Liberal because the governing party, not the fourth party that was nearly eclipsed by the fifth party, offered the best chance, even in those now-wasteland areas for us.

      The only place strategic voting failed to take hold was in Atlantic Canada, for various reasons (mostly because quite a few people hated the Liberals). But strategic voting, especially on the part of the NDP, definitely occurred. Just because the polls were accurate, doesn't mean it didn't happen - think Alberta.

    2. Unlike Teddu, I do doubt you, and I doubt you a lot. Strategic voting had clearly a LOT to do with it - especially in Ontario. Why the hell else would the NDP drop from nearly 20% to below 10% in the province, even though provincially they maintained themselves above that, despite the collapse?

      Is the 20% from the 1995 Provincial election and the 10% during the 1993 federal election?

      I believe the federal election happened during the nadir of the provincial NDP's term of office -- 1993. This was during the period when unions were withdrawing support from the party in Ontario. There was a rebound by the time 1995 rolled around, which was when the provincial Ontario election was held, which might explain the difference between the two numbers.

      Also, as unpopular as Bob Rae might have been in Ontario, Audrey McLaughlin and the federal NDP apparently created a bit of a mess by trying to appeal to Quebec voters. I believe at the time, the NDP was seen as a Western protest party, but they lost ground to Reform by supporting the Charlottetown Accord -- something massively unpopular out west. Alberta, B. C., Manitoba, and Saskatechwan voted against the accord -- most around 60% support against Saskatchewan had the lowest opposition with 55% vote against the accord. Yes, the NDP supported Meech Lake and didn't appear to pay for it in 1988, but referendums tend to inflame people's opinions. Maybe Dave Barrett was right about the party ignoring Western alienation.

      Then there was the mess out in Quebec. The Federal NDP lost the provincial Quebec NDP party when the party took on a sovereigntist platform in 1989. The party also clashed with Phil Edmonston, their sole NDP MP in Quebec, and an apparent Quebec nationalist -- the guy was so disgruntled with the party that he ended up not running in 1993, this after winning a by-election in 1990.

      As far as for strategic voting back in 1993 -- I don't remember it being an issue. There wasn't as much information out there. Thanks to the internet, you can make projections for your area via polls and past information. Previously, you had to rely on overall polls and lawn signs as support. It was difficult to determine support. Now votes obviously migrated from parties, but the question is whether people changed their vote simply to block a party, or because they found a party more appealing.

    3. As for Topp, I wish he'd care more about beating the Conservatives. :P

    4. I agree that the NDP going after Quebec in 1993 was a strategic error given the existence of the Bloc and the strength of it's leader. As the polls I posted below show, however, the NDP could have, with the right leader, actually carried Quebec in 1993. Imagine an NDP with 54 Quebec MPs and 9 outside the province.

    5. Something interesting to consider.

  3. Koby: I'm not doubting you but I'm going to actually research some of these numbers.

  4. January 1991
    NDP: 43.7%
    Lib: 30.7%
    PC: 11.5%
    Ref: 8.7%
    BQ: 8.7%
    Includes the NDP at 59.4% in Ontario and 24.4% in Quebec.

    March 1991
    Lib - 39.8%
    NDP - 31.3%
    PC - 15.7%
    BQ - 6.8%
    Ref - 6.4%
    NDP at 40.6% in Ontario VS the Liberals at 39.8% in the same province

    January 1992
    Lib - 39.1%
    NDP - 25.2%
    Ref - 15.3%
    PC - 12.4%
    BQ - 8.0%
    More Ontario numbers:
    Lib - 46.7%
    NDP - 27.9%
    PC - 13.0%
    Ref - 12.5%

    June 1992
    Lib - 42.5%
    NDP - 20.4%
    PC - 14.6%
    Ref - 12.5%
    BQ - 10.0%
    The NDP at 20.2% in Ontario VS the PC Party at 19.3%

    August 1992 **
    Lib - 37.6%
    NDP - 21.3%
    PC - 15.1%
    Ref - 14.9%
    BQ - 11.2%

    January 1993
    Lib - 52.1%
    PC - 19.5%
    NDP - 15.9%
    Ref - 8.5%
    BQ - 4.0%
    PC Party at 19.5% in Ontario VS the NDP at 17.8%

    July 1993
    Lib - 41.0%
    PC - 32.9%
    Ref - 10.2%
    NDP - 9.2%
    BQ - 6.7%
    NDP at 8.2% in Ontario

    Source: Gallup polling
    ** Environics

  5. During the same period the NDP went from 42.4% in BC to 1.3% in the final poll (17.2% in the penultimate poll)

    I have more numbers if anybody cares to see them

  6. I sure do care to see those more numbers. They are fascinating.

    1. I actually did a full post on those numbers, Brendan, you can check it out here.

    2. My numbers include regionals :P

    3. Assorted Polls