Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Liberal Party Has Failed "Supporters"

Recently, we've had the news that the Supporters category, which had been crooned so much by Liberals like myself, has more or less been a flop. I've argued before that it was somewhat doomed to partial failure from the outset, because we never gave Supporters a chance to engage the Party outside of leadership races - but in spite of that, at least we gave them something, a chance to vote for their chosen leadership candidate, and maybe spark some loyalty to the Party through giving them agency.

Well, whats happened? Of the 294,000 signed up Supporters and Members, less then 40% seem to be interested in voting - and that's not a guarantee that those who have registered will actually vote. This category, which we shouted from the rooftops as something new and exciting that will change the way politics are done in this Party and country, is almost dead on arrival. The only positive thing to come out of it so far is that there is at least the possibility that it could work in the future, and we have new contacts to go after.

But even with the notion of "new contacts," something's messed up. Trudeau and other candidates have managed to bring in hundreds of thousands of new Supporters, but they've failed to actually get their contact information down properly! And let's not beat around the bush - this is almost single-handedly an issue with the Trudeau campaign. I don't know how they messed this up - even with a week extension that anyone involved knows benefited Trudeau more than anyone else. Is there something wrong with how the Party has set up the infrastructure for the category, are they complacent, or are they severely incompetent? My bet is a combination of all three.

Now we have allegations of abuses. Great. We're going to have a leadership race marred by accusations of a corrupt and/or biased system. Just what we needed.

So what do we do to fix it?

For me, the answer is obvious: the Supporters category isn't useful unless we open it up and allow people to engage even more - but given how much its failed so far, I don't even know if that will fix the issue. Do people just not care, or is whatever we're offering them - whatever Trudeau and the others have offered them - not good enough? How has the lack of proper organization on the part of the Party and the candidates failed Supporters?

If opening up and allowing for more chances to engage isn't the answer, then what is?

I don't know, but I desperately want to. The things we did before the introduction of the category didn't work, and what we're doing right now is failing. The next leader of the Liberal Party needs to order everyone to take a step back and look at what we've done through objective lenses. We need answers on how to fix our approach to organizing these otherwise erstwhile supporters.

And we need to do it as soon as possible. We should have already figured out these bumps beforehand, but we didn't, even though we had enough time, and these problems were easily foreseeable. So the time for it is now, not later down the road. I'll support any leadership candidate willing to pledge themselves to action.

If we fail to do this, then we might as well give it up now, and accept that the hole we've dug ourselves into is where we're going to stay.

16 comments:

  1. We were never going to have 300,000 voters. Frankly, we probably won't hit the number the NDP had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God, that would be depressing.

      Delete
    2. I thought the NDP had 80K voters, turns out they had 60K voters.

      I think we will hit 70K voters FTR

      Delete
  2. I know someone who signed up without an email - it wasn't required - and his letter with info to register just arrived in the mail yesterday. Don't know how many are in that situation, but it does seem that people are still getting their letters required for registration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing how it only arrived yesterday. Without the extension, he wouldn't have been able to register! That's not exactly a good sign.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I was quite surprised, too. He had signed up as a supporter about 4 weeks ago. Maybe LPC delayed some of the mailing while they focussed on other parts of registration, knowing that the deadline had been extended. Makes one wonder though.

      Delete
  3. Remember that when someone signed up to be a supporter, they were told you that they were registered to vote. They have no idea that they need to do anything more if they haven't been paying the strictest attention to the flood of liberal emails they get, or used a for-spam email account. I'm sure plenty more people want to vote, they just don't know they can't at this point

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe that's the problem - these people simply aren't paying attention. I hope that's the problem because they're not much wrong on our end, is there? We can't help it if these people ignore the notice about registering and so on.

      Still, I'd say there's something wrong with that situation. Why aren't they paying attention? What are we either doing wrong, or not doing at all, to get these people interested? After all, I imagine if they've had more than a passing interest in the Party, they'd pay closer attention. How do we get them to commit themselves to greater involvement?

      A review is required to get to the bottom of those questions. At least, in my opinion that's what is required. I want to avoid the problems we're having now, because so far it has been a failure.

      Delete
    2. I think this two-step process was for security. Trudeau's campaign submitted a letter to LPC (it's on justin.ca) suggesting changes for the future. I didn't read through it, but I bet having gone through this experience, both the candidates and the party have lots of ideas of how it could be improved.

      They should have thought of some way of "almost" requiring people to provide emails, rather than making it optional and implying that everything would work without an email. For one thing, it costs the LPC more money to deal with those without email. By "almost", I mean such that anyone with an email would provide it.

      Delete
    3. I agree with that idea, ch. Also, thanks for the heads up on that document on the Trudeau site - I'm looking over it now.

      Delete
    4. Out of curiousity, I just read Trudeau's document too. First, it makes it all the more surprising that someone only received their mailing with the code in yesterdays mail - this was in Ontario. Second, it sounds like too many supporters and maybe even some members (was that Victory Fund donor a member?) had a very frustrating time. Unfortunate.

      The first time is always difficult and so many signed up in the final days. I do get the sense that the party is trying hard to make this work better. It also makes me very glad they extended the deadline. After all, they have signed up another 12,000 or so and maybe there will still be more before the end of Thursday (in fact, for the mailers, they say it just has to be postmarked on Thursday - not sure how that is going to work as far as getting things to the next step.) Maybe a lot less than one would have liked, but still another 12,000. Can't imagine what Joyce Murray was thinking in not wanting the extension, as far as future participants in the party.

      Delete
    5. I agree the first time is difficult, but these problems weren't exactly unknowable. What were they doing for the year and a bit since the category was introduced? I dunno.

      Also, you're right, the extension was a good idea. It did benefit Trudeau more than any other candidate, IMO - but it wasn't as if it was biased in favour of Trudeau. Why Murray and Hall Findlay wouldn't take up the opportunity to get more registered Liberals, I have no idea. It may hurt her in the end.

      Delete
    6. Trudeau said of the 100,000 with no emails about 30,000 were not signed up as his supporters (could be party, could be other campaigns). This sounds about right, given the other numbers we have hearing.

      I think Trudeau would win with or without the extension, but he must also be concerned about the shape the party is in when this race is over. For that you want to bring as many supporters as possible through the next steps. The others should worry about that too, and in fact, Coyne's team (maybe others too) wrote to the LPC asking for an extension too. But, maybe Murray and Hall Findlay are too focussed on just this race and not thinking more long term. Murray certainly strikes me that way, with some of the things she and her campaign manager say. It should hurt her.

      I've heard ridings are working on this too and thinking of ways to bring in supporters who live in the riding and to involve them after the race. Meanwhile, some of them are helping register supporters too.

      Delete
  4. Code? I never received any kind of code?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The code for logging in and voting. If you did it by e-mail, I doubt you'd get it yet - you'll probably receive it closer to voting week. I'm in the same boat. But those without e-mail addresses can't receive it before then, so its sent to them now.

      Delete
    2. I just looked over the e-mail I got from Certosimo, we get it between March 25 and April 6.

      Delete