Uniting the "Left" Pt II

116 posts / 0 new
Last post
Uncle John

Branding is important.

The Liberal brand is popular, even when the Party, the Leader, and the Policy is not. People identify themselves as "Liberal", even if they are not happy with the Liberal Party.

The Conservative brand is similar, in that people can say they are "conservative", despite what the Conservative Party may be doing.

To say you are a "New Democrat" ties you to the NDP. You are not going to call yourself a "New Democrat" if you don't like the Party, Leader, or Policy.

I think, however, the term "Democrat" does speak louder about a self-identification than any particular Party. I could say I was a "Democrat" and support any of the three parties above. Indeed, I have, and I do.

In terms of the US politics, most Canadians would vote Democrat over Republican. For one thing, Canada is not a Republic, so it would be hard to identify with "Republican" without being disloyal to the concept of the Canadian State.

So I think "Democrat" would be the best brand for a new party uniting the anti-Conservative. For one thing, any party opposing the Canadian Democrats would have to explain how they could be democrats without being Democrats.

To win, any party must capture the Canadian centre, which the Conservatives seem to be doing the best at currently.

Until then, I think Jack should stress the Democrat over the New. I also think the NDP should be the lead party in the new coalition, just as the Alliance was the lead party in the coalition on the right.

If they were to call themselves just the Democrats, I would not be surprised if I was joined by Conservatives and Liberals in wishing this new party well.


Robin Sears, [url=http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/529874]"Power, not policy, stands in the way of uniting the left,"[/url] Toronto Star, November 4, 2008.


At the time of its founding in Ottawa in the first week of August 1961, the New Democratic Party was seen by many of its protagonists as the inevitable successor to the Liberals and the natural antidote to Diefenbaker conservatism. Liberals, though, derided the effort at unity on the left from the beginning.

It was a small success to have brought together unions, farmers, intellectuals, many Quebec Quiet Revolutionaries, and left factions of a bewildering array of differences. It was a greater success to have held it together during the explosive tensions of the '60s on the left, though the Waffle battles came close to ending the dream.

The lessons of that merger effort – the product of nearly three years of negotiations following the misery of the 1958 defeat of nearly the entire CCF caucus – are at least three: Mergers require leaders who are committed to making them happen; they require a party that will endure disappointment and partisan attack a