Top of Mind - April 18, 2011

What are provincial New Democrat leader Adrian Dix's chances of success in the next election?

Mr. Dix's success appears to hinge, in part, on two key unproven assumptions. First, as we earlier noted, Mr. Dix remains reluctant to discuss his private motivations for being in public life. But, when asked about that reluctance, he told The Vancouver Sun's Jonathan Fowlie, "That is my personality and I think that's what people want. I know that there is a fashion for celebrity culture but I think people want their leaders to be serious and hard working, and for their leaders to make it about the people and the changes they want to make." So Mr. Dix is assuming British Columbians won't care if they don't know what makes him tick - despite the recent tendency toward personality-based politics.

Second, Mr. Dix rejects the notion that winning elections in British Columbia means appealing to the centre. Instead, he believes you can't "score a goal from centre ice," arguing British Columbians who haven't voted in recent elections will vote for the New Democrats if the party adopts a progressive policy agenda. But that assumes there aren't other structural reasons why the people of this province haven't been showing up at the polls.

Indeed, Mr. Dix's approach to winning the next election appears to run counter to the prevailing political wisdom in British Columbia. Whether that approach will work, remains to be seen.

What does Mr. Dix's victory mean for the provincial Conservatives?

It's not yet clear what the change in leadership of the New Democrats will mean for the upstart party. Will Mr. Dix's more aggressive left-wing policies frighten right-wingers into continuing to support the Liberals? Will those policies encourage Premier Christy Clark to move further into the centre, making her right flank vulnerable? Or will Mr. Dix's perceived un-electability increase the likelihood that right-wingers will give the Conservatives a chance, confident the New Democrats couldn't possibly win government? At this point, who knows?

2 Comments

What a stupid lead in Sean Holman. You are contributing to personality politics which is driving more people away from voting. Who the ---- cares his motivation. Most politicians lie about that anyway saying "for the greater good" rather that "I like power". Can you try to improve your commentary please Sean.

His reluctance to discuss his motivations is going to be one of two deciding factors? Barely overstating your case, there...

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