Politicos and pollsters are still nursing their hangover from the 2013 BC provincial election. In what has become a pattern, the pollsters got it wrong. Completely wrong. The story was supposed to go like this: Christy Clark's Liberals, rocked by scandal after scandal, were going down as Adrian Dix NDP was going to take over the Premier's office. It was all but sewn up.
The Cinderella story collapsed like the Maple Leafs in the 3rd period of Game 7. The reversal of fortune was fast and furious. NDP supporters were seen looking flabbergasted when the news hit them. As BC Liberals rejoice in being reelected with an even stronger majority, twitter came alive with bleary-eyed federal Liberals from across Canada expressing electoral elation.
But should federal Liberals pause to ponder before breaking out the bubbly?
While it is difficult to know which pundits have the pulse of the people in the wake of their repeated falsities, almost everyone agrees that Adrian Dix's strategy was to take the high road.
Instead of hammering Clark and the Liberals with attack ads, reminding the voters why they were sick and tired of the Clark Liberals, Dix tried to be Mr. Nice Guy. [source]
Meanwhile, voters forgave the comedy of errors committed by the incumbents over their decade in power. What trumped the myriad of mishaps, blunders, HST tax, costly government program, and arrogance? It's the economy, stupid!
BC voters feared, rightly or wrongly, that the NDP would drive the province into the "have not" status. The BC Liberals' "Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow" was a slogan which resonated with voters. BC residents who wanted a focus on the economy felt Clark's Liberals were their best bet, in a political landscape which is essentially a battle between the left-leaning NDP and a pseudo-coalition of Tories and Liberals under Christy Clark.
The B.C. Liberals have always been a coalition party, going back to their earliest victories two decades ago. Since their improbable first wins in 1991, the BC Liberals have been a hodge-podge of federal Liberals, federal Conservatives, former Socreds. [source]
The question is, if Canada's third most populous province was able to forgive a tired, scandal-plagued provincial party in 2013, could they also forgive a tired, scandal-plagued federal party in 2015?
Both the BC NDP's Adrian Dix and federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau decided to take the high road instead of slugging it out in negative campaigns and nasty attack ads.
Both incumbent leaders, Premier Christy Clark and PM Stephen Harper, don't hesitate to use any aggressive means to denigrate their opponents. Both incumbent leaders anointed themselves as shepherds of the economy. Both parties persistently court the "ethnic vote" using cynical, callous but effective means. Both make use of theologists as political consultants.
The similarities might end there. Or not.
In any case, federal Liberals around the country might want to look at this electoral scenario a little bit closer before patting each other on the back.