Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Arithmetic says that NDP MP Nathan Cullen's electoral cooperation plan can succeed

It's been a little over a week since Nathan Cullen launched his bid for leadership of the NDP with a bold plan to encourage cooperation between members of the three opposition parties in those ridings where sitting Tory MPs were vulnerable.

Despite the knee jerk dismissal of the Cullen Plan by Topp and Mulcair, it has caught the imagination of many in all three opposition parties, and has resulted in oodles of media coverage.
Nathan Cullen in Hart House in Toronto

And the arithmetic of the May 2 2011 election bears out the feasibility of the Cullen Plan. The essence of the plan is to ChuckACon (#ChuckACon) or Turf-a-Tory in those ridings where the Tory MP is clinging to power by the skin of his or her teeth.

Now let's look at a few facts that support the view of Walkom and Ivison and others that the Cullen Plan could at the very least deprive Stephen Harper of his majority come 2015, or perhaps remove the Tories from government:

  1. Of the 50 seats won in May with the smallest margins, the Tories have a whopping 22 of them, more than any other party;
  2. The Cullen Plan, like the electoral ceasefire advocated by Professor Michael Byers, does NOT require any formal cooperation between the LPC and NDP such as a coalition or merger; the two parties retain their separate existence after the 2015 election;
  3. The Cullen Plan operates outside the formal political parties; it is a grassroots movement of members from each party in one of the Birddog Ridings where the Tory MP's hold on power is so precarious;
  4. In 14 of the seats won by the Tories in May, the average majority of votes over the next candidate was a mere 443 votes per seat!
  5. The Tory MPs won 21 seats by less than 5% of the votes cast;
  6. Here are some rather startling numbers to consider with respect to the number of crossover votes needed to knock out Tory MPs (courtesy of PhilCP in  his comment on one of my posts):
    1. the CPC won 167 seats in May;
    2. of those, they won 107 outright (>50% votes cast);  
    3. of the 60 seats in 'question', 10 of them could have been 'taken' from the CPC with as few as 10% of the third place votes going to the second place party;
    4. of the 60 seats in 'question', 15 of them could have been 'taken' from the CPC with as few as 20% of the third place votes going to the second place party (ie minority); and
    5. 20 seats are lost to the CPC if you can convince about 1/3 of third place voters to support the second place party instead. 
    6. None of these target numbers of crossover votes is unrealistic.

I would rather be in the position of the LPC and NDP in any riding where the Tory majority is so thin, than in that Tory MP's position!

Keep slugging away at the unbelievers, Nathan: the numbers are on your side!

Now let's see how long it takes Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair and the other people running for the leadership of the NDP to actually take a piece of paper, a pen, and double check these numbers...

Nothing like a bit of 'rithmetic to overcome kneejerkism.


  1. What's to protect NDP Quebec MPs from losing the nomination to liberals who have a more experienced machine. I won't support any deal that doesn't including protection for the rookie MPs from vengeful Liberals. Also concider the costs involved in running an election within an election. General Elections cost over 300,000,000 dollars payed for by the national treasury, the running a preelection election between 3 parties payed for by the parties, and then right after fight a general election, it'll bankupt all three parties, provide the tories with an insane amoung of ammo against the winners, and there is no certainty that big grits will not move on mass to the Tories to stop this alliance.

    Still if you really believe this is the way to go you will have to join the NDP to ensure Cullen wins.

  2. Gyor - there less than 100,000 members of the NDP - they need more. If you and/or your friends or relatives don't belong to the LPC, and have any problems joining us, then consider joining the NDP and voting for their leader.

    Second choice is better than no choice!


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