|Tim Hudak - failed wedger|
Tim Hudak is now licking his wounds, and considering what he should do differently next time an election rolls around (which might be far sooner than many right now expect).
Adam Radwanski in the Globe & Mail reports on the use of wedge issues by the Tories in the election to solidify their base:
To the extent that Mr. Hudak did establish his own list of priorities, it was a peculiar one. Aside from his support for lower taxes, he is now best known for favouring a return to chain gangs, labelling recent immigrants as “foreign workers,” and railing against sex education in schools.
Through most of the campaign, senior Tories insisted these issues would find favour among their target voters. But there is little indication that those policies – the product of focus groups more than personal passions – really excited Mr. Hudak or even most of his advisers.
The key words are the observation by Radwanski that these wedge issues were "the product of focus groups more than personal passions."
Hudak is now cleaning house, parting company with his chief of staff and perhaps others.
Hudak and his new team need to reflect on the advice of a political strategist primarily responsible for the success of two unconventional politicians:
Key to Nenshi's win was [Stephen] Carter's "new theory of electioneering," in which he promoted three dimensions of brand politics: personality, ideas and story. "If you can build that brand, people will follow that brand. They're not interested in right or left (on the political spectrum)," says Carter.
Note Carter's insistence of the pressing need to establish your brand through use of the Troika of personality, ideas and story.
This was glaringly absent in the Hudak campaign. If he wants to beat the Liberal in the next election (which could come within 18 months), Hudak needs to think carefully about the Troika and his brand.
And, perhaps, he needs to telephone Stephen Carter and offer him a six figure retainer for the next four years.