The NDP can only win with bold policies and even bolder leadership

With just months until 2019 and current polls predicting a potential wipeout, we’ll have to see if the NDP do end up re-aligning behind bold policies and actions before it is too late.
Ali Taghva Montreal, QC

With just a few months left until the 2019 election, it’s no secret that the NDP is not doing so well.

The polls, fundraising numbers, and even some former and current New Democrat MPs have themselves not been too kind as of late to the NDP, Canada’s once powerful third party.

The problems have been so significant that even the NDP’s position as Canada’s alternative, morally conscious choice in parliament seems to be endangered by an increasingly competitive Green Party.

Now the overall situation does look bleak,but it isn’t over yet since some factors on the ground do bode well for the party.

First, many Canadians on the left want another option when it comes to voting day that doesn’t include Andrew Scheer or Justin Trudeau.

Second, populists from the left and the right have managed to pull through stunning victories in Canada (including Trudeau himself) as well as across the globe.

Finally, while the Singh brand has not won over voters’ confidence yet, the number of people who are thinking of switching their vote to NDP has been growing. So much so that an NDP government is a possibility, albeit a remote one.

The party has a history, a name, and while broke – they still have enough funds to put forward a competitive under-dog campaign.

So how does the party go from fourth place and in decline to a serious competitor for government?

By returning to it’s roots.

For almost a decade now the party has awkwardly shifted abandoning swaths of voters by in effect becoming a more and more woke version of the Liberals rather than a compassionate yet stalwart defender of the middle class and those seeking to join it.

You only have to look at what has occurred to the organization since Layton’s historic run in 2011.

The party has removed the term socialism from its constitution, abandoned swathes of middle-class voters by supporting policies such as a carbon tax (something Layton worked tirelessly against), and on almost every central issue allowed the Liberals to define themselves as the real defender of progressive values.

This doesn’t happen because the NDP and the membership leftover are incompetent or resource-starved, it happens because the organization has fundamentally stopped trying to compete.

In the United States, it seems Candidates for the Democratic party are lining up to help break the law to show their moral capacity to lead, in Canada the Liberals and the Conservatives are lining up on every platform known to man to convince you that they can handle the issues that are life and death.

This is a bit hyperbolic, but nonetheless, from Singh we have received headlining items such as a bike policy. That just does not scream out the party of the people, nor does it scream out leadership in the face of absolute adversity.

It almost feels like the plans of a man who is not in it to win it. And for the role of Prime Minister, you just can’t have that image.

Finally, while a return to bolder ideas is important, a clear change in communication style is just as necessary. Many in the middle class and those working hard to join it do not have multiple degrees.

Many from minority communities do not speak English or French as a dominant first language.

To win in Canada, regardless of party, you need an exciting message which can be diluted down and explained to every single voter across different education levels, ethnicities, languages, and religions, not just grad students in downtown Toronto or Vancouver.

With just months until 2019 and current polls predicting a potential wipeout, we’ll have to see if the NDP do end up re-aligning behind bold policies and actions before it is too late.

What do you think will occur? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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Ali Taghva
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