The era of big-tent parties — who tried to win over the people by widening their appeal — appears to be over. We have now entered “the stage of non-stop marketing (and campaigning), wherein political parties find out what a particular slice of the electorate wants” and zero in on it.
Constant war (campaign) mode
Simpson describes the modus operandi of Harper’s Ministry of Truth:
“Mr. Harper directs the marketing, involving himself in all aspects of it, presiding over a huge staff who do nothing but focus on communications, event-planning and, at central party headquarters, organize a massive information-collection effort on citizens in every corner of Canada so as to better identify which voters will be most influenced by which message.”
Shopping For Votes
Simpson’s column is a book review of Susan Delacourt’s Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them. This quote sums up the insanity:
“In a nation of consumer-citizens, the customer is always right. It is not the politician’s job to change people’s minds or prejudices, but to confirm them or play to them, to seal the deal of support.
“Speeches are not made to educate or inform the audience but to serve up marketing slogans. Political parties become ‘brands’ and political announcements become product launches.”
Harper’s sleazy practice of building Orwellian voter databases and micro-targeting Canadians only works under corrupt First-Past-the-Post where a party needs just 39% of the vote to get 100% of the power.
If we implement ranked ballot voting, the entire dynamic changes.
FPP rewards polarizing politics which help a party lock down its base support. Preferential voting, on the other hand, moderates the debate. Parties must reach outside their base for alternative votes, which extremists lose out on.
It is imperative we get this done after the 2015 election. Odds are an alternative government will replace Harper. But it will likely be a minority government that won’t last long.
Due to three-way center-left vote splitting, the Cons could be back in power for another decade as soon as 2017.
We need to ensure an actual majority is represented in government to stop the Cons from destroying the country against the will of Canadians.