Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Amazing Race: LPC Edition

"Blogs don't matter, endorsements don't matter, only delegates matter!"

Those are the wise words a political advisor and friend once told me, which kept me grounded through and through, in a time long since past, and even as a blogger, I knew then that the comment had a real element of truth to it.

I won't say who said this quote (but many in Ontario might know who said it), but I think it's a pretty pertinent one for ANY LPC internal race, no matter the level. It's not saying that blogs and endorsements don't matter whatsoever in the literal sense (they do), but ultimately (and there's no constitutional amendment on the table to change it) internal party races for executive positions come down to who shows up and who votes for you at convention.

Sure, some things can sway them in the meantime in these races, but I don't believe it has ever been s a blog or blogger, and you'd be amazed how much people can be swayed on the floor to vote for someone (or something) else than they originally thought they would. I've never seen proof of a blog influencing how a person will vote (especially since now any non-blogger can post a facebook note that could easily be read by more people), but I have seen proof of blogs influencing the main stream media, which I think is more important as we're all on the same team, so I'm proud and satisfied about that.

And I'm also skeptical of the value of "big name" endorsements. They are certainly good to have, because any candidate without any looks weak and it gives you more credibility as a candidate, but I'd like to think most people decide based on who they think would do the best job, not just who else is supporting them.

But by the time convention arrives, endorsements from a week earlier (no matter how big of names they came from) can easily be forgotten when you meet the candidate in person and see their posters and literature up close.

I'm not making any predictions for who's going to win any of the given races in our great party, and I'll gladly congratulate everyone who wins the LPC exec position they're interested in, contested or not, at any level of the party. Anyone who runs deserves props.

But tonight, the blog-rumour mill is a turning - with predictions about a stream of blogs, which, over the next few days, will apparently release their endorsements for the party races, one race in particular, and that those endorsements might all line up along the same lines.

It would be more unfortunate though if all of the upcoming blog endorsements are for one particular race/individual, when there are several, very important party races going on at the same time that just aren't being given the same microscope or attention. And I would just say that I would hope all these endorsements are done after reading the full platforms of all the candidates (which I believe are now posted on every candidate's website) or even giving each of them 20 minutes over the phone to hear their plans/visions, and also a polite heads up of a potential 'blogosphere-rocketing announcement' that is in favour of their opponents.

But when it comes down to it, I'd just give some sage advice to the campaign workers on ANY team - spend 24/7 politely, respectfully (negativity is the last thing we need when we are all on the same team in the end), and fairly working on those delegates that you know will be voting on the races - that's your ticket to victory.

And as for the blogs - I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

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Ross said...

You'd think this would be pretty obvious. I can't think of a single LPC race, including leadership 2006 where the "netroots" could have been said to have made any meaningful difference to who ended up winning.

I guess it doesn't hurt, but I'm not sure why anyone would care so much which bloggers are endorsing whom, somebody's not special just because they have a blog.

James said...

I just roll my eyes whenever I see another post on Liblogs about these races. I read blogs for humour and takes on the news, I don't care who Joe Schmoe blogger is supporting for this and that. I much prefer it when they're all ganging up on the Conservatives than waging petty battles aimed at others in our own party.

Though I think we need to consider whether it should only be up to those that can make it convention that decide these things. These positions still matter so it matters how these people get them in the first place. Maybe that's an amendment for 2011.

John said...

Agree you with about the value of blog endorsements, but not so sure about the big name endorsements.

I think having the flood of endorsements for Ignatieff right out of the gate at the beginning of our last leadership race were huge in creating an air of inevitability around him, especially with all the caucus endorsements. Certainly helped to become interim leader too. At the same time though, that didn't work out so well for Hillary Clinton.

So I guess sometimes they matter a lot and sometimes they don't and the "underdog" can win (like Dion or Obama). For LPC races though, I think it says something if one person is getting all the major endorsements and the others are just getting crumbs, but if the candidates are basically splitting them across the country then each new one doesn't really mean anything.

Be interesting to see how this all plays out in the end, there's definitely some very important positions still up for grabs.

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