It is doubtless that NDP operatives & their allies at Vice giggled themselves to sleep last week as they prepared to release what they felt was a pivotal media “gotcha” shortly before the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake would go to the polls in a by-election.
Who knows how long Vice sat on this “scoop” but let’s not bullshit here, they clearly sat on it until just before the election was held in hopes of having the most possible negative impact on the UCP candidate.
Yes, they had found out that Devin Dreeshen had been active on Trump’s campaign a couple years ago. On top of this revelation, there was a picture of Dreeshen in a MAGA hat.
This is “gotcha” gold Jerry!
The usual suspects on the left went wild on twitter and facebook around the clock when the picture came out. Why, this was akin to the UCP running Hitler right?
Surely the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake will abandon the UCP en masse at the polls.
Yes the UCP would likely still win, but their support would surely drop. While NDP may not enjoy all of the gains of this collapse in UCP support, the nascent left-wing Alberta Party will doubtless see a surge in support right?
Dreeshen won with an astounding 82% of the vote.
The existing NDP support had collapsed from 23% down to a paltry 9%
The Alberta Party and the Liberal Party proved themselves yet again to be utterly electorally insignificant with showings of 7% and 1%.
David Inscho ran as an independent representing the “Marilyn Burns Party” to bring in a whopping 63 votes.
While some are doggedly trying to dismiss this outcome, it is significant. Many tried to claim that it was not granted that the voters who used to support the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party would not come together under the new UCP.
Well, the combined PC and Wildrose votes were 71% in the last election. The UCP didn’t simply combine that support, they increased it.
But what about the Fort McMurray-Conklin race?
It was revealed that not only did UCP candidate Laila Goodridge work for a time for CPC MP Joan Crockatt, she spent time as a political staffer in Ottawa!
While not as good a “gotcha” as her having helped the evil Trump, this was profound indeed!
This would surely drive voters into the arms of the NDP in Fort McMurray-Conklin. It works just like that narrative that Jason Kenney wasn’t Albertan because he spent time in Ottawa as an MP. That has nearly made Kenney unelectable in Calgary right?
Laila Goodridge with the UCP came in with exactly the combined past PC and Wildrose vote with 66% and a decisive win.
The NDP did maintain their past support level at nearly 30% and the Liberals and Alberta Party candidates remained consistently insignificant at 3% and 1%.
How is it possible that these UCP candidates managed to pull off such huge wins despite the rage and horror that dominated social media about them for weeks?
To put it simply, voters don’t really give a shit what hyperpartisan types say on Twitter and Facebook. They choose based on looking at what the parties as a whole have to offer and pay passing attention at best to whatever the faux outrage of the week is on social media.
Right now the left is swarming and raging over the nomination shenanigans in the UCP and the improper use of constituency funds by the now former UCP MLA Prab Gill.
These issues are important to political wonks and are important in the broader vision of principled politics but they really don’t mean a thing to the common voter at the door (or most importantly in the voting booth).
I love partisan online games and nasty shots. I thrive on them. I never have deluded myself to the point of thinking that those games have a heavy impact on the electorate. At best I bring specific issues a little more into the spotlight for a time and hopefully speed the rectification of them a little bit.
Personally, I hope that the left sticks to their games of gotcha. I hope that they continue to label the party that is currently supported by the majority of Albertans as being extreme or even fascist. While they won’t bring Albertans to their cause this way, they will entrench support for conservatives even more deeply as they get tired of being called troglodytes for supporting parties other than the NDP or left wing Alberta Party.
I will leave off with a few choice tweets that I saved from election night demonstrating the respect that the NDP types online show towards the electorate.
NDP MLA Marie Renaud got right into the game
This NDP supporter feels that rural Albertans would vote for a cow patty
This NDP supporter compared supporting Dreeshen to supporting a mass murderer
This NDP supporter did a double gotcha by calling Goodridge an outsider and Dreeshen a “Trumpist”