Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fixed and Broken

There's been a lot of speculation about Harper's sudden unseemly rush to break his own fixed election law and send us all to the polls. His argument that parliament has become irretrievably broken is of course undercut by the fact that it was his government that distributed an instruction manual on making sure that it would be. As Harper himself acknowledges, any election will simply produce another minority, at best from his point of view, this hugely expensive process will simply maintain the current status quo.

So why now?

There are indications of improved numbers for the Conservatives in Quebec but in the harsh light of a campaign those could and probably will wither like salted slugs in the hot sun. That a coming economic downturn and even more information about Conservative malfeasance and electoral fraud bode ill for Conservative poll numbers in the near future is certainly part of Harper's calculations.

But the most likely explanation for the unseemly dash to the hustings is that Harper does not want a Canadian election to take place after an American one.

Much has been made of a recent polling dip for Barack Obama, but even a cursory job of drilling beneath the numbers reveals this to be little more than statistical noise. Obama is still far ahead of McCain and is likely to beat him convincingly on election day. As 2000 taught us, in American presidential elections the only numbers that matter are electoral college numbers and for McCain those numbers continue to be gruesome.

According to, consistently the most accurate window on voter intentions, Obama has an firm 84 vote lead over McCain in the Electoral College. Additionally while 214 of Obama's electoral votes are essentially locks, McCain can only definitively count on 112 of his Electoral votes with 64 of them only leaning his way and 102 votes that are statistical tossups.

Given the growing demographic advantages for the Dems and a far more energized Democratic vote with historic surges in the African American and youth votes being confidently predicted by observers, McCain will need a miracle to avoid a humiliating defeat in November.

The congressional and Senate numbers are even worse for the Republicans as the GOP brand collapses under the weight of the most corrupt, arrogant and incompetent administration in American history. We are about to be witnesses to the complete dissolution of the Reagan Revolution.

If you were Harper, would you want Canadian voters to decide your fate with the recent example of a conservative meltdown south of the border in their minds?

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