Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can the Conservatives recover from the Duffy Trial?

With the adjournment of the Duffy trial until November the daily revelations of the corruption in the PMO has come to a stop.  

That has caused some commentators to express the idea that the Conservatives now have a chance to recover from the trial and possibly win the election.

While anything is possible in politics I would say the probability of that happening is not very high.

First, I have been trying to think of a political party that had a brutal first quarter of an election campaign and went on to win the election and I cannot think of one.  Just in recent memory, Mr. Hudak, Madame Marois, and Mr. Prentice all had very bad first weeks of their campaign and they all lost big.  They were never able to recover.  The same for Mr. Martin in 2006 and Mr. Day in 2000.

Most commentators point to the length of this election as the reason why they believe the impact of the trial revelations may not do serious harm to the Conservative campaign.  They also claim that Canadians do not care about the Duffy trial and that Canadians have short memories 

I believe they are forgetting one very important aspect of the last three weeks in their assessments. The revelations of the trial have created a widespread perception in this country that Stephen Harper lied, was caught in that lie and has been lying more to try to get out from under the original lie. Canadians are not going to forget that.  It is going to be at the back of the minds of Canadians for weeks and it will influence the vote of a large number of voters.  We only need to see how Canadians reacted the first time the Senate Expense Scandal came to light.  The Conservative polling numbers slumped and stayed slumped for over a year only rising again when two disturbed individuals decided to kill some Canadian Army personnel last fall.  

A second consideration that needs to be accounted for is the fact that the last three weeks has given the Liberals and the NDP a rich vein of material to mine to create political advertizements to remind Canadians of the lies and corruption of Stephen Harper and the PMO.  I imagine we will be seeing those ads in the coming weeks.

As much as they would like the testimony of the last three weeks to be forgotten by Canadians between now and October 19 I do not believe it is going to happen.  The perception that testimony created is going to be around for awhile so the only way that the Conservatives can overcome it is by running an stellar election campaign and by having both of their opponents stumble and stumble badly in the next few weeks.  

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