September 15th, 2022 | ryan tyler

what the next liberal campaign will look like

The Trudeau Liberals are desperate and unpopular and their campaign strategy will show it.
Leaders start reaching their inevitable expiry dates after eight years. This has been true in almost every democracy in the world since democracy became a thing. In fact, even dictatorships see an average of eight years for their emperors and tyrants. The average reign of an ancient Roman emperor was eight years, despite many of them ruling for generations. Once in a while, you see a leader that breaks the trend—but Justin Trudeau isn't one of those leaders. Because of this fact, the Liberals are about to launch one of the filthiest, nastiest, most negative and pitiful campaigns in Canadian history.
If you thought the last Liberal campaign was disgusting, wait until you see what they have in store for Pierre Poilievre. Trudeau recently told his caucus he plans to stay on as leader in the next election, which seems to defy logic and be one of the most selfish and arrogant things he has done yet. By staying on as leader, he leaves the Liberals no choice but to go more negative and dirty than ever.
The Liberal Party can no longer bank on Trudeau's popularity and shine, because both have worn off. All the messages of hope, change and sunny ways that helped him win in 2015 have faded away and Canadians are angry, tired, bored, fed up and pessimistic. All of this is evident in recent polls and statistics.
A Nanos poll from July 2022 shows more than half of Canadians feeling their country is headed in the wrong direction. What's most fatal for Liberals is the generational divide. Of the people who feel most negatively about Canada's direction, a majority are between the ages of 18 and 35. Among Millennials and Gen Z, 58% believe Canada is headed in the wrong direction. It seems older Canadians, over the age of 55, are more optimistic this time.
Another poll from Angus Reid shows much of the same. That poll found that 59% of Canadians disapprove of Trudeau's performance and that 52% feel the country is on the wrong track.
These numbers are worse than the numbers Stephen Harper saw in 2014, before his majority was wiped out. Just before the 2015 election, only 33% of Canadians felt the country was headed in the wrong direction and only 45% of Canadians viewed Harper negatively and 51% disapproved of the Conservative government, according to Abacus Data. At the time, the economy was doing good and things were stable. In comparison, multiple polls in 2022 show Trudeau and Liberal dissatisfaction exceeding 55% and closing in on 60%. That's not only historic, it's catastrophic.
As inflation and costs of living ease, these numbers might change, but things aren't looking good for Liberals. Even if things roll back into normalcy, Trudeau will be too far past his shelf life to win. Harper had a stable, well-rounded economy—but he still lost the election. For Trudeau, it's unlikely inflation will hit 2% by next summer and even less likely that Canadians will feel confident in their economy. With house prices indicating a deeper recession, things could get worse for Liberals by the next federal election.
Trudeau's egotistical decision to stay on as leader is a blessing for Pierre Poilievre and Conservatives. However, it's unlikely that another leader could pull the Liberal Party out this deepening hole. At this point, all Liberals can do is manage their decline. They might still, however, give Trudeau the boot before the next election to avoid ending up where they were after the 2011 election. After Harper wiped the floor with Michael Ignatieff, Liberals fell to third place with only 34 seats.
A few months ago, I predicted that Trudeau would resign to avoid losing to Poilievre. I still think that could happen. Trudeau's ego is too fragile to handle a loss to someone he despises more than Stephen Harper. He would want to avoid the humiliation and the concession speech. It would be even more humiliating if his own Liberal caucus gave him the boot. He would resign as soon as he smelled their dissent.
If he does stay on, the Liberals will run one of the dirtiest and most desperate campaigns Canadians have ever seen.
On top of promising billions more in spending and promoting ludicrous new ideas, Liberals will go low. In all honesty, they won't have much of a choice. Running a positive and optimistic campaign would be a recipe for disaster. On the flip side, running a nasty campaign will turn away ordinary Canadians—but it will keep the loyal Liberal base of purple-haired morons and Covid Karens energized. If those people don't vote, the Liberals will face a much bigger loss than if they run a positive, hopeful and neutered campaign.
If the angry, conservative-hating leftists get bored or annoyed, they'll stay home or vote NDP.
Liberals will set out to scare their base with allegations of abortion bans, concentration camps for gender dysphoria and a conspiracy for world domination by white supremacists. The next Liberal campaign will be unlike anything any of us have ever seen. It'll be grotesque, astonishing, hilarious and frightening all at once. It'll be a series of figurative nuclear devices being set off in one, big and frantic war to maintain power. We might even see Liberals attempt to re-ignited the pandemic hysteria.
Pierre Poilievre will be sold as a crank, misogynist, anti-vaxxer, Nazi sympathizer, homophobe, transphobe, liar, cheat, climate denier, fascist, populist, undemocratic nationalist, Trumpster, bigot and the second coming of Hitler. Above all, the Liberal catchphrases and talking points will revolve around Pierre Poilievre and his brand of conservatism being “dangerous”.
Dangerous is a word you'll hear often in the media and from the Liberal campaign. In fact, we may create a tracker to track how often the label is used by Liberals and journalists over the next year and a half leading up to the next election. That—and who knows what else—will be used to scare Canadians out of their wits about a Conservative majority.
A lot of Canadians will fall for it, undoubtedly, but not enough to secure another Liberal government.
At best, Conservatives will win a massive majority. At worst, they will win a minority—which would be as good as losing. After Trudeau's scorched earth campaign, leftists will be so terrified of a Poilievre government that the NDP and Liberals would be forced into another coalition. A Conservative minority would last the whole of a single day in Canada. In such a case, the two left-wing parties might even consider merging to avoid future vote splitting and to stave off any prospects of another Conservative victory.
Even in the event of a Conservative super majority, a Liberal-NDP merger is highly likely down the road. Neither party really has enough fuel left to secure their hegemony into the future. A merger might be the only way to level the playing field after a massive Conservative win. If Poilievre keeps true to conservatives and manages to gain the trust of normal Canadians, he could be prime minister for longer than Justin Trudeau. If he manages to keep his word and rid us of the CBC, he could eliminate a lot of the hostility in the daily news cycles and create a more balanced media ecosystem—which would have positive long term consequences for democracy in Canada.
There's no telling what the future will bring after the next Conservative government, but we do know that Canadians will grow tired of Pierre Poilievre eventually. Hopefully, when that day comes, he will have a strong enough ego to resign and allow someone else to take the reins of his party, without forcing someone else to make the decision for him.
September 2022