I can just SMELL the unity in this last few days before the vote... the blogosphere is practically overheating with the vitriol that's being bandied about between Dinning and Morton supporters. Stelmach supporters are conspicuous by their good behaviour.Thought I'd look at the Final 3, profile their typical supporter, and then break down exactly what, in my view, they need to do in the next 4 days to become Alberta's next Premier. Last point on each candidate is what kind of Alberta you'll likely see a year from now, should they win.
Typical supporter: Lives in or near a big city. Either does well, or does EXTREMELY well, come pay-day. Is a moderate socially, believing that government shouldn’t be swayed by religious groups into wading into social and values issues. Is a fiscal conservative, believing that spending has gotten out of hand, and will support cuts in the name of efficiency.
In order to win – must go on the offensive against Morton’s past positions and policy, and not get personal - remember the lessons you learned from Nancy Betkowski's personal attacks against Ralph, Jimbo. Needs to paint himself as the last line of defence against “Morton’s Agenda”, and encourage Stelmach voters to make him their 2nd choice, so that Stelmach supporters “still have a chance at the Alberta that Ed Stelmach wants to see” if Ed finishes 3rd in the 2nd ballot.
In 1 year… we'll have had a budget come out that starts to form a picture for us of the actual policy of the Dinning administration. Premier Dinning will have just completed an exhaustive routine of advisory board meetings, and we'll nearly be done a full audit of the government books. We'll be a year or less from a general election, and still wondering EXACTLY where we stand as a Party. Ted Morton will be working for the PMO or will be leading a hungry-for-blood Alberta Alliance. Ed Stelmach will be a big-portfolio minister, and the head of the Northern Caucus.
Typical supporter is a person of faith, living in the suburbs or on an acreage. Has significantly higher-than-average income, is near retirement or a parent in a young family. Is married, and heavily favours "traditional values", which they feel the rest of the province should share. Has voted Reform, Canadian Alliance, and Conservative as long as any of them has been an option. A gun lives at their home. Registry papers have never lived with it.
In order to win, Ted needs to continue selling memberships like he's trying to get into heaven. He also needs to hammer home his "big tent conservatism" message, and rely heavily on his supporters in the federal Tory caucus and their organization to recruit, sign up, and deliver votes come Saturday. He also needs to reach out to Stelmach supporters, and continue to paint Dinning's policies as liberal, without being quite so negative towards the man himself.
In 1 year… we'll be in a constitutional quagmire about Same-Sex Marriage, and fighting our idealogical cousins in Ottawa over the imminent, gigantic middle finger we're about to flip them over the Canada Health Act. Quebec will hate us, and by proxy hate the Federal Tories, which will likely leave Alberta on the outside after the smoke clears on the next Federal Election and the Liberals ride Quebec's disgust with Alberta back to power. The PC Party and caucus will split, with the Red Tories and Dinning faithful MLA's forming something like the "Alberta Progressive Party", and the resulting vote split may result in Alberta's first minority legislature in... well... ever, I think. We'll know exactly when the next provincial election will be. Jim Dinning will be working in the energy sector, and Ed Stelmach will be a big-name member of the Alberta Progressives.Ed Stelmach
Typical supporter lives on a farm or in Edmonton (yes, Calgarians, there's a difference). Is happily married, older children or empty nesters. Makes an average wage, and works long hours to make it. Believes that government should collect taxes, supply neccesary services, and otherwise leave citizens the hell alone. Is generally happy with their life, but distrusts the power elite.
In order to win – must continue painting himself as the common man, and the underdog. Has to drive home the logic of his positions, rather than sounding like the ideologue that his opponents are painting each other as. Stay away from mud-slinging the other 2 camps are doing. Appeal to
In 1 year… the oil patch will be slowing minutely, and with it Alberta's economy. Roads will be mid-construction, and the health care system will be reviewing operations to see how to streamline delivery of services. The agricultural sector will be ecstatic, with new production capacity on-line for cattle producers. Jim Dinning will be an executive working out of Calgary or, more likely, Toronto. Ted Morton will be leading the Alberta Alliance, screaming for democratic reform and organizing to prepare for the first outcome-unsure provincial election in almost 40 years.