Sunday, January 20, 2008

Re-Cap of a Busy Saturday Night

Nation, I normally reserve my Saturday nights for sitting in front of the television, screaming in frustration at Bob Cole to stop cheering for the Leafs and just call the bloody game, and trying to develop new and creative ways to inspire Ales Hemsky to SHOOT THE DAMNED PUCK ALREADY!

Last night, however, was an entirely different Saturday night for me. Seeing as how my 2 favourite Hockey Night past-times (cheering for the Oilers, and cheering against the Flames) were out of the equation (neither team was playing), I found myself in the middle of a political whirlwind of activity. Here are some quick thoughts...

McCain wins South Carolina

Good... it's too bad he's not going to win the election, and likely won't carry the nomination over concerns about his age. I like John McCain, and he'd be a heck of a Vice President.

Romney takes Nevada

Mitt Romney made religion an issue in his campaign, and he's reaping the rewards - for now. 94% of yesterday's voters who identified themselves as Mormon voted for Romney. There are large swaths of the country, though, that put "Mormon" on the same ideological shelf as "Scientologist" or "Branch Davidian" - and if those people are Republicans and are faced with a Romney-led ticket for the White House, they may stay home on November 4th, 2008 - which turns red states blue, and puts a democrat in the White House. Mitt can win the battle for the nomination, but he'll likely lose the war for the White House.

Clinton Wins Nevada... Sort Of...

Hillary won the popular vote in Nevada, and is being trumpeted as the winner of the state's Democratic party primary. However, because of the allocation of delegates by county, Barack Obama gets 13 delegates from Nevada to Clinton's 12. Hillary should know (with all of her "experience") by now that the U.S. electoral system isn't about the popular vote, it's about the electoral college - no matter how many votes she got along the Vegas strip, Obama won the battle for delegates in Nevada, and the delegates are who decides the presidential nominee.

Calgary Egmont's Progressive Conservatives nominate Jonathan Denis

Despite the bluster of both the weather and the rejected former nominee candidate, Egmont PC's turned out in surprising numbers to vote for their choice of nominee to carry the party's banner into the next provincial election. The PC party has not yet released the official voting results, however Jonathan Denis won on the first ballot with an overwhelming majority of the estimated 500+ votes cast.

Of note is the "word on the street", that candidate Don Middleton was listed among the top 2 choices on nearly every ballot - Middleton ran a good, clean campaign on a shoe-string budget, and we probably have not heard the last of this high-school teacher.

The ballots themselves had no space to "write-in" a candidate, so any assertion you may hear as to "write-in" votes is patently and unequivocally false - there was no space, and the final tally will only list "Candidate A", "Candidate B", "Candidate C", and "Spoiled". Any mark on the ballot other than an indicated preference or order of preference among the 3 documented candidates printed on the ballot resulted in a "spoiled ballot" (as explained very clearly by the volunteers handing out the ballots) - so there are no write-in votes from yesterdays result, whether for the Enlightened Savage, Daffy Duck, or for anyone else.

Jonathan Denis' candidacy will now be reviewed by the PC party executive, and pending approval he will then be the Tory candidate in an election that will probably be over and done with before March 20th, at the latest.

Wildrose Alliance Comes in Like a Lamb

The Alberta Alliance finally absorbed the fledgling Wildrose Party yesterday, accepting the adoption of the Wildrose constitution and bylaws, formally changing the name of their party from "Alberta Alliance" to "Wildrose Alliance", and electing a new executive. Paul Hinman remains the Alliance leader, and lone sitting MLA.

Supporters of the party are comparing the take-over to the birth of Preston Manning's Reform Party, and get giddy when talking about the impending and imminent collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta. The irony that 500+ people voted in a simple nomination meeting for the (apparently dying) PC's in Egmont on the same day that they held their founding meeting with around 200 attendees seems to be lost on the Alliance faithful. The PC's get 500 from *one riding* to a nomination vote, but they need to be terrified of a party that got 200 from the entire *province* to its founding meeting? Dream big, kids, but know when it's time to wake up and get to work. Paul Hinman, for his part, isn't publicly musing about bringing down the Tories in the next 2 months - he knows better. Perhaps some of the party membership should follow their leader's lead.

The Alliance now has to get to the business of coming up with policies and having the party membership vote on them, and nominating candidates in as many of the province's 83 ridings as possible. With the writ expected in about 4 weeks, here's hoping they've got insomniacs on staff.

Nation, I'm going to be losing myself for the next few days in the literature and public records of the Alberta Liberals, preparing my feature on their party, their policies, what they can realistically hope for coming out of the next election, and how they can improve that result. If anything comes up in the meantime, you can be sure I'll be all over it like a fat kid on a cupcake.

As always, I encourage all of you living and voting in Alberta to get out to meet and talk with the candidates from ALL of the parties in your riding, and ask them about what's important to you - you don't get to elect the Premier, so don't fool yourself. You don't get to vote for a party, so don't lie to yourself. All you can do is vote for the best person to represent you and your area's concerns, and let the electoral chips fall where they may. Blind party loyalty at the cost of good representation and good public policy is the bastardized, corrupted version of democracy and an affront to everyone, in uniform and out of it, who has died so that we can actually go THROUGH these little electoral exercises, rather than just being ruled by those of higher social class, tax bracket, or lineage.

Stay Strong, Nation.

- E.S. (who was a fat kid who loved cupcakes, so spare me the outraged emails, "fat kid lobby")


Anonymous said...

Hello E.S.

There was one attempt at a "write in" candidate. You can guess who.

No one, and I mean no one, counted the number of #2 votes that Don Middleton got.

The counting was over too fast. Less than 500 people came to vote. They were sorted by #1s and that was enough.

She Who Shall Not Be Named In Blogs

Anonymous said...

The 200 at the Wildrose meeting were from all over the province.

500 in Egmont for 3 candidates? Did not the un-named one get 945

Enlightened Savage said...

Anon @ 8:30 - Point well taken. However, any statistician would tell you that the 945 votes would be the first number eliminated when trying to find an average number of voters in provincial nomination races. He Who Shall Not Be Named claimed to have signed up THOUSANDS of members, and only 945 showed up to vote for him when it counted. When those memberships expired, most of the card holders never bothered to sign back up again - telling me that they were hardcore supporters of the ousted candidate, who no doubt would have followed him to the Wildrose Alliance (more on that below), or that they never really cared in the first place - bought a membership, probably never used it, and never renewed it.

Even without the same kind of turn-out as last time, Egmont's nomination race more than doubled the turn-out for a province full of supporters for the Wildrose Alliance. Those 200 would include, one would suppose, a number of The Dark One's alleged THOUSANDS of minions - not enough to get elected as a director, mind you.

The bottom line is, to get elected as the Egmont nominee, Jonathan Denis needed around 250 votes yesterday, and he got them. To get elected as a director of the Alliance, He Who Shall Not Be Named needed around 100 votes - he didn't even get 50.

Anonymous said...

I heard the people were pissed that the (un-named one) went to the PC's and are still bitter and want him to earn their trust and respect back.

I heard he only had 2 days to organize as he was asked last minute to go by Randy Thorsteinson.
To be fair if the dark one organized for weeks and lost then that would indicative of something.

The Dark one said in the media he signed up 2,971 members and got about a 1/3 out. Jonathan Denis whom I actually voted for this time told me he signed up over 1,200 and got a 1/3 out. This seems to be standard in nominations.

As for not winning he came 2nd out of 4 candidates and to be fair he is in the middle of a campaign and I do no think anyone tried to take anything over.

Anonymous said...

Anyone in Politics knows that if you have a good candiadte/spokesman you don't "punish them for leaving" or make them earn your trust and respect back... but if you have a bad/nightmare candidate thats what you tell him. Chances are it will never happen and its an easy way out.

Anonymous said...

Of course no one counted the #2 votes. Denis received a clear majority on the first ballot. But, I've been in enough counting rooms to know that when only 500 ballots are being counted you get a damn good idea who got the #2 votes. Engel's people wouldn't put Denis as her #2, or vice versa.

HWSNBN's true support will be shown in the actual election. He was denied by another party...again. Perhaps he can slink away with his tail between his legs for good after this.

Anonymous said...

500 compared to 200 is apples to oranges. It takes all of 5 minutes to vote, attending a merger meeting is an all-day commitment. Seriously, how many would have come out and voted if it had taken most of the day, or if they had to drive several hours?