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")