Previously, I showed the Conservatives didn't lose the election because the base stayed home or swing voters abandoned them. With more than 5.6 million votes they outpaced their own vote tallies in 2006 and 2008 and only dropped 200,000 votes from 2011.
The problem was that the Liberals increased their vote tally by more than 4M going from 2.7M in 2011 6.9M in 2015. And they did this by bringing in new voters.
When some Conservatives say the party lost because they talked about social issues like the niqab and the tip line, the facts don’t bear that out. Saying ‘don’t campaign on social issues’ is essentially leting the left have an entire playing field to themselves because actually, the left almost only campaigns on social issues. National daycare, bigger pensions, etc. are social issues.
There are economic and reasoned responses to those ideas but the left is only going to campaign on the social side and play to emotion, not reason.
In all my years covering politics I’ve never seen a conservative party campaign on abortion, yet there it is in every campaign, brought up by Liberals and New Democrats to suggest that electing a conservative leaning government will mean the end of abortion.
Trudeau did that last election promising to push provinces to open up to even more abortions, claiming that Conservatives under Stephen Harper would mean ending "a woman's right to chose”, and Harper let him get away with it even though they did nothing to stop abortion in Canada and Harper did everything he could in his own party to stifle debate and not even mention the issue.
Now some Conservatives say it’s time to shove social conservatives out of the party, especially those pesky pro-lifers. Why do that? Is Canada universally pro-abortion? Not at all. Yet neither is it fully pro-life.
Decades of polling shows Canadians don’t want abortion banned but a majority would like some restrictions like most developed countries have. Polling also shows that the public is at least divided about taxpayer money being used for abortions. While campaigning on abortion as a central issue may not be a winning formula, neither is it the death knell that some seem to think.
In this video, I explain why and how Conservatives can win on social issues if they learn to craft the message correctly and learn not to be afraid of them.
People's lives involve more than their income, their bank account, central bank interest rates, GDP and trade numbers. We’re complex people leading complex lives. For political parties that means finding solutions that appeal to all of the aspects of voters lives, not just the number crunching side. Understanding this, can also help draw in new voters.
Conservatives becoming a one issue party focused exclusively on economics may sound like an easy answer to a difficult defeat but it won't lead to victory any time soon.