The Anti-Democratic Strategy Of The Jean Charest Campaign

Demonstrably unable to win the support of most CPC members, the Charest campaign is relying on a strategy to win in a way that would likely leave the CPC irreparably fractured.

Much of the Jean Charest campaign for CPC leader has consisted of launching unhinged attacks on Pierre Poilievre, buying into the Trudeau-Liberal worldview, siding with the establishment media, and positioning their candidate as the choice of Conservatives who spend most of their time criticizing actual Conservative policies.

Additionally, Charest repeatedly claims that Poilievre is divisive, even as poll after poll shows that Poilievre is widely popular within the CPC while Charest is the one who divides members.

At the core of the Charest ‘strategy’ seems to be a deeply anti-democratic mindset.

Charest appears angry that Conservatives haven’t embraced his candidacy to the level he expected, and he has pushed Trudeau-style narratives while condescendingly lecturing Conservatives who don’t agree with him.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the strategy he’s relying on to win is all about winning a narrow ‘points-based’ victory while getting demolished in the overall raw vote.

Take a moment to consider Charest’s comments in a recent interview:

“According to the party, leadership campaigns should expect roughly 600,000 eligible members, meaning Poilievre and Brown’s claimed membership sales account for 75 per cent of the leadership contest voters.

“I mean, it is relevant,” Charest said of the membership sales.

“But if you have 10,000 members in one riding, it’s worth 100 points (in the Conservatives’ leadership system) and if you have 100 members in one riding it’s worth 100 points.”

Charest is describing the CPC leadership points system.

However, notice that he himself is talking about winning lots of points by having small numbers of members in key ridings.

His campaign has also said “it’s not about numbers” in terms of membership sales, even though those “numbers” represent real people who bought memberships to support their candidates of choice.

It’s an almost explicit admission that his campaign has failed to win over a critical mass of CPC voters, and that he instead has to rely on the most targeted and narrow victory possible.

We’re not talking about someone getting 49% of the vote to someone else at 51% and narrowly winning. What Charest is discussing is more like losing the popular vote 35% to 65% and still somehow taking over a party.

Hypothetical disaster

As other campaigns announced their membership sales numbers, the Charest campaign still refuses to do so, claiming they will win on points.

This again demonstrates why Charest is such a divisive candidate.

Consider this hypothetical for a moment:

Despite massively losing the overall popular vote to Poilievre, Charest somehow manages to sneak by on points and become CPC leader.

To start with, the party would be horribly divided, as it’s quite possible a significant majority of members would be subjected to a leader they strongly oppose.

Poilievre supporters would rightfully feel that the system had defeated their candidate despite massive grassroots support, and instead allowed the establishment-backed former Quebec Liberal premier to take control of the party.

Having watched Charest demonize Poilievre supporters and Freedom-loving Canadians just as Trudeau did, the CPC would likely see an exodus of supporters leave either to other parties, or simply checking out of the political process all together.

And then, for all the claims that Charest is popular among the general public, the actual evidence demonstrates that Poilievre is more popular both among CPC members and the general Canadian population, meaning the CPC would get no bounce from Charest taking over.

And of course, the Trudeau Liberals and establishment press would then turn against Charest, demonizing him as they demonize all who lead the Conservatives.

The CPC would thus be brutally divided, demoralized, and perhaps irreparably split.

While this is all very unlikely as Charest is way behind in memberships, it’s important to keep it in mind whenever you hear Charest or a member of his campaign claim that he is a unifying candidate. All the evidence shows he would be precisely the opposite, and his embrace of an anti-democratic campaign to try and win the leadership is a cynical and potentially disastrous move.

Spencer Fernando


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