The Hard Part of Politics

One of the easiest things to be in the world is a computer keyboard political strategist.

Any columnist or journalist or blogger can tap out a 750-900 word opus outlining some sort of brilliant plan to fix what’s wrong with politics.

Heck, I could write up a column like that in about twenty minutes; it would start this way: “You know what Canada desperately needs? It needs a new political party that perfectly reflects my personal beliefs. This party would not only be extremely popular, it would also set this country on the path of total goodness and niceness. So let’s make it happen!”

Inspiring, right?

Of course, writing stuff is simple; the hard part comes when you have to take all those lofty-sounding written words and then throw them into the crucible of reality so they can be forged into concrete political action.

And, unlike writers, professional political strategists charged with transforming words into action have to worry about the hard part.

As they say in the military, “Amateurs talk tactics; professionals study logistics.”

So with all that in mind, let’s cast a professional eye on those highly publicized magazine columns Scott Gilmore penned a while ago, the ones in which he called for the creation a new conservative organization.

In case you haven’t heard about this, here’s a quick backgrounder: Gilmore says he’s a Conservative who basically doesn’t like conservatism; hence he wants a new kind of conservatism to emerge, one that’s more like liberalism.

Got it?

Anyway, his columns eventually triggered dinner meetings of pro-Gilmore conservatives across the country, which in turn has inspired pro-Gilmore conservatives to try and create a Gilmore-inspired conservative organization.

As the Hill Times recently reported, “A group of influential Canadian conservatives has been working over the summer to create an organization that will try to pull the Conservative Party closer to the political centre.”

Ok, so Gilmore has inspired some “influential” conservatives to set up a new political entity which is pretty cool, but what about the nitty gritty logistics involved in creating such a group?

For instance, how will they raise the funds necessary to establish this group and then to keep it going?

That’s a key question because raising money is the most difficult job in all of politics and it’s even more difficult for a fledgling political group that lacks a track record of success.

In fact, without a track record, you need a strong resonating emotional message.

A resonating message would be something like: “Dear Conservative, there’s a bad guy out there who’s doing bad things. He’s scary. Join our group, give us money and we will stop him!”

Do the Gilmore conservatives have such a message and if so who is their scary “bad guy”?

Social conservatives? Donald Trump? Andrew Scheer?

Yes, I guess they could all be considered scary, but the people who fear them are probably already supporting the Liberals or some other left-wing group.

Do you see the logistical problem this poses for the Gilmore conservatives?

They’re pinning their hopes on raising money from what’s probably a small political demographic, i.e. conservatives who are anti-conservative.

Sure, such conservatives exist, but they likely don’t exist in large enough numbers to fund a political action group.

And even if they did exist in large numbers, by definition anti-conservative conservatives are non-ideological people and non-ideological people are usually resistant to political fundraising pleas.

In short, raising money will be a big challenge for the Gilmore conservatives and a lack of money means a lack of action.

Like I said, writing about politics is easier than doing politics.

(Note: This column originally appeared in the Ottawa Hill Times.)

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1 Comment on “The Hard Part of Politics

  1. This sounds like the five or six conservative groups who want to recast the Ontario PC Party. There’s some commonality but each is a different shade of blue. If they garner sufficient total numbers, they could hurt conservatism generally. Here’s something to consider for all parties. Times change. The world has had 50 years of Baby Boomer bosses. Now, the Gen Y Millennials, are in charge. They are ‘disrupting’ everything and making our institutions fit their vision. That means that, while it may not be a Scott Gilmore, someone will make significant changes to all existing parties and politics…it’s already happening. Nobody ever said that Conservatives must be conservative anymore than Liberals must be liberal or that New Democrats must be either new or democratic…maybe not even socialists! It’s about winning…and, to quote Coach Lombardi, winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.

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