Liam Hehir at the Manawatu Standard hass cast a critical eye over the Labour party and found that they have remarkable similarities to the Republican party in the US….not in policy rather in form.
No analogy is ever perfect but more and more New Zealand’s Labour Party puts me in mind of the political conservatives in the United States Republican Party. Here are four reasons why.
1. It is in thrall to party activists.
Like the Democrats, the Republican Party selects its presidential candidates by way of primary election. This has the acknowledged weakness that primary voters are disproportionately drawn from party activists. Such people tend to have stronger ideological views than the general voting public.
This creates the temptation to pander to primary voters by flaunting one’s ideological purity.
The danger is, of course, that doing that can alienate moderate voters in the general election.
David Cunliffe is popular with the membership and loathed by the public.
2. It appears to be in denial about polling.
In the months leading up to 2012, polls showed Obama firmly in the lead. Conservative pundits were incredulous. After all, it was obvious to them that the incumbent was a spectacular failure. The polls must have been wrong and it was decided that the reason was over-representation of Democrats in polling samples. In their reporting on the polls, allowances were made for this supposed phenomenon.
The next time a poll shows National with a sizeable lead over Labour and the Greens, head over to thestandard.org.nz. This is New Zealand’s foremost Left-wing website and a gathering place for Labour activists – Cunliffe boosters in particular. I can promise you that you will see dismissals of what is apparently either the thousandth “rogue poll” since John Key took over as leader or a subterfuge by the “corporate media” to ensure National stays in power.
This isn’t helped by at least 3 authors at The Standard actually working in Cunliffe’s office…so cognitive dissonance sets in.
3. It is banking on turning out the base.
“What would be the reason that 3 million voters didn’t show up? . . .
“A number of Republicans are tired of moderate nominees. They’ve sent the Republican Party money for years and said: To hell with it. If you’re gonna eschew conservatism, I’m not giving you any money, and I’m not voting for you.”
Those were the words of Rush Limbaugh, popular American radio host and staunch conservative, in the wake of Mitt Romney’s comprehensive defeat at the hands of Obama. Who needs the middle?
If only the Republicans had offered an even more “severely conservative” candidate, those missing voters would surely have risen up to smite Obama!
The sentiment is echoed by proponents of the “missing million” theory of New Zealand politics.
There simply isn’t a missing million.
4. Its weakness is temporary.
There is a tendency to extrapolate present circumstances way out into the future. Both of Obama’s presidential elections set off vicious recriminations within the Republican Party. This prompted speculation as to whether the Republicans would ever win the presidency again – at least without conceding nearly all matters of principle.
If Labour loses this election (which I think is probable), expect to hear much of the same. After all, it has been more than six years since the party has regularly polled close to 40 per cent. It has been closer to 30 per cent most of the time.
They have been hoping on this for a strategy for 7 years now…how is that working out for them?
- Manawatu Standard