Friday, October 12, 2007

The Mistake Of The Yes Side

Your heart has to go out to those who were supporting mixed member proportional (MMP)in the Ontario referendum. They had an option they believed would dramatically improve democracy in Ontario. It is very hard to see that defeated.

For the most part, they ran a good campaign - certainly the more sophisticated campaign. They had a better website, better literature, the only television ads, etc. On their television ads, however, I think they were an excellent introduction, setting the stage for people to consider a change. But they never drove home the specific value to the individual for this change. But I also think that this was only a minor point in the whole campaign.

The biggest mistake the 'yes' side made was getting off message. It seemed like any time someone prominent made a criticism about MMP the yes side was there to demand a retraction. First, that looked amateurish. Second, all that did was draw attention to weak points of MMP - and there are weak points. So when John Tory referred to the list candidates as "appointed" the yes side was quick to criticize and demand an apology. So first there was a quote from Tory near the end of an article about appointed candidates. Then thanks to the yes side the story was repeated the next day except in an article unto itself. And they repeated this process a few times. The truth is, no matter how much the yes side disagrees, it is possible for rational people to fairly describe the list candidates as appointed - that's why you had the likes of the Toronto Star, John Tory, etc. saying just that. Then the yes side went into the major lobby campaign to get all the parties to commit to a democratic process for the selection of their candidates. Once they achieved that they thought they had won that point. No, actually they only drew more attention to it. And besides, no one believes any process within the parties will truly and always be democratic.

I have run campaigns before, and been involved in dozens. The truth is that every campaign has its weaknesses and your opponents are going to capitalize on them. Your energy needs to be spent on their weaknesses and your strengths. There is even a strategy, which I have used, that you attack your opponents strengths. Whichever of these strategies you believe, one thing you do not do is focus on your weaknesses. And that is what the yes side ended up doing throughout most of the campaign.

(On Monday I will do an assessment of the Citizens Assembly)

7 comments:

Abdul-Rahim said...

Great assessment. I've heard a lot that their major failure was not making enough people aware of what it was. ''And besides, no one believes any process within the parties will truly and always be democratic.'' Definatly a good line

Anonymous said...

I supported mmp and could not believe the pro mmp campaign. They generated a lot of negative coverage that only confused people. The focus was all wrong.

Anonymous said...

Your right about the campaign analysis but this was not the reason for failure. It was doomed before it began.

MMP didn’t fix the problem that concerned citizens were talking about after the last election and continue to talk about today; voter apathy. From the moment that the Citizens Assembly landed on proportionality they created a solution to a problem that very few actually thought was the problem.

It made for great debate, list members, track records, minority representation, confidence votes, and coalitions vs. minorities. But the debate was a debate engaged by, for and with faithful voters.

The Yes side was presented with the challenge of trying to convince the 50’ish percent of folks who do vote in our first past the post system (I would assume this means they think it has value) to pick another system. Or more on target try to get the non-voters to vote. Had the proposal been something that this giant group of citizens saw as THE reason they had, in the past, failed to cast a ballot, logic dictates they would have this time.

Anonymous said...

u suck ass

Winston jemmy said...

Today people with the help of the online are doing shopping, booking travelling tickets, planning for investments in shares and many more likewise they an also grab money during their emergency requirements with the help of emergency cash loan. In this people remaining at any place at time of any finance sort can easily apply for it and grab money to meet various requirements.Online mode of availing money under this scheme of instent cash loans have made the procedure of availing money more speedier by which in less time one can easily grab money from it.
http://www.paydayloansuk1hr.co.uk/

justin bell said...

Hi,
The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do! Thanks

need cash quick bad credit
cash loans 12 months

Lars bay said...

Hi Friend,
The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!
Thanks
cash loan for bad credit unsecured bad credit loans