Quick Thoughts on #ndpldr Candidates’ Strengths, Weaknesses and The Influence of Bernie Sanders On Each of Them

The Federal NDP is in the midst of a leadership race and there is a debate in Saskatoon tonight.

I didn’t watch it.

I haven’t been following the race super closely.

I briefly thought about writing a post where I ranked the four candidates but instead, I thought I’d give a quick review from my somewhat uninformed perspective (which I suspect is similar to many NDP members who are sorta kinda paying attention but not following it like the hardcore politicos):

Charlie Angus – “Got Your Back”
Greatest Strength: I think he’s got the best connection to working class, blue collar voters.  It’s also cool that he was in a punk band which speaks to a certain authenticity as well.
Greatest Weakness: Some have said his French is the weakest of the four but given that I dropped out of French in grade eight, I wouldn’t know about that. 😉
Bernie Sanders Influence: Most resembles a dishevelled old activist that kids will find cool.

Niki Ashton – “Building A Movement, Together”
Greatest Strength: Her campaign is focusing on bringing together various activist groups into a single movement. She also likely has a strong appeal to members who would like to see a female leader.
Greatest Weakness: She’s been perceived as overwrought with how she dealt with elbow-gate and giving in too easy when challenged by a random chapter of Black Lives Matter about her use of a Beyonce lyric.
Bernie Sanders Influence: Candidate who is most clearly trying to model their campaign on Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign in the US.

Guy Caron – “Let’s Build a Progressive and Sustainable Economy”
Greatest Strength: I’m really intrigued by his Basic Income proposal. Is only candidate from Quebec if you believe that’s crucial to electoral success.
Greatest Weakness: Possibly the most generic of the four candidates with no unique “hook” to set him apart?
Bernie Sanders Influence: Candidate most focused on economic inequality as an overriding issue in society.

Jagmeet Singh – “With Love and Courage” 
Greatest Strength: Easily the most intriguing serious leadership candidate for any political party in recent memory.  The only candidate who could out-flank Justin Trudeau’s hip, metrosexual persona.
Greatest Weakness: Perhaps lack of experience in federal politics (although that didn’t hurt Jack Layton when he became leader) or perception that his campaign has made some unforced errors and not been as professional as you’d expect at this level?
Bernie Sanders Influence: Candidate who is part of a minority group (Sanders is Jewish, Singh is Sikh) but trying not to make a big deal about it.

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