The Good Doctor @ryanmeili Goes Viral #skndpldr #skpoli

There’s been more than one observer who’s pointed out that the current Sask NDP leadership race is “boring”.

I’ll admit that I’ve occasionally had the same thought (and I will also admit that I have considered doing a blog post hypothesizing what a more bare knuckles, US-style NDP leadership campaign would look like.  Hint: It would definitely have a scene where Ryan-as-Bernie stands on a debate stage and says “The Saskatchewan people are tired of hearing your damned ice fishing!” to Trent-as-Hillary.) 😉

But I think there’s a few good reasons the race has been “boring”:
* The two candidates are often in “vigorous agreement” about matters of policy
* Both candidates are very likeable and kind in general
* They also know that they have to work together at the end of this race

Still, there are moments that make this race exciting, at least to me…

Ryan questioning Trent’s decision to go against NDP policy and accept corporate and union donations during their first debate at the NDP convention in October 2017 after pointing out that the leadership race was the perfect opportunity for a “dry run” of this policy was perhaps the first “oh no, he didn’t!” moment of the campaign (and got a pretty good response, both from the crowd at the debate and via online feedback as well.)

However you feel about the man himself, former federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair endorsing Ryan was another development that felt like a big moment.

(I’m less certain about the impact of the endorsement of Trent Wotherspoon by the Sask NDP’s last leader, Cam Broten which might be the biggest “name” endorsement Trent’s gotten but, depending on how that’s received by the membership who probably still have bad nightmares about the 2016 election, could actually backfire on Trent?)

Another subtler “big moment” happened (I know – contradiction in terms!), during the debate at the University of Saskatchewan the other night.

Ryan made a point about opposition to safe injection sites being misguided since we all have unsafe injection sites in our neighbourhoods and communities (if you’re not finding needles on your front lawn, you still might stumble across them near where you work or where your kids play, in a relative’s basement, by a grocery store or even at your local library.)

His campaign tweeted this out and it went viral immediately – with over 300 Retweets and nearly 700 Likes on Twitter plus another 300+ engagements on Facebook as I type this.

This tells me (and anyone watching) a few things:
* Ryan is able to craft compelling messages that resonate with a broad audience, even on controversial subjects
* The field’s a lot narrower with only two candidates in the race but Ryan’s once again dominating the ever-growing-in-importance world of social media
* In terms of who I want to lead a progressive movement, Ryan truly “walks the walk” in a way few other NDP leaders even have. For example, right-wing trolls quickly jumped on this tweet/FB post with the usual “Yeah, how about a safe injection site in your neighbourhood?” counter argument.  Except someone who works with Ryan was able to respond that, actually, Ryan *does* live about a block from an addictions treatment centre and so he *is* leading by example, just as he does with so many other progressive values.

(It remains to be seen whether that troll will also lead by example and apologise for his baseless attack.  Somehow I doubt it!)  🙂

Anyhow, here’s the viral tweet in question…

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