With the NDP in this position -- and even ahead of the Conservatives in some surveys -- various media outlets have hurled a series of micro-"scandals" their way that, for the most part, are totally absurd and reek of desperation.
Of greater concern for those who want to see Ford lose, though, is that if the NDP and Conservatives are really neck-and-neck, both with levels of support in the high 30s, the path to a Ford majority is far clearer and more likely than the path to a Horwath one.
In this, the third of our weekly The Left Chapter round-ups we look at this past week's themes, news and developments.
Should Horwath be walking away with this?
While the ONDP has risen rather dramatically in the polls since the writ dropped, there is ample evidence that had they been running on a platform that was more inspiring and was not simply a tiny smidgen to the "left" of the Liberal one they could very well be walking away with this election right now.
For example, as Supriya Dwivedi noted on Global:
A new poll by Ipsos conducted exclusively for Global News has found that a significant number of NDP voters, 46 per cent, are voting for the NDP in order to keep another party out of power. In other words, the NDP is benefitting from the unpopularity of the other two options, and seeming like the least bad option.We have noted this dynamic at play in the past as well.
The difficult path to an NDP victory
Some polls have the NDP slightly ahead, while others have them slightly behind the Conservatives. Another poll has the NDP more significantly ahead. For reasons that will become clear shortly, folks wanting to see Ford stopped had best hope that this last one is the closest to the truth.
According to the CBC's poll tracker the NDP sits at 36.2% while the Conservatives are at 35.7%. Yet despite this the CBC projects a 70% likelihood of a Ford majority if these numbers are accurate.
Éric Grenier's excellent article, What the 1990 election can - and can't - tell us about the Ontario NDP's chances today, which is worth reading in full, outlines this very well:
Despite the relatively close margin between the PCs and the NDP in the polls, the Poll Tracker still heavily favours the PCs to win a majority government.The disturbing reality is that Ford could win a substantial majority with a vote as low as 35-37% while the ONDP is very unlikely to.
This is because the PC vote is more efficient — the party has a better base of support and is ahead in the Greater Toronto Area, where nearly half the seats in the province are located.
The projections suggest that for the New Democrats to win even a slim majority, they may need a lead of three to five points over the PCs provincewide.
In 1990, however, the New Democrats won a comfortable majority — nearly 40 seats ahead of Peterson's Liberals — despite beating the Liberals in the popular vote by only five per cent.
One of the factors contributing to the NDP's 1990 majority win (something even Rae at the time didn't see coming) was the presence of two small right-wing parties.
The Family Coalition and the Confederation of Regions (COR) parties combined for nearly five per cent of the vote provincewide in 1990. In 11 ridings, the combined vote of the Family Coalition and the COR was greater than the margin between the losing PC and winning NDP candidates.
Had enough of these votes gone to the PCs instead, the NDP would have fallen just short of a majority. The split on the right made the NDP's vote more efficient than it otherwise would have been.
Though there are several smaller right-of-centre parties running in this election, none are expected to have the same kind of impact. If they did, the NDP's chances of winning a majority government in 2018 would be better.
Ludicrous NDP "scandals" while the Conservatives face real ones
Various right-wing media outlets across the province, most notably the Toronto Sun, have been seeming to try to derail the NDP's momentum with a variety of absurd micro-"scandals" that are so silly they reek of desperation.
Examples include digging up an allegedly shared meme on Facebook implying that an NDP candidate is sympathetic to Nazism when she very clearly is not, and finding a photo of an NDP candidate holding a sign at a rally a decade ago that read "Fuck the Police" -- a sentiment which many people, especially in marginalized and racialized communities have had every reason to express over the years, though Horwath and her candidate, of course, disavowed it.
These alleged "gotcha" moments are isolated and either from many years ago or taken out of context and mean quite a bit less than, say, The Ford family’s history with drug dealing as outlined in a Globe and Mail expose in 2013 or a Conservative candidate saying "I think if someone wants to open a business and only hire people of one race...I think they should have that right" as recently as 2015.
Meanwhile, right now during the election an "Ontario PC Candidate Shares Theory Linking Schools and Hospitals to Secret ‘Globalist’ Conspiracy" while another "Carleton PC candidate says she doesn't believe climate change is man-made".
Further, of course, we saw the "Liberals claim Ford participated in 'bogus' membership sales, intimidated a PC nominee", which is a very serious allegation. This led to the farce of "Doug Ford dodges journalists before fleeing Brantford event through the back door".
I think to an objective observer it is perfectly clear which are the "scandals" actually worth paying attention to.
Buck a beer
You know a campaign is both very concerned and reaching low when:
The tweet and meme was met, rightly, with considerable derision.
Doug Ford releases detailed platform
Dumbest move of the election award
Memo to anyone, from any party, running anywhere, ever...this is something you should never do:
Liberal candidate crashes NDP Leader Andrea Horwath campaign event in Etobicoke
Further news/articles of interest about the campaign:
Letter from the Co-Chairs of the Danforth Jewish Circle, Multifaith Committee about NDP candidate Tasleem Raiz
This White Nationalist Says Doug Ford is Sending Him Anti-Immigrant ‘Dog Whistle’ Messages
Horwath announces three weeks of paid vacation for full-time workers
Ontario election path to victory runs through the 905
See also: Horwath rises as Ford stumbles and other news -- The Left Chapter Ontario Provincial Election Roundup Week Two