|B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan on election night|
After so many disastrous electoral battles which saw left-wing candidates trounced by conservatives posing as the "safer" option, particularly when it comes to managing the economy, I had my doubts about the electability of leaders like Bernie Sanders. Hence, why I and many other moderate progressives felt more comfortable backing Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination last year or Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister in 2015.
But Clinton's defeat including her inability to win over angry, middle-class white voters in rust belt states gave credence to Bernie Sanders' message: progressives need to do a better job at connecting with working class peoples' lives and shed the stench of elitism that has taken over too many party establishments.
We'll never know if Sanders might've been able to win over those votes Clinton lost to Trump.
But Sanders' message and progressive or, dare I say it, socialist policies designed to diminish the gap between the rich and poor, not ignore or widen it, and help out the working and middle classes instead of governing just for the top 1%, may have much wider appeal.
The British Columbia New Democrats under leader John Horgan just this week did something that party has failed to do in 16 years: connect with voters and almost topple the conservative B.C. Liberals. At the same time, the B.C. Greens also pushed policies of fairness, equity, and democratic reform, including removing the stench of big money from politics. Together, both parties increased their support in B.C. from a combined 48% in 2013 to a combined 57% this week and now they hold the majority of seats between them, barring recounts in the very tight election.
Despite B.C.'s buoyant economy and Premier Christy Clark's message not to shake the boat, B.C. voters did some major shaking.
So while the NDP didn't take it over the top, they made big gains and may indeed find themselves in government there soon as I'm sure Horgan will continue to push his message that province needs a government more in tune with ordinary people's needs. This is instructive for progressives going forward.
The B.C. result followed the massive victory in France last weekend of centrist reformer Emmanuel Macron over right-wing racist Marie Le Pen. Yes, centrists have long proven their ability to beat conservatives.
But now the B.C. NDP and Greens have taught us that unabashed left-wing platforms can also win wide support and topple nasty, elitist, out-of-touch conservatives, or at least reduce their power too.
If Jeremy Corbyn manages somehow to turn things around for his Labour Party in the U.K. ahead the June 8th election, it'll redefine what's possible for progressive, left-wing parties the world over. I'll be watching very closely.