Christy Clark’s victory over the BC Liberal’s ‘old boys network’ last Saturday must be scaring the shit out of the NDP. Christy Clark is a shrewd politician. She won the leadership of the BC Liberal party with only one MLA backing her. The power elite of the party shut her out yet somehow she managed to connect with enough members of the Liberal Party to support her bid for the leadership. She has campaign ability.
So why is she dangerous to the NDP? First of all, even though Clark has a past in politics and indeed the Gordon Campbell government she has been gone long enough that she is not stained to the same degree that Kevin Falcon, George Abbott and Mike de Jong would be. She is not implicated with the improper imposition of the hated HST. Basically she is not the face of the BC Liberals that the NDP thought they would face in the next election.
Christy Clark is fresh. She is a new face for the BC Liberals. She ran an engaged campaign using social media. She is young and an active parent so she resonates well with other parents. Her family first agenda and hopefully the addition of a family holiday for February will resonate well. Clark is charismatic and she is able to command a room unlike other female politicians.
For the NDP, Clark is a huge threat. She is everything that Carole James was not. Clark sounds passionate when James would have sounded shrill. With James being gone now and her likely successor will be a man, the BC Liberals will look much more contemporary and in tune with British Columbians.
Clark also has the opportunity to catch the NDP off guard. She could call a quick election that could catch them unaware. They will need time to come together after their leadership campaign. If the campaign is divisive, which they often are, it could take them even longer. Clark and the BC Liberals have a clear advantage here.
The NDP are going to have to generate some ‘buzz’ around their leadership campaign, which has been largely over-shadowed by the Liberals. Their new leader is going to have to distance themselves quickly from Carole James and show that the NDP is ready to take on the BC Liberals. What looked like a sure-fire victory for the NDP is now anything but sure. If the NDP does not plan well they may find themselves in Opposition for another 4 years.