What's Saving Christy Clark's Political Career? Uncertainty

If you can set aside any partisan feelings for a bit, let’s game out Christy Clark’s future.

When the interests of a party and its leader align, everything is hunky dory.

When they go out of alignment, watch out!

Ironically, right now the BC Liberals interests are most strongly aligned with Clark based on how precarious things are in the legislature and whether there is a snap election. There’s just not enough space to part company until those things resolve themselves.

Under any condition of stability, though, those interests diverge.

Christy Clark polls far behind the BC Liberals as a party in terms of popularity, so if you are a party strategist you would much prefer to fight the next election with a new leader.

(Incidentally, you would also probably prefer to fight the next election free from the narrative that you are beholden to big donors rather than voters, so for that reason campaign finance reform seems inevitable even should the BC Liberals govern with a majority).

If the absentee ballots give the BC Liberals another seat, they can just barely function as a government again, and the question becomes whether the Liberal caucus then feels enough stability to hold Clark accountable for recent losses and moves to replace her.

Or, should the Greens decide to withhold confidence in the BC Liberals and let the NDP govern for a while, the same logic arises for the Liberal caucus, with the added anger at Clark of losing government.

Clark’s best hope at survival is keeping her caucus on a knife’s edge of uncertainty so that they don’t move to replace her, and then for a quick new election where the flush BC Liberals get to dominate their broke rivals and cruise back to a real majority.

(Another aside: the best strategy for the NDP and Greens in that scenario is some form of electoral pact to neutralize their fatal money problem, but that’s for another day).

It’s a delicate high wire act for Clark, with the probability that any one of the three Green MLAs holds her political future in their hands in a legislature with a one vote margin.

We’ll know more early next week when the absentee ballot results come in.



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