And remember, it's not just paid-up members of the Liberal Party who will vote. As many as 90,000 "supporters" or non-members of the party are eligible, and their influence will swamp the 35,000 actual members eligible to vote.
Many of those "supporters" have been herded into the race by activist groups such as Avaaz or LeadNow who have endorsed Murray because of her idea of electoral co-operation. These groups don't care if the government is Liberal, New Democrat or Green so long as it's not Conservative. Kicking out the Conservatives is the one goal above all for these Harper-haters and they're solidly behind Murray.This notion of "swamping" the members is a little too pejorative. This, after all, is the system that Liberal members overwhelmingly chose in early 2012 at the Biennial policy conference. The whole point of the race was to engage Canadians, there was much talk at the time of creating a Liberal movement. So the fact that candidates have indeed reached out to bring in new supporters - and connect with Canadians - was contemplated and this is a good, welcome thing according to the party's own rules.
Second, the motives ascribed to these groups is also a little skewed. The motivation for involvement is not entirely anti-Harper. Many have been bandying the anti-Harper thing about as if it's bad. I for one do not agree. To be anti-Harper means a lot, policy-wise, on many fronts, be they environmental, economic, social. It's a galvanizing political force. But back to the point - these groups actually do care very much about democratic reform and electoral reform in particular. Like many Liberals do. And if they are choosing Joyce Murray, it is because of her commitment to electoral reform that she has prioritized since the outset of the leadership race.
As Mario Canseco of Angus Reid stated in a brief but insightful interview snippet on CBC's The House this weekend, this is a constituency that has been created for the party.
It's not all about the hate at all. It's about a reform current that is swirling in Canada and that has been hastened by this government's muzzling, stifling, and abuse of democratic institutions.
And who is to say that many members of these constituencies would not stay with a Liberal party, ideally led by Murray in my view, who follows through on their commitments? There is much in the realm of possibility to be embraced by the party. Party finances are being eroded, it's a new era in Canadian politics. Connecting with Canadians in such manners is a new politics. Murray has shown that she gets that, during this campaign.
Otherwise, interesting piece.
Update: One more thought. When you create a motivated pool of voters who will show up for you, due to their deep convictions, attack ads and various considerations surrounding them become a lot less important.