The New NDP is the definitive account of the evolution of the New Democratic Party’s political marketing strategy in the early twenty-first century. In 2011, the federal NDP achieved its greatest electoral success – becoming the official opposition under Jack Layton’s leadership. David McGrane argues that the key to the party’s electoral success of 2011 lies in the moderation of its ideology and modernization of its campaign structures. Those changes brought the party closer to governing than ever before but ultimately not into power. McGrane then poses a difficult question: Was remaking the NDP message and revitalizing its campaign model the right choice after all, considering it fell to its perennial third-party spot in 2015? The New NDP examines Canada’s NDP at a pivotal time in its history and provides lessons for progressive parties on how to win elections in the age of the internet, big data, and social media.
1 Ferment in the Party: The Federal NDP, 2000–03
2 The Rise of Party Headquarters: Internal Party Organization
3 Imposing Discipline and Order: The NDP inside the House of Commons
4 Dare to Dream: Campaign Strategies, 2000–15
5 Continuity and Change: The Ideology and Policies of the NDP
6 Stealing Market Share: Electoral Market Segmentation and the NDP, 2000–11
7 Heartbreak: Voter Behaviour and the 2015 Federal Election
8 Which Way Now?
Appendix A: List of Semi-Structured Interviews
Appendix B: Canadian Election Studies, 2000–11 and Ipsos-Reid Exit Polls, 2006–11
Appendix C: 2015 Canadian Federal Election Panel Survey on Social Democracy
Notes; References; Index
David McGrane is an associate professor of political studies at St. Thomas More College and the University of Saskatchewan. He is the author of New Directions in Saskatchewan Public Policy (2011) and Remaining Loyal: Social Democracy in Quebec and Saskatchewan (2014). He is a past president of the Prairie Political Science Association, chair of the Political Action Committee of the Saskatoon and District Labour Council, and past president of the Saskatchewan NDP.
In a climate of growing challenges to democratic integrity, understanding ourelectoral system is particularly important. This book’s strengths enhance public comprehension, and its gaps open pathways for further investigation.
~Lori Williams, Alberta Views
[The author], an NDP insider, describes the party’s slow but steady climb back under Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair until, after 2011, it was the Official Opposition and a government in waiting. Then in 2015, everything fell apart. The book is like a forensic accountant’s analysis of a startup’s path from concept to riches to bankruptcy.
~Crawford Kilian, The Tyee
A new book about the New Democratic party offers exceptional insights into the party’s evolution from an undisciplined ideological group to a political marketing powerhouse. Current leader Jagmeet Singh and his strategists should pick up a copy, and quick.
The New NDP: Moderation, Modernization, and Political Marketing is a rare inside look at how a Canadian political party expands and retracts. It is a thorough examination of how the NDP operated under leader Alexa McDonough and transformed
Ultimately the reader-friendly manner in which he presents an astounding array of data should make The New NDP required reading for NDP strategists. Judging by public opinion polls, it would be in their best interest to consult it sooner rather than later.
~Alex Marland, The Hill Times
McGrane’s dogged research and sincere devotion to this subject allows his work to fill an important void regarding the recent political history of Canada’s party of social democracy.
~Chuck Deshaies, American Review of Canadian Studies
In The New NDP, David McGrane weaves a highly engaging and convincing narrative of the party’s trajectory from third party status, to official opposition and then dashed hopes of forming government in 2015. Although the study offers important new insights to the literature on the NDP, its empirical richness and methodological rigour make it an authoritative account of how modern campaigns are conducted in Canada more generally. The study’s methodological rigour, including the combination of theory with a mixed methods approach that draws upon a remarkable range of original data, establishes a high standard for future research in this field.
~Prize Jury, 2020 Donald Smiley Prize
Donald Smiley Prize, Canadian Political Science Association