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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/23/15

Hey Democrats, Don't Pull an NDP -- Run as Progressives

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

Canada, if you haven't heard, will soon have a new prime minister.

His name is Justin Trudeau, he's 43-years-old, and his Liberal Party came out on top in Monday's national elections, ending the Conservative Party's nine-year-long stranglehold over Canadian politics.

No one saw this coming.

Back in August when current Prime Minister Stephen Harper first called for early elections, the Liberals were getting trounced in the polls by the historically much more left-wing New Democratic Party, or NDP.

At that time it really looked like the Liberals -- Canada's so-called "natural governing party" -- were on the cusp of losing yet another election.

But then something weird happened.

As summer turned to fall, the NDP abandoned its progressive values and started moving to the right.

The most obvious policy shift involved the budget.

Even though everyone in Canada was sick and tired of the Conservative government's austerity policies, the NDP made balancing the budget -- AKA more austerity -- a big part of its campaign platform.

The idea was to hit back against the right-wing smear that the NDP is bad with money, but as Joshua Ostroff points out in a piece for The Huffington Post, "After years of austerity measures, that rightward turn... felt to many like a betrayal of party values in search of a few votes."

Meanwhile, as the NDP moved right, the historically "centrist" Liberals moved to the left. They started calling for more economic stimulus, higher taxes on the rich, and, you guessed it, legal marijuana.

Since Canada is a center-left nation, the pitch worked. On Election Day, the Liberals won 150 seats and a majority in parliament.

Obviously, the US is not Canada.

Although we share a a common language and a common colonizer, we are two very different countries with two very different political systems.

But even so, there is a lesson here for US liberals if they care to listen.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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