Monday, April 18, 2011

Federal Election history 18, 19, 20: 1935, 1940,1945: King's Mixed Pickles

King wins majority; King wins majority; King wins majority -- doesn't sound too exciting.

The first was an easy run against R.B. Bennett's vast unpopularity. King ran against the "iron heel of ruthlessness" against Bennett's one-man show, but John Duffy notes the Liberals also focussed on their own one-strong-leader ("it's King or Chaos!") and "took to a new level the role of the leader in winning an election."

The end of the two-party system was far advanced.  Both Social Credit and the CCF took seats in 1935.  And another lasting reality grew from that: the winning party built a honkin' majority (173 of 245) from just 44% of the popular vote.

1940: wartime election, unprepared opposition leader, King's finessing of the conscription issue: an even bigger Liberal majority -- and 54% of the popular vote.

1945:  Liberal majorities are always built on the left, example two (#1? See 1926 below).  With the CCF high in the polls, King adopts a slew of progressive social and economic policies for postwar reconstruction, and he saves his majority. But just barely: 125 of 245 seats.
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