Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Federal elections 28, 1968: Trudeaumania

Was Trudeau Diefenbaker ten years later?  Well, no, but from this distance the comparisons between the campaigns of 1958 and 1968 seem salient.

Trudeau, like Dief, began with lukewarm support from the party establishment, but established a personal rapport with the electorate that carried all before it. The election of 1968 was all about Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, his vision, his policies, his personality, his values, much as the earlier one had been about Diefenbaker's.  Result: big majority for the Liberals

But resistance to Trudeau remained greater than resistance to Dief in '58.  The Liberals took 155 of 254 seats, a solid majority but not like Dief's 208.  And they won it with 45% of the vote, against Dief's 53%.

Trudeau surely did more and better with his new authority than Dief.  Despite less parliamentary experience and little more background in administering a large organization, he was both more coherent in policy matters and better at running a government, delegating authority, and remaining flexible in the face of obstacles.  Didn't seem to help him much in 1972, but helped him stay on after.
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