The biggest loser

The election’s biggest surprise was the New Democratic Party’s showing in the Yukon. Despite a growth in support across the country, the…

The election’s biggest surprise was the New Democratic Party’s showing in the Yukon.

Despite a growth in support across the country, the Yukon New Democrats stayed home.

As a result, the party was the territory’s biggest loser, placing fourth behind the fledgling Green Party, an exuberant youthful movement that exceeded expectations.

The Green Party grew. The NDP withered, receiving less than 10 per cent of the territory’s vote.

There’s no glossing over the fact the once powerful election machine, built by Tony Penikett and Audrey McLaughlin and Piers McDonald, is now a wreck.

That must give territorial New Democrat Leader Todd Hardy and other prominent New Democrats a case of the cold sweats.

Clearly something is wrong.

The NDP in the Yukon has fallen to fringe status.

This is not the fault of Ken Bolton, a smart, credible candidate.

But he was a one-man show working a sprawling riding with no backup.

And that’s the troubling part.

Clearly the party has lost touch with its base, the party moderates who worked the election, canvassing, calling — identifying the vote and driving it to the polls.

The party executive and leadership can no longer ignore the fact it has alienated its supporters.

If it wants to survive, it must figure out why.

That’s not going to be easy, but it’s essential if it is ever going to fix its significant problems.

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