Well folks, there are ass-kickings and then there are ass-kickings. And this is obviously one of the more impressive ones in Newfoundland history. Even the limited success I had forecasted for the opposition parties proved to be generous. I said it would be 40 PCs, 5 Liberals and 2 NDP. Instead we get 43 PCs, 3 Liberals and 1 NDP. And let's be honest, once they hold the special by-election out in central in November, the Tories will have 44 seats. Because if you're voting in a few weeks time, are you going to vote for a decimated opposition or the people who just did the decimating?
Yeah, that's pretty much a no-brainer.
This was pretty much a horror show to watch all evening. It wasn't just the low voter turnout. It wasn't just the fact there were precious few close races. Most of the Tory victors won by not just comfortable margins, but humiliating ones. There were times this evening where I wanted to just walk around the province with a gun and put Liberal candidates out of their misery. It was just the humane thing to do.
No, there's kind of something sad about watching democracy in the province be absolutely dead in Newfoundland and Labrador for the next four years. Oh sure, the arguments are there - democracy just happened. The majority of people in the province went out and voted and nearly 70 per cent of them choose Danny Williams party. That's democracy. The results might not always be pretty or smart, but they are what they are.
And it's hard to blame most people for voting the way they did. The NDP were only competitive in three seats. The Liberals were resorting to throwing warm bodies into some districts just to have a name on the ballot.
Still, there are four opposition members. The NDP may or may not keep their party status. I hope they do, just so they can keep some of their resources and give the opposition a bit of a hope in hell of doing their job. But the people of the province essentially just gave the Tories, and more specifically Danny Williams, free reign of the province. It should be interesting to see what he does with it.
Dear god, the next four years are going to be deeply weird.
By the way, while I appreciate Gerry Reid is deeply hurting this evening, having lost by only a handful of votes and having watch Williams slaughter the party he led like fattened cattle, he'll be glad for it in a few days. Once the pain eases a bit, he'll realize the pain of this evening will be much easier to bear rather than the pain of sitting in the House of Assembly for the next four years with Williams sitting across from him, smug and taunting (the premier is many things. A gracious winner is one of those things he's still working on).
It's roughly the difference between ripping off a band aid and fighting cancer for the next four years. Trust me, Reid will gladly take the band aid in a few days.
sigh...It's a good night to be a Tory. But I wonder if we won't all regret this evening, like a bad one night stand where you get herpes, in a few years time. I don't begrudge the win. But the scope of it is ridiculous. Nothing good can come form an opposition this small.