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Americans don’t always pay attention to things happening in Canada, but conservatives seeking office next year might want to take a closer look at recent events in Alberta.
“The left-wing New Democratic Party, which has governed Alberta since 2015, was recently replaced quite decisively by a united conservative party,” explains Kelly Sloan, a public affairs consultant and fellow at Denver-based Centennial Institute.
The results were not even close. In fact, the United Conservative Party swept 66 of the province’s 87 “ridings” – which is what Canadians call legislative seats.
“There’s a political lesson [here], which is all about unity,” says Sloan, who happens to be a native of Calgary. “We on the right are kind of notorious for not getting along with each other.”
Sloan believes that recent U.S. political history shows that conservatives succeed when they fuse.
“You’re probably familiar with the fusionist movement back in the 50s and 60s,” he continues. “[The leaders of that movement] looked at the landscape at that time and realized that there was no way that conservatives – split as they were – were going to have any kind of political success.
“So the traditionalist, libertarian, and anti-communist wings got together, put their differences behind them … and it ended up with the election of Ronald Reagan as president.”
Sloan adds that conservatives can’t allow everyone in the camp.
“One of the successes of the fusionist movement was not only uniting the major wings, but making sure that we rejected the anti-Semites, the extremists, that kind of thing,” he explains. “In Alberta, in order to achieve political success, the right had to stay united.”