In October 2016 Jane reviewed Noah Richler’s book, The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, a candid recounting of his 2015 federal run for the NDP. Reflecting on her own experience as a municipal candidate, she explores the ups, downs and madness inherent in running for office.
Most books about elections are written by the strategy folks or journos who worked the campaigns, the Tom Flanagans, John Duffys, Susan Delacourts and John Laschingers. They tell a compelling story, about the pugilism, the smoke-filled back rooms, the sense of destiny. But a book like Richler’s is important for the details it shares about not having the right stuff, for the glimpse of contemporary party politics—central control, toadyism and all—seen with an insouciant freshness. NDP supporters watched their party let the Liberals take page after page from their progressive playbook in the last election: reintroducing the long-form census, running deficits, meeting with the premiers, introducing child care and affordable housing. Richler pulls back the curtain on how some of that played out for the candidates.
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