Constituency-level campaigning is the ground game of federal elections. It’s candidates knocking on doors, workers and volunteers pounding signs into front lawns, and chaotic and spirited eleventh-hour get-out-the-vote efforts.
For years, some political observers have dismissed local-level campaigning as a quaint holdover from a time before national leaders’ tours took centre stage in media coverage, and local candidates were subsumed by political party brands and leaders. However, local campaigning is gaining ground once again. The rise of microtargeting electors through social media and the use of big data have centralized local campaigns – but also energized them.
On November 30, 2021, we held a discussion on the vital machinery of local campaigning, the subject of a series of articles called Inside the Constituency-Level Election Campaign in the IRPP’s Policy Options magazine.
The webinar featured experts Erin Crandall, co-editor of What’s Trending in Canadian Politics? Understanding Transformations in Power, Media, and the Public Sphere; Royce Koop, author of Grassroots Liberals: Organizing for Local and National Politics; and Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government for Newfoundland and Labrador, in a discussion moderated by IRPP board member Alex Marland, who led the development of the Policy Options series on local-level campaigning.