So, I put on my strategist hat tonight, and I realized that I could fix all the front runners campaigns. I figure if they hired me as a highly paid consultant I could have them in the big office in City hall by the end of October. So I am doing this all for free, I am telling each candidate how to win the election! They should print this up and use every suggestion I say!
Rob Ford: Rob Ford has become the populist candidate, but he needs to come clean, do a big apology press conference about his past indiscretions with the law, then to go back to his regular campaigning. He is hitting notes with the public, and anyone who wins Scarborough and Etobicoke is destined to become mayor of Toronto. The honest truth is that Rob would never resonate with the downtown types, and that he should write them off with voter apathy and focus on the homeowners in the suburbs who are currently angry with the potholes in their neighbourhoods and what they see as downtown excess. A recent article called Rob the Barack Obama of the campaign, i would personally say he is the George Bush (year 2000 edition), a personable guy who should play up his little guy against the world side, and for the most part it is working. What would i change for Rob, he has to not deny anything, no more hiding. He needs some polishing on the statesman side of things. I'd offer to write some speeches for him, appealing to tax payers sensibility and to getting rid of potholes on roads across the city. Ford is the front runner, he needs to keep his torrid pace and keep hitting his popular notes about waste at city hall. His message to homeowners and taxpayers makes sense, and a lot of people agree with what he says, even if the downtown chatter classes are acting all offended.
In his policies, Ford needs to do a few things. First, he needs to show us where all the waste is, and create a 4 year plan to cut waste at city hall, and maximize taxpayers dollars. Until he does this, a lot of educated professionals will be sceptical of Rod Ford's plans to cut government. I am one of these people. I ask Rob, where are you going to cut? And how do you plan to keep our city running if you are slashing things? It makes perfect sense to me that Ford has to put out some numbers and explanations for his plans this should be his main policy. If he doesn't put out some concrete fiscal management plans it will look more suspicious and amateur as the election looms closer.
Rocco Rossi: Rocco needs to start taking shots at Rob Ford, as well as he has been at Smitherman. Unlike Smitherman, Rocco doesn't have any political baggage for Ford supporters to bring up. Rocco should start calling out Ford as a reason for council being dysfunctional in the past few years. I would go on the attack, and keep pushing yourself as the sane choice for fiscal responsibility. Talk about how you want to make real cuts at city hall, not just superficial ones that Ford will make. Become a real agent of change, Rocco needs to focus on the issues and attack, and get his message out there. I haven't really seen Rocco branding himself as a sane version of Rob Ford. Once again, he needs to hit the suburbs hard, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke are the key to winning the city. Out here is where all the homeowners are, and they tend to vote. Mel proved the key to winning Toronto on a centre right platform was through winning the suburbs, and Rocco needs to do this with his ground game.
Rocco needs to continue to pound away with his message of fiscal responsibility, and he needs to really hit on the issues that are important to the people. The theme of the summer has been disenchantment with establishment at city hall, and Rocco needs to keep playing this up. Since he is in third right now, Rocco should go farther out, and his team should listen to the suburban voters, they are the key to winning the campaign.
George's campaign has seemed to stumble around a lot. The media has not been very kind to his campaign. His policy website is chalk full of ideas for the city, but the average voter doesn't need 50 different ideas bombarded to them in their vision of Toronto. George Smitherman has a perception problem, first off, he is seen as a downtown big city Liberal. He lives downtown, his team is full of these downtown ideas, and often downtown thinkers are at odds with those of us who live in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.
George has to play up his suburban roots, he has to get out of the Toronto Centre mindset and get the pulse of the voters elsewhere in the city. Out here we don't care about bike lanes (I think removing road lanes for bicycles is a bad idea on Jarvis, and I am an avid cyclist), we want roads that aren't filled with potholes, like Lawrence Avenue east of Kennedy. George needs to find a smaller vision to ensure election, he needs to silence the doubters with a more simple message, and keep the big thinking to after the election.
In a nutshell, this is what i think these candidates need to do to win the election. Will they listen to my advice? I doubt it. But they have some serious work to do to win.