At today’s NDP platform launch, most of that party’s downtown Toronto MPPs – including Rosario Marchese, whose riding it was in – were notable for their absence.
— Robert Benzie (@robertbenzie) May 22, 2014
No doubt, some of them had other commitments. But the symbolism was still a little difficult to ignore.
The Liberals are currently telling anyone who will listen that they think they could all but wipe the New Democrats out of Toronto’s core, where Andrea Horwath’s party currently holds five seats. That may be a bit of a stretch: It would be an incredible upset if Peter Tabuns lost Toronto-Danforth, the riding that was represented federally by Jack Layton. But Mr. Marchese (Trinity-Spadina) and Jonah Schein (Davenport) have big targets on their backs, while Michael Prue (Beaches-East York) and Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) at least seem to be facing tougher fights than they did last time.
If any of those MPPs do lose their seats, it will largely be because Ms. Horwath made a conscious decision to stop playing to core NDP voters in urban ridings – a demographic that Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne seems to play well with – and shift to a populism aimed more at southwestern and northern Ontario, and perhaps suburbia.
If the downtown MPPs hold on, it will probably have more to do with their personal brands and local popularity than with Ms. Horwath or the pitch she’s making. That’s why some of them – Mr. Tabuns, for instance – are using campaign literature that scarcely mentions their leader. And it might explain why they weren’t exactly clamouring to be alongside her on her big morning, either.