The Conservative Party is targeting Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae with an attack ad.
This probably strikes a lot of people as odd. After all, on the surface going negative against the leader of a third place party, three years before an election, makes zero strategic sense. So at best the Tory strategy seem like a waste of resources and at worst like mindless, nastiness.
But what if the anti-Rae ad really isn't about hurting Rae? What if it's really designed to hurt the NDP? Well, if that's the case then the Tory attack ad makes perfect sense. And indeed, I believe that is the case.
But. you might be asking, how could an ad going after a Liberal leader possibly harm the NDP?
It's simple. By attacking Rae from the right, as they do in this ad, the Tories are likely hoping left-leaning voters will rally around the embattled Liberal leader. The Conservatives, in other words, want leftists to react thusly: "Hey, if that right-wing, reactionary, robo-calling Prime Minister is so much against Rae, them I am for Rae!"
It's psychology 101.
Naturally, if this ploy works the net result will be to drive "progressive" voters away from the NDP and towards the Liberals. Hence, the anti-Rae ad is really about strengthening the weaker Liberals and weakening the stronger NDP.
And given that the NDP leadership race is coming up this weekend, what better time for the Conservatives to pull such a stunt?