Elections at any level are challenging to win especially if your party is one trying to hold on to power. In the last two years I have been personally involved in two electoral contests as a campaign worker, one a federal, the other a provincial. In both cases, we went into them with a decent chance of winning if everything went our way. Well, that only happens in a perfect world. That is why I am trying to be simpatico when it comes to understanding why Hillary Clinton and Teresa May recently underperformed to the point of failing to meet their respective objectives as party leaders: one to gain power, the other to consolidate it. The unexpected can happen if one chooses to ignore the signs and continue doing things the same old way hoping that nothing has changed for the worse. Stephen Harper, a very successful Canadian Conservative prime minister was looking for a fourth straight mandate in 2015 based on a strong economy, fiscal responsibility and a weak opposition. Four years of majority rule in Ottawa gave his party a false confidence that Harper had it in him to pull off one more victory, even though there were mounting signs that the country was looking for change, and had some options other than switching to the socialists. With Christy Clark, in 2017, the same scenario existed. The BC Liberals ran on a platform of sustaining a strong economy based on a track record of proven fiscal responsibility, nothing else. We failed to recognize that, in adopting that strategy, we were ignoring the natural fact that after sixteen years in power, Clark’s government may have gone past its political shelf-life. The best people to know that this phenomenon is at work are the party pollsters and workers who make contact with the voter, either by phone or at the door. The problem with a one-tone political platform – regardless of how successful it has been in the past – is that it invariably becomes tone deaf to what has really caught the people’s attention. Parties in power, be they Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats, Republicans or Socialists are generally very flat-footed when it comes to running on anything other than their record. May, in the recent British election which she came within a whisker of not being able to form a minority, made the fatal mistake of calling a snap election assuming the electorate was looking for another term of more of the same stable leadership. What she, like Clinton, Harper, and Clark before her, didn’t figure on was that enough of the electorate was looking for something else that would end up making her eventual victory hollow at best. These four examples of election failure point out the need for majority parties to not only renew leadership but also overhaul platforms that try to answer to political volatility, uncertainty, and growing dissent. In BC the Clark government, one that I still endorse today, failed during its recent mandate to address issues of housing, education, ethics and healthcare to the point of giving its opponents all kinds of ammo for claiming it was out of touch with the needs of the people. Topping the list of concerns, time after time, was the concern that the party might need some time in opposition to find a new leader and direction. With that kind of rebuff, I was surprised to learn on election night how well we actually did in holding the popular vote and the greatest number of seats in the House.