Yesterday when the Straight revealed that Tamara Taggart is seeking a federal Liberal nomination, it led to a bunch of chatter on social media.
Some said that the former CTV News at Six anchor wasn't qualified for the job; others congratulated her for putting her name forward; and one person condemned me for writing a fawning article.
Perhaps it's because I mentioned that Taggart was a recipient of the Order of B.C. for her volunteer work on behalf of kids with disabilities and for health charities.
But so far, there hasn't been a great deal of analysis about why Liberals would encourage Taggart to seek a nomination in what's become the NDP fortress of Vancouver Kingsway. The incumbent MP, Don Davies, has won three consecutive elections.
In the Trudeau-Liberal landslide of 2015, Davies still won the seat by more than 8,000 votes over his Liberal challenger, Stephen Kou.
Davies took Vancouver Kingsway by more than 10,000 votes in 2011 before a redistribution that slightly changed the riding's boundaries.
Even with the NDP's relatively low support in national polls, it's hard to imagine Davies being defeated, should he run again.
Soccer moms can make or break political leaders
So what gives? Why turn someone with a high public profile and a great deal of popularity, like Taggart, into potential political cannon fodder?
Here's my theory: this mother of three has tremendous appeal to some suburban mothers, who can be a decisive force in North American elections.
These so-called "soccer moms" are sometimes too busy juggling work, commuting, and shuffling their kids to different activities to pay a great deal of attention to politics between elections.
But they are a potent force on voting day.
In an August article in the New Republic, academic Lily Geismer pointed out that rather than simply appeal to suburban soccer moms, Democratic Party strategists began recruiting them as candidates this year.
Writing on the National Public Radio website last April, political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben pointed out that college-educated women in the suburbs have swung away from the Republicans and are now supporting the Democratic Party.
The federal Liberals under Trudeau have tried to fashion themselves as Canada's equivalent of the U.S. Democrats. And Trudeau's 2015 victory was rooted in his success in the suburbs of Canada's largest cities, including Vancouver.
The Liberals hold all the seats on the North Shore and in Delta and Surrey. They have MPs representing part of Langley and Coquitlam. And it's largely because of the support that Trudeau's party received in the last election from new Canadians, suburban women, and younger voters.
I suggest that running Tamara Taggart in Vancouver Kingsway would help the Liberals consolidate their support in some of those suburbs, given her celebrity and her history of advocacy for kids with disabilities.
The fact that she's a cancer survivor—and has helped raise money to fight this disease—will boost her appeal among so-called suburban soccer moms.
Moreover, suburban viewers make up the bulk of mainstream media TV viewership in Metro Vancouver. That's possibly where her greatest appeal resides.
So even if Taggart obtains a Liberal nomination and loses to Davies in Vancouver Kingsway, Trudeau might still come out the winner.
Isn't that what politics is all about?More