So you’re a politician or a political staffer and thinking of switching parties. It doesn’t have to end in total disaster. Here’s a handy scoring system to guide your deliberations.

For politicians (start with 100 points):

  1. Has your party recently rejected you for an important role? Take a point off for each media story that mentions that rejection.
  2. Is the current leadership situation stable? Subtract 10 points for each year your leader and the leader of the party you are going to have been in their position.
  3. Will your floor crossing be a surprise? Add 20 points if you subject yourself to a democratic process between the time you announce your intention and the time you actually cross. Add another 20 points if that democratic process succeeds. Add 10 points if you subject yourself to such a process within three months after crossing and another 10 if you succeed.
  4. Will you significantly improve your electoral prospects? Subtract the average poll result of the party you are going to minus the average poll result of the party you left over the last six months.
  5. How many colleagues are joining you? Add half the percentage of your caucus that is coming with you, not including yourself.
  6. Have you ever run for the leadership of your current party? If yes, subtract 20 points.
  7. Have you recently given an eye-popping donation to the party or leader of the party that you are leaving? Divide the amount of the donation by the square of the number of months that have passed since you gave it. Subtract that amount.

If you score above 50, you might be ok.

For political staffers (start with 100 points):

  1. Have you held political jobs with the following words in your job title: Chief, Deputy, Director, Senior, Special, Policy or Communications? Take 10 points off for each time one of these words have appeared on your business card. Score separately for staff and campaign positions.
  2. Has your party recently rejected you for an important role? Take a point off for each media story that mentions that rejection.
  3. Did your political work have profile? Google your name and your political party and take one point off for each five hits that reference your political work.
  4. Call David Akin, Paul Wells, Steven Chase and John Ivison and leave a message saying “Hey, it’s Jane/Joe Staffer calling and I’ve got something you need to know about my [current or former] boss.” (Call before 9 am. It will go straight to voicemail.) Take off 10 points for each return call or email you get within 4 hours and 5 points for each return call or email within 36 hours.
  5. Did you recently leave your last political role? Add five points for each year above five.
  6. How often do you talk to your leader? Take ten points off for each conversation you have had with your party leader in the last 24 months.

If you score above 50, you might be ok.

 

KB
Ken Boessenkool is a founding partner in Kool Topp & Guy Public Affairs. He has worked for, or volunteered in a senior capacity, for Ray Speaker, Preston Manning, Jim Flaherty, Stockwell Day, Jim Dinning, Stephen Harper, Christy Clark and Ric McIver. He has published with the CD Howe Institute, AIMS, the Centre for the Study of State and Market at the University of Toronto, the Fraser Institute, Canada West Foundation and the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

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