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The election is Andrew Scheer’s to lose — and here’s why he just might

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Andrew Scheer is probably aware that the Liberal party has handed him a gift: it’s the next election, all wrapped up in bright, shiny paper, with ribbon around it and a bow on top.

It’s not his yet. The gift is there, alluring in its availability, sitting on a pedestal waiting to be claimed.

He just hasn’t quite figured out how to seize it.

That the SNC-Lavalin affair has burst the balloon that was Justin Trudeau’s reputation is unquestioned. The Liberal caucus and party devotees may continue to deny it, but they have no choice. The party is so bound up in the person of its leader that if Trudeau sinks, the entire operation goes with him. That’s the consequence of an organization that has made a practice of delegating its fate to whoever happens to have won its top job. We saw that in the decade of searching that preceded Trudeau: the Liberal party doesn’t know what it is until a strong personality comes along to tell it.

So everything depends on Trudeau somehow cleaning away enough of the stain produced by his rancid performance of the past two months, and crafting a platform that can convince voters to give his gang another chance. It won’t be the hope and change campaign of 2015 (because it’s not 2015), but maybe with enough spending, some artful subterfuge and a poor performance by his opponents, the badly wounded prime minister can pull it off.

He’ll need help, however, and Scheer will have to play his part in that. Thus far, the shift in public support for his Conservatives probably derives mainly from disgust at the Liberals rather than affection for the Tories. Some of........

© National Post