Friday, August 17, 2012

Nenshi myth or reality?

The FDA question the mythical connotations surrounding Maheed Nenshi election win in the 2010 Calgary Mayoral race. (Nenshi is the 2010 Calgary mayoral winner who received some international attention by the fact that he is a Muslim.) The FDA do not question that Nenshi competed well in the 2010 Election; rather, the FDA question that Nenshi's mayoral win is comparable to David and Goliath or similar analogy. (This post does not evaluate Nenshi's performance as mayor or abilities to be mayor.)

1. There was no incumbent mayoral candidate in the 2010 Calgary mayoral race. An election with an incumbent candidate is generally much harder to win for non-incumbents than an election without an incumbent.

2. Alberta municipal election law does not have a cap on candidate campaign expenditures. This lack of cap allows candidates to separate themselves in terms of fund raising. Nenshi took advantage of this by raising the third most funds of all mayoral candidates:


Total campaign revenue of the 2010 Calgary mayoral candidates (Foundation for Democratic Advancement)

Total contributions over $100 for each 2010 Calgary mayoral candidate (Foundation for Democratic Advancement)

3. Alberta municipal election law has no cap on individual contributions to multiple candidates. Therefore, for example, it is legal in Alberta for an individual to contribute the maximum contribution of $5,000 to three candidates or more. This type of contribution occurred in the 2010 Calgary mayoral election, and it allowed for a large distribution of funds to the front runners (including Nenshi). The cap on individual contributions helps to mitigate the inequality effect from individual contributions to multiple candidates. (In contrast, U.S. federal election law for example has a cap of individual contributions to multiple candidates.)

4. The FDA did a background and policy audit of all the 2010 mayoral candidates. All mayoral candidates including Nenshi in the 2010 mayoral election were determined to be mediocre or worse. Therefore, it follows based on this report that Nenshi did not face significant election competition. The FDA believes that this reality helped to cancel out that Nenshi was less known than other mayoral candidates at the start of the mayoral race. (FDA Election Audit Report on the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election )

5. Some media coverage of the 2010 Calgary election was biased to particular candidates. The FDA believes that Nenshi benefited from the biased coverage.

6. Although Nenshi is a Muslim, and he is at the same time a secular Muslim. The FDA believes his Muslim religion was a non-factor. If Nenshi was a fundamentalist Muslim, the outcome of the election may have been different.

7. Nenshi is known for his speaking ability and smile, and social media savvy which he excelled at in the 2010 Calgary mayoral election. The FDA believes that these three factors helped propel him ahead of the other candidates.


A more interesting mayoral race occurred in 2010 in Iceland, in which Jon Gnarr comedian/artist took on an incumbent mayoral candidate and campaigned on a rejection of political norms and style, among other things, and he won. Jon Gnarr and the Best Party

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