Doug Ford knows strategy and he clearly delivered a single, elegant shot that has literally made her lose that mojo that has given her those improbable and impossible victories in the past.
He asked her a single question:
When did you lose your way?
It rattled her so much that media outlets actually noticed the shift. She went on News Talk 1010's Moore in the Morning to address it the day after in a classic case of l'esprit d'escalier.
Too little, too late. The damage was already done.
Wynne is seen as more capable than her two rivals, and until that fateful question, she was.
But Ford's stealth attack did enormous damage to her focus, and we can see her fortunes plummet. He hit a nerve as he dug deep into her psyche, saw her fear, and pulled it out to show it to her and the public.
Had the question not been asked, we would not be seeing the same campaign. I am not one to go by polling numbers, but now we are seeing something very interesting: a hidden truth about the real health of Ontario.
NDP is the poor man's party. They have no clout or connections with the elite or the financial districts. If they are elected, the banks will all downgrade the province's credit rating. Businesses will leave for greener pastures. There will be no funds to juice all those deceptive freebies, and it will lead to serious trouble here. The fact that the NDP is seeing a surge is revealing how much of a pauper's playground Ontario has become. Those who are defeated always retreat to the nanny party, without realizing there is no tax base to support their fantasy vision.
The PC's are appealing with those who have not thrown in the towel, and see hope in their future to make a life one their own -- that means we have two Ontarios, and not one.
One group who are independent and the other who are passive.
And it happened under the Liberals' 15 year watch. Wynne had played a dangerous game and had tried to please both sides, but the chasm was by then too great. She increased minimum wage, invested in businesses through government subsidies, and gave the voting bloc of teachers more than they ever deserved -- and all groups are thanking her by abandoning her.
This betrayal of alliances is what shook her. Doug Ford let her and the rest of the world know that it happened.
And now watching her photo-ops has been cringeworthy. She goes from place to place, engaging in little stunts, making her come off as someone with a mid-life crisis trying to knock off as many things off her bucket list as possible. I am surprised she didn't dye her hair blue and go get a tattoo as cameras are rolling.
That is a sign of defeat, and someone who doesn't think she has a tomorrow.
She could have easily sewn up this election the way she did last time: talk about pensions and appeal to Baby Boomers. They are still the biggest voting bloc and the ones who still see voting as their civic duty. They may seem set in their political affiliations, but target that group with a tangible and significant benefit and a you-focussed message, and they will come through for you.
But now, Wynne is all over the place, and that's not the way to win an election. You cannot be all things to all people -- nor does victory come from that desperate strategy.
Ford cannot be discounted, and he is very strategic in both strategy and timing. With Wynne running around like a chicken without a head, he can focus on other things. Ford found her kryptonite and used it against her. He didn't hammer away at her. He didn't engage in overkill. He merely pointed at the monster that scared her most, and told her she veered off course to avoid it.
And that is a devastating accusation to make at someone whose job is being a leader.
As someone who has had people try psychological warfare on me over the years from the 36 Stratagems to negging, I see through it and find it funny, even when the stakes are high. You are not going to make me insecure with your manipulative words or doubt myself. Bottom line people shut out the white noise of arguments and insults because they are deadweight.
Meaning that gambit works only if the leader believes it and looks to others for validation and applause. Had she seen the ruse, she could have given an epic rebuttal to turn her fortunes around.
Anything can happen in this election, but seeing Wynne flounder over something minor when she has triumphed over bigger obstacles is fascinating to watch nonetheless.