And yet the voters didn’t see it that way when electing a President in 1952, 1956, 1968, 1972, or 1980, suggesting they weren’t quite as natural a governing party as you’d make it sound.
There’s a significant difference between “winning the most elections in a carefully selected 48-year period” (why start at 1932 and end in 1980? Why not go from 1948 to 2008? 1900 to 2000? Selecting your start and end points makes no sense except for the specific purpose of bracketing Democratic wins) and “natural governing party.” Winning the most elections from 1932 to 1980 is a mathematical necessity; SOMEONE has to have won the most elections unless, by some miraculously unlikely circumstance, both parties win exactly the same number. “Natural governing party” suggests there is an alignment between a party’s place in the sociopolitical landscape and the manner in which elections are contested that decides those elections.
There’s no such alignment in Canada and never was. The Liberals won most of the elections at the federal level for awhile because they had better leaders and better ideas; they quite simply ran better elections. Once that stopped, they stopped winning. When they got really incompetent then they not only stopped winning but couldn’t even finish second.
The assumption the Liberals wanted people to make, which is why they invented the “natural governing party” term, is that Canadians were inherently Liberal; that the Liberal Party was fundamentally aligned with a monolithic, universal Canadian identity. To vote anything other than Liberal was implied to be an un-Canadian thing to do. Indeed, in 2011 they stopped hinting it and just came right out and said it. It was bullshit, and always was bullshit; there is no monolithic Canadian political identity. The Conservatives demonstrated that there’s just as much conservatism in Canadians as liberalism and thereby squashed the Liberals by providing people with an actual platform and leader to vote for, as opposed to a blowhard in a suit and a platform that amounted to “vote for us because we deserve it.”
But sooner or later the Conservatives will make the same mistake. They’ll assume Canadians are just naturally Conservative. If they win in 2015 it’ll reach fever pitch by about 2016, when they’ll have been in pwoer for ten years and so will start to self-delude themselves into thinking it’s just their natural place in the world to be in power, and they’ll stop listening to what Canadians are saying, and then they’ll be squashed, just as the Liberals and BQwere in 2011, just as the PCs were in 1993, and so on.
Historically, Canadians have not voted for the party that has been more “Canadian,” they’ve voted for the party that actually gave them the clearest (not always best, but clearest) reason to vote for them.
If the Liberals can do that they may save themselves. If they don’t they may be a third party for generations.