Chris Tindal, a popular punching bag around this space for the past 87 or so days, squeaked out a third place finish in last night's Toronto Centre by-election, but not for lack of trying. Though a candidate of unclear qualifications, Tindal gained an estimated 8.4 percentage of votes over his last try in 2006.
One must assume, then, his methods, previously criticized here, are effective.
Throughout the 87-day campaign, and before it, Tindal employed a tech-heavy strategy that included web columns (that's 300-plus blog posts, for your information), Youtube videos, and, perhaps most importantly, a certain amount of innuendo to imply his opponents are starting strange rumours about him.
Over the weekend, The New York Times Magazine expounded on that last tactic as it relates to Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Coincidentally, thearticle is fits Tindal's campaign in any number of ways.In one example, look at what happens when only names, dates and key words in the piece are changed to suit the Toronto Centre by-election (changes have been bolded):
In the winter of 2008, Chris Tindal, a colorful Web columnist and sometime Green candidate for federal office, put out a blog post announcing he suspects Liberal opponent Bob Rae refused to remember his name and may have started a rumour about him. Reporters ignoredTindal's charge, which offered no proof...The Rae-starts-rumours rumo[u]r does not seem to have hurt the candidate's fortunes, at least not yet. But the myth...illustrates a growing cultural vulnerability to rumor...[B]ecause digital technology fosters social networks that are both closely knit and far-flung, rumors are now free to travel widely within certain groups before they meet any opposition from the truth.
As mentioned, the above passage could be altered slightly to be relevant to NDP candidate El-Farouk Khaki, who, according to the same post referenced above, similarly smeared Tindal.
It should be noted that, during the campaign, Tindal was the sole candidate to post details of private conversations with other candidates on the Internet, and the only candidate make allegations against opponents in the online-only format. Should those practises become more mainstream for federal candidates in future elections, Tindal should then be thought of as a pioneer of sorts.