Jagmeet Singh has the potential to be a game-changer for the NDP

For the NDP, Jagmeet Singh represents exactly what Justin Trudeau did for the Liberals in 2013: a potential game-changer. There are other strong candidates in the race, but each fits the pattern of previous, respectable NDP leaders who didn’t take the party to new heights. None has as much upside as the magnetic, dapper Ontario politician who represents both generational change and diversity.

The main concern about Singh seems to be that as a turban-wearing Sikh, he might be rejected by the NDP’s base in rural Quebec. Electability is always a consideration when choosing a leader, but the fear that someone else might not vote for a candidate because of religion or ethnicity is not a reason to reject him yourself. That is, unless you have some kind of bias and are just using Quebec voters as an excuse.

Singh represents an enormous opportunity for the NDP: to be the first major party with a non-white leader, someone who could reconnect with the progressive voters the NDP lost to the Liberals in the last election. He can’t guarantee them the same outcome Trudeau achieved when he took over the third party in 2013. But he can give them a chance.

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