In a post-election fundraising letter sent to supporters (at least southern Alberta), Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith boasts of her party’s strong showing in the April 23 election and admits that her party “might need some time to prove to Albertans that they are a government in waiting.”
Like most political fundraising pleas, the letter is written in a first person narrative style and, not unexpectedly, claims that the the Wildrose Party ran a positive campaign in the face of negative opposition.
In these ways and others, Ms. Smith’s letter mirrors the style of a fundraising letter sent by American televangelist Peter Popoff to his supporters in March of 2006. Despite controversy, including charges of fraud, Mr. Popoff is known for “faith healing” and sale of his trademark miracle water.
Mr. Smith’s letter demonizes the Wildrose Party’s opponents and presents herself as the only political leader who can help Albertans. Similar to Mr. Popoff’s letter, it uses of bold text throughout to emphasis the main points, which include the “many failings” of Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative government.
The Wildrose letter takes aim at a report recommending the Premier’s pay be raised (and does not mention that the Premier rejected the recommendation), criticizes this year’s budget deficit, and tackles the Tories for a new provincial sales tax (which does not exist). Like much of the rhetoric emanating from the Wildrose Party over the past two years, the tone of the letter is angry, appealing to the negative emotions of their supporters.
The eeriest similarity in style between the two letters is Ms. Smith’s pitch for the recipient of the letter to make a “gift of $170 or more.” $170 seems like a very odd amount to request, as even wikipedia has little to say about it, but the plea for a similarly numerical donation in Mr. Popoff’s letter could provide an explaination as to a hidden significance of those numbers.
From Mr. Popoff’s letter:
“NO, I don’t want you to send $37 or $77… No, SEND EXACTLY $17.00. Because 1 is the number of the Father… and 7 is the Father’s number of perfection.”
I know many Albertans who would agree that the election of only 17 Wildrose MLA’s on April 23 felt like Divine Intervention.
The similarities in style between the two letters are too eerily for this political observer to ignore. Appealing for the support of a very conservative base, who may be used to receiving this style of fundraising letter, it may not be surprising that the people behind the Wildrose Party are taking notes of successful strategies used by American televangelists to raise heap loads of cash. For this reason, I do not expect Ms. Smith’s next fundraising letter will trumpet her attendance at Edmonton’s upcoming Gay Pride Parade.
(Thank you to the long-time reader who provided me with a copy of Ms. Smith’s fundraising letter)