Originally Posted by eternallyme
They need someone who can reach to the more PC voters without alienating the Reform base. If the Reform Party revives, the Liberals are in government indefinitely.
The Conservatives should choose a moderate to replace Harper, but I doubt they will. I think we're more likely to see a replay of the PC leadership race here in Ontario: there will be a strong moderate with old guard support (someone like MacKay, maybe) who appears at first to have it in the bag, but is then challenged by a (relatively) fringe candidate who riles up the base and ultimately wins. We see the same thing going on in the American race for the Republican nomination - the populist right across the continent doesn't want to tone it down*, even if that places victory out of reach (we could, perhaps, read the split on the right in Alberta the same way, but there are many complicating factors at play there).
If the Conservatives veer right post-Harper, I'd imagine we'll just see the rightward trend of all parties over the past decade or two continue: the Liberals will increasingly move in on Red Tory territory, the NDP will drift further towards the centre**, and the Greens will take up the left-leaning "conscience of Parliament" role.
Of course, if some form of electoral reform happens, we're all going to have to re-examine our assumptions moving into the future. We may need up to a decade to establish a "new normal" in that case.
*(I'm not suggesting the old Reformers are in any way as out-to-lunch as the Tea Party types in the US. This isn't an apples-to-apples comparison really, but there are some similarities in the dynamics at work here.)
**(Don't forget that the NDP are unlikely to collapse to the levels of support they saw in the 1990s any time soon, even if they do lose a substantial chunk seats this time around. I don't think we can count them out completely moving forward, just as it was foolish to count out the Liberals post-2011.)