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wingman

In Canadian politics as usual a wingman is a friendly candidate who is nominally an electoral rival for the same post. The wingman is the opposite of a mad dog - while the mad dog systematically devotes energy to negative campaigning against a particular candidate, a wingman devotes it to subtle compliments, handling tougher questions, and will often defer to the primary candidate. Very often this is quite explicit, e.g. some Green Party of Canada and Province of Toronto Party candidates have performed an on-platform endorsement? to effectively direct votes for themselves to specific others.

An entire faction or subunit of a party that is acting consistently as wingman for a particular other party, or is advocating a party merger? on a zero base with those others, is called a zero wing. The term wingman is probably related to that term, as often the zero wing precedes and advises a large number of such endorsements. One way to say it is that a zero wing can advise that there be zero votes for one party and all votes to go to another, using the wingman to carry this message to the electors.

However, that is deceptive, as a wingman might be advising voters to engage in simple tactical voting? to support a certain candidate, not a whole party. To avoid impressions that a zero wing is forming, a wingman might work with others to ensure that they are "winging" candidates of more than one party, so that they aren't accused of disloyalty. See also hold membership in another federal political party and co-opt? for other tactics.

Sincere open endorsements of this kind are never a problem, but, to play wingman and never reveal it is deceptive. In wiki politics? it would be said that a secret wingman was a "sock puppet", echoing someone else's line merely to create the fiction of two candidates agreeing. See byplay?, sideplay?, implicature and pairwise cognition? for how and why this works.


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