I've been thinking about this.
Layton, at least, gave you the idea that he knew which party he was a member of. Mulcair couldn't hold onto those gains, because of a fundamental misunderstanding of that: if you want to convince the little guy you're going to stand for them, you might want to reconsider kicking of your Federal election campaign with a book signing. That's the kind of thing Trump would do. And Mulcair didn't have the corresponding hype machine to get away with it.
I am not saying "don't have a book" or "don't sign your book if someone asks" or but most of us are smart enough to know that a signing event is about boosting sales -- not good optics when you're trying to convince people that you're in it for them, and not just your own profits.
I honestly want to see a Canada with multiple healthy parties, because having a strong left is the only thing that keeps us from sliding too far right, and vice-versa. Mulcair was not the guy the NDP needed. They need someone who can show that they are committed the welfare of the overlooked and underrepresented. Someone who will reach back to those CCF roots and remember what they are supposed to stand for.
And the Conservatives need to rethink their direction, too. I want a strong right, not a rabid, slavering set of anti-intellectual, racist reactionaries.