The NDP leadership race and my backyard have something in common during these late summer days.

Listen and all you hear are crickets.

In four decades of covering politics, I have never seen any party leadership fail to attract a single candidate five months after a vacancy was declared.

But a race without runners is the current Dipper dilemma.

Never mind the absence of interest in coughing up the $30,000 entry fee. There’s not even a whisper of preliminary fundraising; no exploratory canvassing for member support; nobody trying to pull a Kellie Leitch by attracting attention with controversial ideas.

In fact, the only name generating any buzz to replace Tom Mulcair is …. Tom Mulcair.

A Facebook site dedicated to the bizarre notion of luring the back-stabbed leader into the search for his replacement is getting modest online traction.

Dream on, disgruntled Dippers.

But this draft-the-dumped-guy desperation does underline the sad state of a party which, one year ago today, had a transition team in place to smooth the path into an NDP government with its leader on top of the polls.

Now it’s drifting ever lower into third place with its missing-in-action leader down to a single-digit voter-preference. 

Mulcair likely doesn’t fret that much. Why give up a summer he spent building the grandkids a treehouse to rally NDP members who voted down his leadership last April?

Frankly, he might well consider quitting before the House returns and let his party of turncoats twist in the parliamentary wind without its ace performer in the front row.

Of course, the lack of leadership entry enthusiasm is understandable.

The NDP finds itself between a socialist screed called the Leap Manifesto, which calls for an end to pipelines and the private sector oilpatch among other things, and a Liberal government mowing its political grass toward the middle of the spectrum.

Without a force of leadership personality to elbow space beyond the shrinking base, it sets up a potentially deadly squeeze play for the next seven years.

That explains the crickets in the NDP leadership race – which is music to Justin Trudeau’s ears.

That’s the Last Word.