Aftershocks from UK election earthquake should rattle US Democrats

Friday, December 13, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Thomas Lifson
December 13, 2019

Socialists, globalists, and Jew-haters were soundly rejected by British voters yesterday, and that has got to worry United States Democrats, many of whom have embraced these political positions. Pollsters who had warned that the race was tightening were repudiated by voters who handed a historic landslide outcome to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, which is now reckoned to end up with an 86 seat majority when all the results are tabulated. Even more pointed for the Democrats is the fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has dipped below 200 seats for the first time in almost a century and has lost seats in the industrial Midlands and North that have been secure for it for over a century.

To be sure, the United Kingdom and the United States are not identical, so there are limits to the parallels that can be drawn, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that similar tectonic forces are at work in both nations. If you think this is mistaken conservative triumphalism, don’t take it from me, take it from lefty Jonathan Chait, writing in the New Yorker that “American Leftists Believed Corbyn’s Inevitable Victory Would Be Their Model.”

The British election results, like any election result, is the result of unique circumstances and multiple factors. It is also, however, a test of a widely articulated political theory that has important implications for American politics. That theory holds that Corbyn’s populist left-wing platform is both necessary and sufficient in order to defeat the rising nationalist right. Corbyn’s crushing defeat is a decisive refutation.

Many writers, not only on the left, detected parallels between the rise of Corbyn and the movement around Bernie Sanders. The latter is considerably more moderate and pragmatic than the former, and also not laden with the political baggage of Corbyn’s widely-derided openness to anti-Semitic allies. And yet many leftists have emphasized the similarities between the two, which are indeed evident. Both built youth-oriented movements led by cadres of radical activists who openly set out to destroy and remake their parties. Both lost in somewhat close fashion, Sanders in 2016 and Corbyn the next year. And fervent supporters of both men treated their narrow defeats as quasi-victories, proof of victory just around the corner.

Chait is ignoring the strain of Jew-hatred that has infected the Democrats but he does get it that socialism’s appeal has been greatly exaggerated.

Another factor that ought to give Democrats pause is the sheer frustration and anger that animated British voters over the delays in implementing the Brexit initiative that they passed two years ago. Mark Steyn:

…put crudely, historically Labour working-class constituencies in northern England that voted Leave and were then screwed over by the subversives of a Remainer Parliament abandoned century-old tribal loyalties to Labour and shifted to pro-Brexit parties.

Democrats have done their level best to stall and frustrate President Trump at every stage of his presidency. They have no positive program (except for the socialists who want to destroy the economy) and seem to waking up that going before the voters in 11 months with no accomplishments is a recipe for disaster, hence Nancy Pelosi’s sudden endorsement of a USMCA vote just an hour or so after announcing that the House would proceed with impeachment.

There are a lot of peculiarities in the British system, especially Scottish nationalism and the fate of Ulster after Brexit, that drained away support from Labour to local parties. But the Democrats could well face challenges themselves. Democrat Representatives and Senators who vote against impeachment or convection could well be primaried by the Justice Democrats that recruited and sponsored Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, for instance. If a Sanders or Warren gets the presidential nomination, non-socialist Dems could bolt either to Trump or to a third party nominee. Or if doddering Joe Biden is the nominee, lefties could well sponsor a third party candidate. They are animated by anger, after all, not by love of give and take compromise.

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