Boris Crushes Corbyn In Landslide
What a spectacular night for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party! In the most important general election in modern British history, exit polling shows that Team Boris beat hapless Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party with astounding decisiveness. It’s the worst showing for Labour since the Second World War — and an unambiguous message from the British electorate that it wants Brexit done.
It’s simply breathtaking to watch so many constituencies in the North, the Midlands, and Wales that had been Labour since forever, going Tory. I’ve been watching the BBC’s live broadcast online all night, and the journalists and party people are staggered by it. One screwfaced Labour activist, Jon Lansman, said on the air tonight that the proposals of the party were actually successful. “Our policies did work,” he said. “They just didn’t work enough.”
Look at this, from the Financial Times‘s polling analyst:
a) They’re much closer to Tories than Labour on culture today
b) Brexit has activated the culture axis and suppressed the econ axis
c) They don’t like Corbyn
— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) December 13, 2019
Watching the coverage for the past few hours, it has been very, very clear that this is mostly about people hating Corbyn and his far-left clique in charge of the party. One woman a BBC reporter spoke to on the street in London said that she has always voted Labour, and expects to vote Labour again in the future, but this time, she could not take the risk of voting for someone as radical as Corbyn. As I write this, I’m watching a shell-shocked Labour candidate who won re-election, but just barely, telling Andrew Neil that this is a total catastrophe for her party, and that it’s both down to Brexit and the distrust their own voters had for the Corbyn leadership.
Look at this pitiful statement by one of Corbyn’s inner circle:
Umm … you can’t fight for the many, luv, because the many voted Conservative, and most of you lot are out of a job.
So, what does this mean for Americans? At least since the Reagan-Thatcher era, British and American politics have traveled in roughly parallel paths. This has to be good news for the Republicans tonight, less than a year away from a presidential election, right?
Well, probably, but I want to be careful not to overinterpret it. A few thoughts.
- Are there any Democratic presidential candidates as radical and as unpopular as Corbyn? Corbyn’s socialism is so far left that he makes Bernie Sanders’s socialism look quite tame. I do think that given the fact that Sanders is a real socialist, the Republicans will have a fairly easy chance painting him as too risky. But Bernie, crusty as he is, has a more likable personality than Corbyn. Elizabeth Warren might be easier for the Republicans to slot into the Corbyn role, both for her policies and her fussy librarian affect. Buttigieg and Biden seem more normal and likable, and harder to depict as far-left (by US standards), though the Democratic primary process really is pushing them all significantly farther to the left. One more thing: Boris is actually fairly likable, but Donald Trump isn’t. For what that’s worth.
- A Conservative Party figure tonight said the new Boris Johnson coalition is made up of “Shire Tories” (rural Conservative voters) and the working class. I’m guessing for Trump, this would roughly mean the South and the working-class whites of the North, especially the Rust Belt. I don’t know UK politics well enough to discern if race is an issue there as it is in US politics. Is there any strong racial reason people of color in the UK would have to vote against the Tories? Non-whites are a much bigger part of the US electorate (38 percent) than the UK electorate (18 percent). This makes race a much bigger factor in US races, and a reason why the lessons from the UK for the 2020 US election may be limited.
- The Tories are culturally closer to the working classes than Labour are. There’s no doubt that this is true for the Trump Republicans and the white working class — but our working class is more racially diverse. I think the Republicans in 2020 could do well to hammer away at how lunatic the Democrats are on sex and gender matters. The US is a much more tolerant and accepting country today than it has been, but I think a lot of people are still sick and tired of having Drag Queen Story Hour, genderfluidity, child drag queens, and Pride Year, and obsessing over “whiteness,” and cancel culture, up in their faces all the time. They just are afraid to say it.
- I’m hearing that many in the UK media are so immersed in leftist politics and culture that they didn’t see this coming. I’m very confident that the same thing is true of the US media. I read the Times, which reports on transgender and gay topics as frequently as L’Osservatore Romano reports on new trends in clerical fashions. And I listen to NPR every time I get in the car, until I turn it off because I’m hearing yet another sob story about immigration … and I never hear a story about people like me, and people like those I know. We are invisible to these folks. The NYT, and the Washington Post, and NPR — they’re all run by and for urban liberals. Last Sunday, WNYC’s On The Media show brought on a lefty writer and blogger to explain “the rise of illiberalism among the conservative intelligentsia.” I’m sure he did fine, but truly, were there no conservatives capable of doing this? We are all invisible to them, except as hate figures. Anyway, look, these NYT clowns are just daring me to vote for Trump:
I’ll update this with more substantive analysis tomorrow, after the patterns start to come in. Goodnight from Lord Buckethead and all our friends at Election Central.
Lord Buckethead of the Monster Raving Loony Party is in the house! What superb people the British are. pic.twitter.com/ZUDHFfZpfp
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) December 13, 2019