Does the British Election Mean Anything for America?
As always, yes and no.
Yes, because the ideology of austerity-driven neoliberalism, that which is championed by Theresa May’s suddenly flailing government, is a major component of the ruling Republican Party in the United States. It’s what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, believes in: cuts to public services to benefit the private market.
Yes, because Brexit, the alt-right-driven anti-immigrant, anti-globalization geopolitical self-harm project is propelled by the same forces that elected the current head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.
Election Divides Kingdom as Parties Consolidate Their Base
There is still a lot to digest from last week’s British election. The promised Conservative landslide never materialized. Labour gained seats, including in affluent constituencies like Kensington that it won for the first time, but it also fell short of a majority. Theresa May remains in power but has been weakened. She must rely on the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland for a majority, which threatens to upset the delicate balance of power in Ulster.
We can nevertheless say two things with certainty:
The trends spotted in last year’s Brexit vote are accelerating.
The new poles in British politics are consolidating and that leaves the center wide open. Read more
Both Conservatives and Labour Have Left the Center Wide Open
Before Labour started to catch up with her in the polls, it seemed Theresa May could have it both ways.
The Financial Times argued that her “Global Britain” vision, of free trade and friendship with the rest of the world, was at odds with cutting immigration to an arbitrary tens of thousands and pushing for a “hard” Brexit.
Yet voters seemed to like it. One poll had the Conservatives at nearly 50 percent support. Labour was down to 25 percent as recently as four weeks ago.
The Financial Times warned, though (as did I), that there were policy gaps “in what used to be known as the center ground.” Liberal cosmopolitanism did not have an active voice. Read more
Britain’s Labour Party has narrowed the gap with the ruling Conservatives in the polls, going up from an average of 25 percent support when Prime Minister Theresa May called an election last month to nearly 35 percent.
Support for May’s Conservatives hasn’t come down from 45 percent. They are still expected to prevail, but with a smaller majority than seemed likely a few weeks ago.
Labour’s surge has come at the expense of the Greens and Liberal Democrats, who are both polling in the single digits. Read more