The defeat of Labour Party by the Conservatives in the recently concluded British elections has raised a debate on whether the results could serve as a lesson to the US Democrats on the danger of moving too far to the left.
While Boris Johnson has always been compared to President Donald Trump of the Republicans, Democrat’s Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have always been viewed as versions of Jeremy Corbyn. The supporters of the two Democrats leftists believe that just like Corbyn, they offer the electorate a chance to change the system that is rigged in favour of the rich while ignoring the have-nots.
There’s no doubt that Corbyn has always inspired elements within the Democratic party. Last week three hours before British polls closed, Sander’s national organising director tweeted that the “Bernie team says #VoteLabour”.
It was not the first time that Corbyn and the Labour party were attracting interests from the Democratic party. The Nation revealed that Just after Corbyn’ exemplary performance in the 2017 election against the then British Prime Minister Theresa May, Democratic Congressional aides flew to London to hold a meeting with two British economist to discuss Corbyn’s evolving economic policy.
Some pro-Democrats American writers such as Robert Borosage went as a far as expressing optimism that “just as Reagan and Thatcher rose together, perhaps so too will Barnie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn,”
“In the United Kingdom, Jeremy Corbyn, a British version of Bernie Sanders, in that he was dismissed for years as cranky radical while acting as inconsistent critic of New Labour’s move to the right, could well lead the party to victory in the next elections,” he added.
“Along with senator Elizabeth Warren’s imprint on the early Democratic ideas primary, have driven the Democratic debate to the left.”
With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary only two months away, Democrat moderates are using British election results to highlight the danger the party faces if it drifts too far to the left.
“Look what happens when the Labour party moves so, so far to the left. It comes up with ideas that are not able to be contained within a rational basis quickly,” warned former US Vice President Joe Biden who is also vying for the Democrat’s ticket. “You are going to see people saying, my God Boris Johnson, who is kind of a physical clone of the president, can win.”
Biden received support from several key Democrats among them New York’s former Mayor and presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg, who said “I think it’s sort of a catastrophic warning to the Democratic Party to have somebody that can beat Donald Trump and that is not going to be easy. Americans want to change, but I think they don’t want revolutionary change, they want evolutionary change.”
Some moderates in the Democratic party, have also warned that people will not just vote for a radical economic plan or manifesto just because they don’t like a certain leader. This is in reference to manifestos unveiled by Labour in the run-up to British elections.
While Johnson unveiled a slim manifesto, Corbyn, came up with 105-page manifesto that pledged to rationalise rail, mail energy and water, and free college tuition fee. The Labour leader also pledged to target the rich by imposing a 45p tax rate on those earning more than £80,000 and a 50% rate above £123,000.
The same radical approach has been taken by the leftist in the US Democratic party. Sanders has vowed, to nationalize America’s private healthcare under Medicare for all. He has also promised free college tuition, a public housing scheme, and infrastructure.
Leading left-winger Elizabeth Warren, who has been doing well in the polls, has also been attacked by the moderate for her blueprint which seeks to replace America’s private health insurance system by a state-run Medicare system.
However, other political commentators have cautioned against drawing parallel between UK and US elections pointing out that the two countries have structural and policy differences.
Waleed Shahid, the spokesman for justice Democrats argued that Corbyn’s defeat was a simple warning for the Democrats to target the middle class if they intend to win.“The lesson for the entire Democratic Party Coalition: Across the Western world, centre-left parties are bleeding voters in post-industrial places to the right-wing or to not voting at all. That’s a serious development that’s happening all over the Western world,” he said.
John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster working for Biden also argued that “there’s little evidence to show that the results of a foreign country will affect the way American Democrats think about their candidates.”However, he noted, “There’s plenty of people, beyond any of us, who make the argument that if you have too liberal, or an ultraliberal, Democratic nominee, it puts at risk what is at stake. Does it reinforce that? Absolutely, it reinforces that.”
If the rejection of Corbyn by the working class had anything to do with his extreme left-leaning policies, then both Sander and Warren are likely to lose in case any of them faces Trump in the elections. Trump would prefer to run against them rather than facing Biden and Bloomberg who are more likely to appeal to the White working class.
So far Biden seems to be doing good as the polls suggest. He is mainly banking on the Key southern states such as South Carolina where he enjoys the support of black voters. But Sander is also gaining ground very quickly.
Biden is also ahead in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee with significant points over his opponents. Initially he wasn’t doing well in New Hampshire as his rival Warren surged past him. But a new poll by WBUR/Mass/NC has showed him making significant gains. In Iowa, he is now ahead of fellow Democratic contenders Buttigieg and Warren, according to another poll by the Emerson College.