The recent U.K. general election surprised Brits and foreigners alike, as Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won with a historic margin of the vote.
This victory for the Tories was the largest election win for any British party since 2001.
Since the news broke, political pundits in the U.S. have speculated as to what the Conservative win can tell us about our own upcoming election.
The first major takeaway for Americans is that a party’s candidate matters just as much as – if not more than – the issues themselves.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Johnson’s primary opponent, has a notoriously high disapproval rating.
Accusations of anti-semitism have always plagued Corbyn’s campaigns, but new allegations and extensive media coverage ensured that the issue was front and center for voters.
Further, Corbyn was also seen as weak on Brexit; after delivering a series of lukewarm answers on the issue, his final position was that Labour would hold a second referendum vote on Brexit if elected.
The Democratic presidential candidates and the Trump campaign alike would do well to take note of the way Labour struggled because of its unpopular leader.
A second key lesson from the U.K. election is to listen to and respect the will of the voters.
One of the greatest hits to the Labour party was the pushback it received from progressives and conservatives alike for its desire to ignore the 2016 Brexit vote and try again.
This takeaway will be particularly important for Democrats as the impeachment process continues, a process which some moderates and conservatives perceive as a move to overturn the 2016 election results.
Trump’s campaign has gained momentum in part because of the ongoing impeachment – Democrats should look to the U.K. election result and consider changing their message if they wish to avoid an electoral upset next year.
The final lesson we can draw from the U.K.’s historic election is the power of the British Conservative Party to win over the working class, an electoral group that had previously been claimed by Labour.
This result is not a surprise to the Trump campaign, which won over working class and rural districts across the U.S. with a similar focus on immigration, trade, and taxes.
Although the Conservative win is not necessarily a foreshadowing of the U.S. presidential election, the results of the U.K. election could be instructive for campaigns on both sides of the aisle as election year begins.
Pundits at home and across the pond are curious to see whether each campaign will take note of the lessons learned from the Conservative victory.