On December 12, the people of the United Kingdom voted and gave the Conservative Party, led by former London Mayor Boris Johnson, its biggest victory since Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1987. The Liberal Party, and its progressive policies, suffered its worst defeat since 1935.
The result was about as surprising as the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and this vote bodes well for conservative voters in the U.S. in 2020.
British politics are complicated to say the least. There is no written constitution in the U.K., but instead the government is formed around a series of parliamentary acts that were created beginning in the 17th century. Members of Parliament represent particular districts, similar to how we do with our own Representatives here in the U.S., and the leader of the party in power becomes Prime Minister. The Queen (or King), as head of state, holds a largely ceremonial role in government. (In the United States, the President is both an elected leader and the head of state.) A government election must be held at least every five years, but a new election can be called any time in-between by the Prime Minister.
That’s what happened when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an election in October. Usually, elections in the U.K. are around two different parties, the Labor (liberal) and the Conservative, i.e. the Democrats and the Republicans, with several smaller parties as well.
Surprisingly, despite pressure from celebrities and radical liberals, the silent majority seems to have won in the U.K. The 2020 President election might have striking similarities.
Democrats will likely impeach President Donald Trump in the House, but their effort will stall in the Senate. As the election really gears up, the impeachment and the politics surrounding it will definitely be a point of contention. There will be accusations that the entire process was too political and others who believe that the president is guilty no matter the crime. The question is, will the voting public align with the impeachment or become fatigued by the whole situation.
It’s similar to how Parliament dragged its feet when it came to Brexit, the U.K. vote to leave the European Union (EU). Instead of accepting the people’s decision about the future of the country, Parliament did everything it could to stall or hold another referendum in order to get a different alternative. It usually doesn’t go well when politicians ignore the will of the people.
In the United States, it feels like the divide between the West and East Coast vs. Midwest and South is becoming more pronounced when it comes to policy. This was evident when, in a press conference on impeachment, House Representatives were only from three coastal states, California, New York and Massachusetts. The victory of Donald Trump has also increased calls for the elimination of the electoral college, a system set in place by our Founders to ensure that the President is not elected by a simple majority and that even the states with the smallest populations have good representation.
The U.K. has a similar problem, except the division lies between Britain and Wales in the South and Scotland in the North. In this most recent election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) had a sweeping victory, which means that Scotland will likely have another referendum on independence (the previous vote in 2014 resulted in 55.3% voting to stay in the U.K.). Scotland does not want to leave the EU, and the party leadership is willing to risk independence in order to stay within the Union.
When Johnson called for a new election, the entire point was to finally put an end to Brexit, the laborious exit from the European Union. The ultimate question was, will the country stay or leave. For the U.S. in 2020, the question is will the country maintain its capitalist system or embrace large socialist and welfare policies? It comes down to economics in policies.
It was the same way in the U.K., and so far, the results have been great, economically. The day after the elections, the pound sterling surged and demonstrated that the markets are optimistic and support the finalization of Brexit after three years.
While the EU does have some benefit in terms of trade, it is mainly beneficial to smaller states and Germany. The U.K. still trades with the pound sterling and not the euro, so mainly what needs to happen is a renegotiation of trade deals with the rest of Europe, similar to what the U.S. has been doing. While this will be challenging, in some ways it could be more beneficial and put the U.K. on better ground with both its counterparts in Europe and around the world.
While the United Kingdom and the United States are different countries, this election across the pond is incredibly positive for those that support conservative policies. Johnson and the Conservative Party were able to take traditional Labor strongholds in north England and Wales, much like Donald Trump did in some of the Northern Midwest states. It goes to show that while the liberals and progressives are often the loudest in the room, their message is not winning the heart of the people.