Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Lessons from the London Election
The pollsters got it wrong again, as in the 2015 British general election, Brexit, the 2017 British general election and the 2016 United States election. The “finely tuned” pollsters have had difficulty since the advent of the cell phone. Polls were traditionally based on polling land lines. The younger generation doesn’t use land lines. The second problem is estimating turnout, not just by overall percentages, but by demographics and age. The third party is measuring late-developing turnout and voting. The past is not always prologue. The second lesson is the role of young voters, the 18-24 voters. They stayed home in the 2016 and Brexit elections, eventhough they opposed Brexit. They showed up this time. Their turnout was up 12% from 2015 to 2017, and they voted roughly 2:1 for Labor. The older voters had voted overwhelmingly for the Conservatives in 2015 and Brexit in 2016. Jeremy Corbyn, Labor’s leader to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders, had a siren call for the young voters: FREE COLLEGE TUITION! Watch the Democrats pick up on free tuition in upcoming elections. President Obama appealed to the young voters in 2012 by offering to cut the interest rate on student loans. They jumped on it, not realizing that what they really needed was jobs. The young voters are globally dissatisfied with their economies. They no longer see the fabled post - World War II America of upper mobility. They don’t see opportunity in the economy. They see “capitalism” as creating no jobs. Indeed, they have been accustomed in democratic socialist countries to look to the government instead of self-reliance. Think of President Obama’s Julia in the 2012 Presidential Election. The young voters have been educated, especially in today’s colleges, that business is greedy and unresponsive to consumers. They are ignorant even of basic economics. The young have not been taught to engage in critical analysis. Consequently, they look to government to solve their problems, for now. The youth vote is not a constant. Third, Prime Minister Theresa May tried to move the Tories to the left in the general election. Conservatives need to understand that they can never outbid the parties of government! The Prime Minister’s campaign also echoed the American presidential election. An energetic candidate who speaks to the needs of the people can defeat a staid, status quo candidate. Theresa May is not Hillary Clinton, but she also ran a lackluster campaign. The conservative Prime Minister could normally have been expected to rally her voters by stressing law and order after the three terrorist attacks in England in three months. She said “Enough is enough.” However, just as Hillary Clinton could not escape her private server and email. Theresa May could not escape her previous six years as Home Secretary, where she cut the country’s police forces by 20,000 officers. In addition, many of the terrorists were known to the authorities, but nothing was done about them. The American people in 2016 and the British people in 2017 voted against the status quo. Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump recognized the will of the people. Mr. Corbyn did not win a majority or plurality, but he was supposed to lose in a landslide. Instead, his Labor Party gained 31 seats while the Tories lost 12 seats, losing a majority in Parliament. Britain and the United States are divided politically. Any party representing the status quo is in danger.