As I write the British election is in the balance. What can be said pretty conclusively is that this election is not at all going as expected. Corbyn and Labour were supposed to lose. Bigly.
But they are not losing, er, right now they are winning. By 17 seats and 6% of the popular vote. Still early but this was not supposed to happen. The polling suggested a Conservative majority. The British MSM were pretty much either pro-Tory or deeply skeptical of Corbyn. But he’s winning.
Why? I suspect for many of the same reasons Trump won. Because people are fed up with business as usual. They don’t want to elect someone who will continue on in the same way. They want to shake up “the system”. In America the way to do that was to vote Trump and leave the “most qualified candidate in history” sitting in the weeds.
In the UK that same sentiment recognized that whatever else Corbyn is he is not “business as usual”. Exactly the opposite.
In the US the election of Trump horrified the political establishment and, as we saw in Comey’s testimony today, that establishment feels entitled to fight back. Comey felt entirely justified leaking his conversations with the United States President. In fact, he was willing to testify that he leaked them to forward the idea of the appointment of a special counsel to look into the nefarious Mr. Trump.
Corbyn’s people and Trump’s basket of deplorables are rather obviously different. The indications are that Corbyn had a very successful night with the young people: promising to end university tuition will do that for a man. Trump had virtually no support in colleges except for the boys who liked taunting SJWs with MAGA hats. No SJW voted for Trump except by mistake, every SJW in the UK – including many former Green supporters – lined up behind Corbyn. We’ll have to see how the rest of the tabs went but the argument that each man came from a radically, and oppositely, polarized base is likely to win out. People who like Corbyn really like him and he’s hated in the same measure. Rather like Trump.
If, by some chance, Corbyn wins we will see much the same sort of reaction from the British political establishment. Including the Parliamentary caucus of the Labour Party. He is not supposed to win and getting rid of him will become Job #1 for Westminster and Whitehall. The Blairites and the permanent secretaries will be on the job.
Like Trump, Corbyn has shown a rhinoceros hide to his detractors. He has survived the non-confidence of virtually his entire Parliamentary wing. He has the support of the militant left of the Labour Party and, so far as he seems to be concerned, that is more than enough.
[As I wrote this May closed within 15 seats and 1.5% of the popular vote…I’ll post this as a hostage to fortune because I think the same anger with the establishment which propelled Trump and Brexit is turning this election on its head.)