Is ‘healthy’ populism the answer in the US and the UK?


Elsewhere this morning, I link to a post from #LukeAkehurst on #LabourList, the primary British Labour Party multi-author blog, in which he sets out very cogently his view of the reasons for Labour doing so well in the recent British General Election (#GE2017). There was one section which I thought deserved separate highlighting:

“But we need to temper our relief and elation about these unexpected gains with awareness that there was a swing against us in many Midlands and Northern industrial heartland seats (we have to tailor policies that appeal there if we want to avoid the Rustbelt effect that enabled Trump to beat Clinton in former Democrat heartlands); our votes are not efficiently distributed around the country compared to the Tories because we stacked up “super majorities” in London and university town seats; and we need to gain at least 64 more seats, more than twice what we achieved on Thursday, to get a Labour Government with a majority of one.

This requires us to make many more gains from the SNP in Scotland, and in England it requires us to take large numbers of traditional marginal seats which can only be done by taking votes direct from the Tories as it looks like we have already maximised the vote share we can obtain from mobilising previous Greens, Lib Dems and non-voters.

This is particularly the case now that we seem to have returned to almost a 1950s style two party system in England and Wales – small numbers of votes switching between Tory and Labour will deliver large numbers of seats. A good case study of where the current strategy triumphed and its limitations is the Kent and Essex Estuary seats. Canterbury, with its many students, was a stunning gain, but the 11 more working class seats on both sides of the Thames that had been Labour in 1997 and in many cases 2001 and 2005 as well were not gained, and in most cases have Tory majorities of about 10,000. We have to gain some of them to get a majority Labour government, and that will require a strategy that goes beyond the groups of voters appealed to this time.”

This is almost exactly what I have been saying about the #DemocraticParty in the US. Since way before the Presidential Election of 2017. And which I have been covering in my blog entitled #DemocraticPopulism.

It is not enough for Democrats simply to talk in terms of increasing the turnout of existing Democratic supporters. If we want to win on a regular and meaningful basis, we need to convert at least some current #Trump voters. And that means coming up with our own ‘healthy’ version of populism, in order honestly to address their concerns.

(Facebook comments here.)

Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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