May-Day for British Conservatives

            In wake of the landmark Brexit vote, the Tories (Conservative Party) in the United Kingdom felt well assured about 2017 and the future. The Tories had a majority in parliament, a mandate from the people to leave the European Union, and a like-minded political ally across the pond in Donald Trump and a Republican dominated United States Congress. Then Prime Minister Theresa May called for new elections and it all fell apart.


            The conservatives in the United Kingdom came out of the election with merely 48.8% of the seats in the House of Commons, losing critical seats to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Now, in order to gain a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, the Tories must enter into a coalition government with the Irish conservative party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). In return for the DUP’s 10 parliamentary seats, the Tories will have to cede on several important agenda items. The DUP is demanding a halt to budget cuts, increased spending in Scotland, and a softer exit from the European Union.


            Prime Minister Theresa May stands on shaky ground. She will likely have to turn her back on several campaign promises in order to secure her government, which may further lower her popularity. What is worse is that her poor campaign allowed the Grinch himself, Jeremy Corbyn, to lead the Labour Party to win 40% of the seats in the House of Commons. Labour’s electoral success comes immediately after the Manchester and London terrorist attacks. Had Theresa May had the political wits to successfully lead her party, she would have highlighted the fact that Jeremy Corbyn supports large Muslim immigration into the U.K. and remains close friends with many terrorist organizations. By poorly shaping the context of the election, Theresa May has allowed the Labour party to return from the dead, which may threaten any agenda items the Tories may propose.


            What is more stunning about this situation, is that Theresa May called for these elections to take place before they needed to. Theresa May did not have to have elections until 2020, yet she called for early elections in order to shore up her position before Brexit negotiations. However, the gamble has backfired as she stumbles into the Brexit negotiations with even less power than she had before.


            Instead of ignoring the results of the U.K. general election, Congressional Republicans in Washington D.C. should take the results of the U.K. election as a warning sign for what the 2018 midterm elections may hold for the Republican Party. While U.S. voters certainly made clear in the 2016 Presidential Election that they preferred Donald Trump’s vision of the future to Hillary Clinton’s, the 2018 midterms beg an entirely different question: what type of Congress do we want to go along with a Donald Trump Presidency?

Written by Solomon Schoonover
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