A cut-throat Democratic party today mirrors a muddled U.K Labour party of the 1980s
The field of candidates for the Democratic nominee in 2020 is certainly filling up fast. The Democrats are an ensemble party made up of differing views and ideology left of centre, and a voice from all its factions have made a bid for the White House. If any of them are eager to topple a dangerous Trump, they must make not the same grave mistakes the U.K Labour party were guilty of in the 1980’s.
Leftist politics and mainstream left-wing parties have always been perceived by the media to be in disarray. The Democratic party in the U.S and the Labour party in Britain are both made up collectively of democratic socialists, social democrats and neoliberals. All different wings in the respective parties vie for leadership positions in an attempt to push their agenda forward. What we are seeing at the moment are Democratic frontrunners on opposing ends of the left-wing scale. The liberal-minded Kamala Harris has gained traction in early voting states, whilst the staunch socialist Bernie Sanders remains ever so popular in grassroots activism. Although both different, they must show respect and understanding towards one another so voters don’t give up hope on unification in politics. This is so vital in winning elections; all Harris and Sanders have to do is look at the calamitous Labour party in opposition to Thatcher to learn from past blunders.
The leader of the Labour party during the 80s was Neil Kinnock, whose key role was to provide a robust and integrated alternative to a hardcore conservative government. What he is notorious for today is accepting defeat four consecutive times to a Conservative party government. The Labour party in the 80's was known for its intense internal rivalries rather than their policy-making. Kinnock was a centre-left politician who undeniably failed to compromise with the hard-left fringe within his party. The party became the image of chaos and lawlessness, eventually leading to many MPs defecting to form their own alliance as the SDP (Social Democratic party). Whilst Kinnock and his parliamentarians cannibalised over what a left-wing government should look like, Thatcher and her cronies had extra time to appease the electorate and shun the opposition.
If the Democratic party want to take control of Washington next year, they must ensure that any fractures amongst their own are thwarted so voters looking for change can look their way. If a liberal or socialist win the nomination, the other must provide support and encouragement in the general election whatever their political stance is. Furthermore, to avoid identity politics on issues such as abortion and LGBTQ rights, the candidates must mobilise voters in despair over the devastating decline in low-skilled jobs. Although social issues are just as important, Trump ran on the notion that he would somehow bring back many industries that had collapsed. He brought a frustrated working-class short-term hope, predominantly in the Rust Belt, a former industrial heartland of the United States. The Democratic party, whilst ridden with splits in its ranks, have failed to engage the majority of the electoral map where their foundations lay.
Left-wing politics in the Anglosphere are persistently witnessing a surge in leadership from the far-left. The politicians that Kinnock once grappled with decades ago have become prominent influencers in their party. The same goes for the Democrats where inspiring messages from Sanders and newly-elected congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have taken centre stage. Instead of rebuking the increasingly powerful socialist voices, the traditional liberal Democrats must welcome them as fresh faces to a former centre-left elite. The Labour party of the 1980’s had a detrimental effect on U.K politics, especially when conservative rule went untouched for eighteen years. To avoid another shattering four years under Trump, a forever shifting and evolving Democratic party must be tolerated by its own.