British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s thumping victory last week confirms that 2016 was a political watershed. It marked the beginning of a new political alignment that is rewriting the rules of party competition here and abroad.
That was the year voters stunned the UK political establishment by voting narrowly to leave the European Union. Then followed Donald Trump’s equally shocking election. Both votes highlighted new political divides based on culture, identity and geography, as well as the waning relevance of old left-right debates.
So far, conservative parties have adapted to this changing landscape better than progressive parties. That’s why it’s crucial that Democrats come to terms with why Britain’s Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, was routed last week.
Corbyn blames Brexit for his defeat, and it obviously played a big role. Johnson offered voters a simple, unequivocal message on Brexit — get it done so Britain can move on. Corbyn and Labour took an ambiguous stance, and managed to win only 40% of the parliamentary constituencies that backed Remain.