Lessons of the Tory Wipeout

Lessons of the Tory Wipeout


Will the Republican Party follow them into oblivion?


By Brian Almon


In 2019, the British people handed the Conservative Party a massive victory. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Tories began 2020 with 365 out of 650 seats in Parliament and a mandate to finish Brexit and stem illegal migration. Rather than executing the clear will of the voters, Johnson and his party bungled Brexit, increased migration, locked down the country, and pushed wokeness up to eleven.


Yesterday, they paid the price for ignoring the voters and shifting to the left. As of this writing, the Conservatives have won a mere 121 seats, with Labour securing 412. It’s one of the biggest electoral defeats in history, leaving the Tories with fewer seats than at any time in modern history. You have to go back to 1761, under a completely different electoral system, to find a similar shellacking.



CNN still makes good graphics


Interestingly, Labour’s voter turnout actually decreased compared to 2019. That year, Jeremy Corbyn’s party won 10,269,051 votes for only 202 seats, while as of this writing, Labour has won 9,660,081 for 412 seats. Conservative voters did not switch sides; they either stayed home or voted for Nigel Farage’s Reform UK Party instead. Incoming Prime Minister Keir Starmer did not inspire a new movement; he simply waited out the Tory implosion.


While this humiliation was deserved for a party that had betrayed its voters, Labour now has five years to continue the damage started with their initial victory under Tony Blair in 1997. Creative destruction can be necessary for good ideas to flourish, but the damage caused in that process can be significant.


The British Conservative Party never regained its footing after Blair’s 1997 victory redrew the electoral map. Many commentators note that David Cameron’s administration in 2010 continued Blair’s policies rather than repudiating them. Instead of offering a true conservative alternative to Labour’s technocratic socialism, the Tories presented voters with a store brand version of Labour.


Does that sound familiar?


The Republican Party has long promised conservative governance only to renege once in power. Recall how Sen. John McCain, the 2008 presidential nominee, campaigned on repealing Obamacare, only to cast the deciding vote to save the program once the GOP held the House, Senate, and presidency in 2017.


Many Republican leaders despise their core voters. Rank and file Republicans are typically Christian, conservative, want small government, want decreased immigration, and have become skeptical of free trade and foreign adventurism in the past decade. Meanwhile, Republican leaders are not very conservative and see their voters as quaint and superstitious, while they continue voting for bigger government, more immigration, and increased foreign aid.


These same Republican leaders who mock the identity politics of the left expend tremendous political capital trying to win black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ voters while taking white Christian conservatives — the GOP base — for granted, or even treating them with outright disdain.


If Republicans faced a reckoning like the Conservatives did last night, it would look like Congress during the Great Depression. The 75th Congress entered 1937 with the Senate divided 76-16 between Democrats and Republicans, and the House divided 333-89. Republicans did not gain a majority in either chamber until 1947, and remained in the minority in one or both chambers for much of the second half of the 20th century.


Wikimedia by Kingofthedead


Of course, while the Tories spent the last 14 years ostensibly in power, the GOP has not held the House, Senate, and presidency since 2018. They will continue making the case to voters that things would be better with a full Republican majority, hoping those voters don’t remember what they didn’t accomplish last time.


Conservative voters face a conundrum: Should they give the GOP the drubbing it needs to learn its lesson, but in doing so give progressive Democrats a blank check for the next two, four, or even six years? There is a school of thought called accelerationism that says some sort of collapse of our system is inevitable; therefore, we might as well hurry it along by giving the car keys to the Democrats now rather than later. Yet this ignores the tremendous suffering that can and will occur in such a scenario.


The last four years have been hard on America. Inflation has made groceries more expensive and housing all but unaffordable for average families. Job growth has mainly benefited guest workers and has been almost entirely in the part-time sector. The world stands closer to a third world war than at any time since 1962. Can we survive another four years of Democrat misrule?


Our job as voters and activists is to keep the party focused on the people it is meant to serve. I suggest spending all your time, energy, and money on local politics — forget the national scene. The Idaho GOP is clearly going in the right direction, now it’s up to us to keep it that way. Focus on conservative principles and do the people’s work, and voters will reward you. Stray from that mandate, compromise with the left, or outright lie, and voters will punish you.


The British Conservative Party deserved yesterday’s defeat, but the British people will be the ones to suffer. Their fall is a cautionary tale to the GOP about what happens when a party abandons any pretense of working on behalf of its voters, but will they listen?


From gemstate.substacl.com