A liberal party that has been whipped around in election after election partly due according to some because of the parking of leftist principles in favor of a more corporate bent on economics and a neoconservative world view on foreign policy. No we are not talking about Florida’s Democrats but Britain’s Labour Party who after two decades of “New Labour” which essentially made the once socialist party simply less the right on economics than the Conservative Party. The Labour Party got beaten badly in the May Parliamentary Elections and now have made a definitive lurch back to the left by making Jeremy Corbyn the party leader.
Corbyn is one of the most left-wing political figures in the United Kingdom and his election as leader was met with the usual punditry that stated Labour wouldn’t win a national election for at least the next decade in addition to an exodus among leaders in the party who had subscribed to more moderate tone. An issue certainly is that Corbyn was a leader of the anti-Iraq War campaign even taking a leadership role in the group that organized the largest anti-war protests in London’s history and now promising to “apologize” to the British people for the war, which after all his party’s leader Tony Blair started in cahoots with the neoconservatives that were holding power in Washington at the time.
Does Corbyn’s emergence tell us anything about Florida? Is it possible that given continues electoral defeats, Florida Democrats will take the same stand as Labour and basically say “damn the consequences of the conventional wisdom about electability” we are going to nominate Alan Grayson for US Senate?
In the last few months, I have compared the frustration of the left in the UK to that of Democrats in Florida. Labour’s most recent malaise is a more recent thing having only really begun with the Iraq War, unlike Florida’s Democrats who are on a two decade losing streak, but the arguments and frustrations mirror one another. ” A party out of touch with the values of the members of the party and activists, a party that has sold it soul, a party that has lost time and again by running to the middle”, etc, is what I have heard from both sets of supporters.
Will similar frustration drive a Grayson victory in the Florida Democrats US Senate Primary? Or will be perceived electability by comparison of either Patrick Murphy or Pam Keith rule the day? This remains to be seen, but what Corbyn’s victory taught me personally was despite the fear tactics and media campaign that sought to scare Labour’s rank-in-file membership into believing that a Corbyn victory would end the party’s electoral opportunities, he won anyway. Many of these arguments echo the statements made about Grayson in Florida. It will be interesting to see if they have a similarly negligible impact as they did in the UK.