How Excited Should I Be About Corbyn?

With Trump president, it’s easy to forget other nations exist. At this point, other countries and politicians only exist to me on the Trump index: does Trump like them? Does Trump think they’re bad (or sick) guys? Does Trump want to bomb the shit out of them?

But other governments still exist. In fact, one is having an election on June 8. The United Kingdom’s general election is complex, but simple Americans like myself can break it down to conservative vs. liberal. Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early (or snap) election back in April in an attempt to secure the Conservative Party’s control over Parliament (and her control over the Conservative Party). Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, an old British stalwart whose progressive stances and underdog status have turned him into a hero on the left, is her biggest challenger.

As a liberal, my rooting interest seems clear cut. Unfortunately, as an American, I know as much about British politics as Trump knows about uranium.

So, should I be excited about Jeremy Corbyn? Well, to start…

He’s a true progressive. He supports LGBT rights, abortion, marijuana decriminalization, nationalized healthcare and other issues that rile up conservatives. He further stands out from centrists like former Prime Minister Tony Blair, because…

He opposed the Iraq War, which Blair spearheaded. Corbyn also opposes further intervention in the Middle East. He’s one of the few democratic politicians to acknowledge the West’s role in fomenting Islamic extremism through wars and airstrikes. In the age of travel bans and widespread Muslim bigotry, those are refreshing words to hear. That said…

He’s had some suspect relationships in the Middle East that bother people. Corbyn’s called representatives from Hezbollah and Hamas “friends” during prospective peace talks. Hardline Zionists believe he’s a bit too favorable of a free Palestine. Corbyn has also spoken out against sanctions for Iran’s nuclear program.

He’s got some momentum. Whether it’s British blowback from Trumpism or distaste with conservative politics, Corbyn has gained in polls. From this side of the Atlantic, he looks like a Bernie Sanders-esque everyman politician who’s said the right things for years and is now able to energize younger voters. His promises of free college don’t hurt either. But like Sanders…

He’s old, and, some believe, unelectable. Corbyn just turned 68, and his rumpled style doesn’t lend itself to victory. He’s too old to be the future of progressive politics. Also, it’s fair enough to say…

He probably won’t win. May has held the lead since calling for the snap election two months ago. After Brexit and Trump, political polling is more unreliable than ever, but it’s all we have to go on. May is clearly shaken by the strong opposition showing, but it would still take a miracle for Corbyn to unseat her. The most likely case scenario is probably a split parliament, which would significantly dent Tory control.

A small victory is better than no victory, and his triumph would help progressivism around the world. That’s about as simple as my libtard mind can put it. After the demoralizing defeats of liberal leftists in America, any win at all would feel like a major victory.

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