People in the UK voted against their best interests on Wednesday, as Tory leader and babbling idiot Boris Johnson won a general election against, most notably, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Politics in the UK are obviously different than here in the US, but Johnson is generally considered to be the Donald Trump from across the pond, and Corbyn is generally considered the facsimile of Bernie Sanders. In reality Johnson would be a centrist in the US — he believes in climate change, and promises not to take anyone’s healthcare away — while Corbyn, in reality, is significantly to the left of Sanders.
The outcome of the election is surely a disappointment; many people, like myself, believed Labour had a real chance of winning. But it doesn’t change the fact that populism is gaining steam all over the world. And it isn’t some barometer that shows lefty politics can’t win, as the pundit class are going to argue in the subsequent days and weeks.
What we learned from Thursday’s general election is to be determined. But from my perspective, as a 29 year-old white guy living in Southern California, it’s that American and British mainstream media outlets aren’t all that different. Similar to how the prestige US media always asks “how are you going to pay for it” vis-a-vis Medicare For All, for example, British media was hell-bent on labeling Jeremy Corbyn (and Labour as a whole) as anti-Semitic; in a televised debate they hectored Corbyn numerous times about his strategy for Brexit, even after he explained in detail exactly his plan; they lie and distort and sensationalize as a matter of routine.
American media is no different. Even those from places like MSNBC and CNN — the so-called “liberal” news outlets — are much more concerned with one-off statements made years ago than they are addressing the policies at hand. Sure, maybe Bernie surrounds himself with some people who (oh no!) have said some negative things about the Israeli government, but should that honestly counterfeit his decades-long beliefs in single-payer healthcare, or free public college, or taxing billionaires more?
It’s a ridiculous paradigm we are involved with, but the same is true for Jeremy Corbyn. You can go on YouTube right now and check out any of the million videos featuring him grilling the Tory Prime Minister. He literally reads emails sent to him from his constituents asking what will be done about the rising costs of housing, the economic anxiety they face working their job, or wondering what’s to come of them if and when Brexit finally comes to pass.
Like Sanders, there is absolutely no doubt who Corbyn is out to represent. It is not affluent professionals, nor is it business owners or massive corporations. It’s ordinary people. Those without the means to directly influence politics with their checkbooks, who have not ascended upwards in society. As Corbyn puts it: “we are many, they are few.” Yet the few still have all the money and all the power. And the few are the ones who constantly win.
The mainstream media does a huge disservice to ordinary people, and those rare politicians who actually have the courage to stand up for them. Never forget that the media doesn’t bend left or right, not in the liberal vs. conservative sense. Their poles are only top vs. bottom. Those at the top fund the media, so it’s with perfect clarity that we understand the interests the media are out to protect.
While Corbyn looks out for the wretched and the downtrodden, the media boiled his campaign down to two simplified items: (1) His strategy for Brexit, and (2) supposed anti-Semitism. Forget about the NHS, or those rising costs of living, or simply getting by. None of that means anything. All you need to know is that Corbyn’s rival, Boris Johnson, had a simpler way of explaining Brexit, and that Corbyn hates Jews.
Liberal media will absolutely attempt a similar strategy against Bernie Sanders in 2020, especially if we assume his campaign lasts through the next six months. MSNBC and CNN can’t dispute the popularity of his positions — i.e. Medicare For All and free college — so they will attack him from the right. They will question his allegiance to Israel, they will bring up old videos of him identifying as a Socialist, they will take random figures from his campaign and bring up statements they made 20 years ago that aren’t relevant anymore. They will do anything they can to discredit them, and to divert from challenging him on the issues that matter. The issues that concern the American people.
It’s a disgusting strategy, but it makes sense given the interests of the billionaire class who funds the them. The mainstream news rarely talks about actual news; they don’t talk about the half-million people who go bankrupt every year because they can’t afford their medical bills; they don’t talk about how 15% of homeless people are veterans; they don’t talk about how something like 70% of people live paycheck to paycheck; and they don’t talk about climate change.
Instead they waste their time talking about bullshit. Everything is about how bad Donald Trump is, or the latest “bombshell” from the impeachment inquiry. No sober newsperson is going to appear on TV and tell you what every politician already knows: that Trump is not going to get impeached, because the Republicans have a majority in the Senate.
But then if they aren’t going to talk about that, then all they really have to say is that some cop from some city killed another unarmed black person. Or they will tell you about the latest mass shooting from a city near you. Or they’ll show a high-speed chase. This is all they’ve got.
Jeremy Corbyn obviously was the better candidate to be Prime Minister, but he ran into the same problem that Bernie Sanders is going to have during the Democratic Primary. It’s that young people really don’t vote that much. One of my professors at Virginia Tech told us that, generally speaking, however old you are is the percentage of people your age that vote. So if you are 20, only 20% of 20 year-olds vote. And if you are 80, about 80% of 80 year-olds vote.
There are obviously a fuckload more 20-somethings than there are 80-somethings, but you can count on the 80-somethings being significantly less informed and voting for whoever the news tells them they should vote for. Meanwhile, the 20-somethings don’t watch cable news, they are the ones who get to see the real dirt via the Internet and social media, and though they heavily favor Sanders (by a factor of like 3-to-1), they just shouldn’t be counted on to vote on a random Tuesday. So, as in 2016, the smart bet is on the candidate that old people want. Even though it’s the young people who are going to have to deal with those consequences.
Another thing I can’t shake is just how dumb Boris Johnson is. I mean, what a fucking goofball. I think part of Donald Trump’s appeal to the everyman in 2016 was that he felt like a regular person in that he had no real filter. He just said what he said. Regular people respected that his views didn’t appear to come through a filter or focus group.
That’s why Trump is such a good bet to win again in 2020, assuming he goes up against a Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren. Because while they have all the credentials, and the great resumés, people can’t really relate to that. Most people don’t have higher education, and most people don’t have impressive numbers on the board.
I am absolutely convinced that Bernie is the only person who can defeat Trump, because Bernie is the only Democratic candidate who can cut through all the noise. He isn’t offering anybody his resumé. He is simply saying, hey, the working class has gotten a raw deal, and we can afford to make your lives better by taxing the shit out of billionaires. He is the only one making that case.
But if the election in the UK taught us anything, it’s that the entire media and political establishment is and always will be against the poor and working class. They will do and say anything to distract ordinary people from the fact that their lives suck, and it’s a direct result of the billionaires stealing from them. If the news was actually the news it wouldn’t be this way. But the news isn’t actually the news. It’s just a bunch of millionaires who are funded by billionaires. And since they like making millions of dollars, they are going to say what the people paying their checks want them to.