Only a few weeks ago, the Democratic primaries were looking to unfold in such a chaotic way that Donald Trump’s re-election began to look inevitable. The way that Sanders was fighting with not only every other candidate but with the Democratic Party itself seemed designed to help Trump remain in the White House. And yet here we are, mid-March, and Biden has emerged as not only the frontrunner to get the Democratic nomination but the favourite to win the presidential election. Things have swung massively in such a brief period of time.
Part of this is down to Coronavirus and the subsequent crash of the stock market, obviously. Trump seemed to have been trying to play down the significance of the virus to not spook the markets, only to then overreact in totally bizarre and not entirely effective ways that all but guaranteed a stock market crash. So yes, part of this is down to deus ex machina. But a whole other part of it is down to the centre-left finally getting its shit together and halting its self-destruction just in time. I think the Tories should be looking at what’s happened in the Democratic primaries, see the similarities to what is happening inside the Labour leadership contest and begin to get a little bit worried.
In Britain, the assumption is still that Labour will be out of power for another few election cycles at the very least. Yet beyond the current virus crisis Boris has to deal with – and has taken a controversial way to deal with – there is still a no deal Brexit, looming on the horizon. If you add to this a suddenly competent again Labour Party, Boris could be under a lot of pressure in a year’s time.
I realise that the word “if” had to do a lot of heavy lifting in that last sentence. Yet like in America where collectively the centre-left went, “Right, enough of the bullshit. Time to get behind the best guy and push forward as one”, something weirdly similar has happened in Britain with the Labour leadership contest. The Left were certain that RLB would storm the contest, particularly with Momentum and McCluskey behind her. Instead, Starmer was the one who was able to be the equivalent of Biden – the most sensible person who has the best chance of beating the right-wing incumbent.
While there is still a long way to the White House for Biden and an even longer and bumpier road for Starmer to Downing Street, it is amazing how much more positive it feels for them both as compared to even a few weeks ago. It may all come to nothing, of course – but if was working for the Conservative Party, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
In a few weeks time, I have another book coming out. It’s called “Politics is Murder” and follows the tale of a woman named Charlotte working at a failing think tank who has got ahead in her career in a novel way – she is a serial killer. One day, the police turn up at her door and tell her she is a suspect in a murder – only thing is, it is one she had nothing to do with. The plot takes in Conservative Party conference, a plot against the Foreign Secretary and some gangsters while Charlotte tries to find out who is trying to frame her for a murder she didn’t commit.
Also: there is a subplot around the government trying to built a stupid bridge.
It’s out on April 9th, but you can pre-order here: