Trump’s 2020 campaign started back in 2016

I don’t feel incredibly excited about Tuesday, 3rd November. It should be a day where we look forward to kicking out a misogynistic, dictator appeasing, xenophobic President. However, there is nothing spectacular about Joe Biden’s campaign, that reassures me he is the man to replace Donald Trump in the White House next year.

We’ve got to remember why it is people voted for Trump in the first place. They were fed up with the status quo, something which Biden still very much represents. They were fed up with electing politicians who only cared about the interests of liberal America. And finally, they appeared to want somebody who could communicate policy, ideas and leadership in an elementary capacity.

Trump’s two-year-old slogans and dangerous rhetoric are why he is where he is. It’s got nothing to do with ingenious policy ideas. It’s all about working the algorithm. It’s about playing on the emotions of the electorate and offering a solution to growing concerns such as terrorism, China, immigration and traditional American values. In simple terms, his campaign was all about providing American’s a gateway back to a time they used to be familiar with. He made them fall in love with conservatism and fear progressivism.

But after four years of early morning tweeting and belligerent narcissism, have American’s had enough? Well, recent polling would suggest the mood has swung back in favour of the Democrats. Since the beginning of the year, Joe Biden has been ahead in most national polls. On most occasions, he’s had a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent, hovering in recent months around the 50% mark. Though as we all know, you should never put a great deal of faith into the national polls.

Yes, they provide you with a useful guide as to how widespread the candidates are across the country, but it’s not always the best means of predicting an election win. Just look at Hillary. Back in 2016, she was leading in the polls and even won 3 million more votes during the election and still lost to Trump. All because of the electoral college system, which goes to show winning the most votes doesn’t always mean winning the election.

My worry is that Democrat’s and Liberals around the world will get into a complacent attitude, where they form an impression that somehow the tide is changing and that Trump’s time is up. If that becomes the case, well then, I won’t be feeling sorry for them.

What you must remember is that despite winning the 2016 election, Donald Trump has since never stopped campaigning. Every press conference, summit meeting, interview, world leader visit, national tragedies and philanthropic gestures have all been part of the Trump 2020 campaign.

Ed Davey’s fight for the future of Liberalism

They were the results of a contest that nobody really cared about. A party that since 2015 has seemed pretty aimless and lacking in purpose. For the last five years, the Liberal Democrats have been without strong leadership. They’ve lacked a clear vision and time and time again have failed to grasp the attention of the electorate. 

The Lib Dems are supposedly the party of the centre-ground, and after five years of tribalism and populism on the right and left of politics, you would have thought there was an appetite for centrism. Well, there is, but not necessarily the type of centrism the Lib Dems are dishing up. 

No matter who takes charge of this sinking ship, they will always struggle to shake off the public perception of them being the party of broken promises. As we are reminded time and time again, the Lib Dems are of course the party, that when in government with the Tories failed to abolish tuition fees, cap bankers bonuses, not increase the rate of VAT, as well as add 3,000 extra police officers on the streets and create 100,000 jobs

The only hope for the Liberal Democrats going forward is for them to abandon the sinking ship, grab the nearest lifeboats, sail their members away from what was the Liberal Democrats and reach out to fellow centrists (former Tory MPs and New Labourite MPs). In the hope of one day being able to re-form The Liberal Party. 

If Ed Davey is telling his party, they need “to wake up and smell the coffee” well then maybe he should stop buying the same brand of cheap coffee, that nobody likes the taste of, and instead focus his energy on building a new Liberal organisation. The TIGers, Change UK, Renew UK, and even Rory Stewart attempted to take London by storm with his British ”En Marche!” movement

No centrist, since Blair, has been able to capture the nation’s attention. And considering he was also the same man who drove people away from the idea of voting for a similar figure, trust in centrism may take some time to restore before Britain is ready to vote Liberal again. 

But that means Sir Ed Davey must be ready to take the fight to Boris and Keir. Both leaders claim to be more centrist/liberal than their predecessors, but their downfall will always be their core membership being on the right and left of the spectrum. Whereas Davey has the upper hand of already having a core-centrist membership to start building a new/refreshed movement on.  

In his acceptance speech, he said he would rebuild the party. He is seeking to replace Brexit as the party’s key theme and focus on support for carers and investment in the green economy.

This may be a more effective strategy, but with only a handful of MP’s and not much support in the polls, the new leader is facing the most significant challenge any Lib Dem leader has had to face.

London needs a Liberal like Rory Stewart

London has been, for a while now, crying out for a centrist voice. An individual who doesn’t give in to the partisan, tribal politics that we see today, but instead seeks to unite the political divide and adopt a new type and style of administration that would be needed to mend the societal cracks.

When Rory Stewart announced his candidacy, I, like many, was sceptical about this idea. This is a man who has spent a great deal of his life gallivanting around the Middle East, trekking across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although he ventured back into domestic politics, he was still located up in Cumbria, which hardly made him an individual who could comprehend the struggles of a 21st-century Londoner.

But then again, this is precisely what we forget about Mr Stewart. He’s not your typical career politician. He doesn’t seek high office for the sake of his own profile or image. He knew that if he were to have any chance of not just winning the Mayoral election, but gaining the trust and respect of Londoners, then he would have to immerse himself in the city. Understanding that London is about more than just Oxford Street and Westminster, and that within the beating heart of this nation lies a whole myriad of communities.

From the elites in Kensington and Chelsea to the proletariats and hard grafters of Millwall, Rory Stewart made it his goal to converse with people in every borough, in nearly every nook and cranny of the streets of London.

Rory Walks… Come Kip with Me… These were all well-thought-through campaign ideas. It may have seemed natural to take the piss when you saw it all unravelling on Twitter, but bear in mind that neither Sadiq Khan nor Shaun Bailey has ever seemed interested in going to the lengths that Rory did when it comes to getting to know Londoners.

The polls showed that Rory was pottering around in third place, behind Bailey and Khan. This was a point that Sadiq Khan would often raise during interviews, suggesting that the race to be Mayor of London was merely a two-horse affair between himself and the Tory candidate.

He dismissed Rory because he knew of the threat he posed. Unlike Shaun Bailey, Rory was starting to appeal not just to the liberal Conservatives in London, but also the middle-class Labour clique, who had previously backed Sadiq, as well as to the Lib Dem vote and even some of the Green Party support.

Rory, like his fellow candidates, had been expecting to stand in the Mayoral Election in March of this year. However, due to COVID-19 making it impossible for us even to go outside and breathe, that didn’t happen. Londoners soon found out that they were being postponed until 2021, which would mean another year of campaigning. However, it was this further year of campaigning that Rory could not afford, which was why, on May 6th, he sent an e-mail to his staff informing them that he was pulling out of the race.

A couple of months later, the Liberal Democrat candidate would have to do the same, meaning that at this point in time there is no centrist/liberal figure running for Mayor of London.

London, one of the most diverse, inclusive, beautiful and liberal cities in the world, is lacking a liberal leadership candidate. It just doesn’t seem right.

Boris Johnson is a Liberal Opportunist

Featured in Comment Central: Ted Jeffery argues Boris will always have a liberal-Tory ideology just like his political idol, Sir Winston Churchill – another progressive Tory of his time.

Boris Johnson is by no means a nationalist pariah. He is, if anything, a liberal opportunist. He may slip into the tendencies of a Trump-esque character, but when he does, you should remember it’s all a part of the Boris act.

An act which started all the way back in the establishment riddled halls of Eton. A prestigious public school that in many ways was an economic class above the Johnson household. It was only because of a bursary that Boris managed to secure himself a place at the notorious Prime Ministerial factory. Eton provided a highly competitive environment, which taught a young Alexander (Boris) about how to make the most of life’s opportunities. Whether it was becoming The Telegraph’s top man in Brussels, or by bumbling his way through a grilling on ‘Have I Got News For You’, Boris has launched himself at these gigs, which in return made him a household name.

So what about his frankly less than liberal columns? Well, like most journalists, Boris knows how to provoke his audience and how to turn a slightly dreary topic into a controversial talking point. For instance, look at his ‘Burka letterbox’ piece. Yes, it was tasteless and didn’t do much for standing up against oppression. However, I believe the reason Boris made those remarks is no different from the reason he wrote about the EU wanting to inflict Nazi-style “punishment beatings” on the UK. For him, it’s about the thrill factor. Boris doesn’t believe a great deal of what he says. He alludes to the fact that he might for his very own ‘shock genre’.

Each column that Boris writes reads as if he is delivering a speech to the Oxford Union. He always seeks to invigorate his audience.  Every journalist knows that to ensure regular readership week after week, you’ve got to have 60% of your spectators viewing your content because they agree. Meanwhile, the remaining 40% look on in the hope of being brassed off by your rhetoric. Boris understands this better than anyone else. This is why he continues to be contentious: because he knows it’ll bring in the traffic. It’s very unlikely you’ll see this trait during his time as PM, mainly because he isn’t fighting for anyone’s attention.

The truth is his pro-immigration, pro-same-sex marriage and pro-Union mantra is something that still solidifies him as a progressive, One Nation, Cameroon Tory. His self-appointment as Minister for the Union stands out as a principal liberal value that some say has been lost over the past four years of Brexit discourse.

By creating this role, Boris has cleverly sent out a message saying that he won’t be the Prime Minister for just the 52%. He understands the importance of the Union and won’t see it fall under his Premiership. It’s all just one more reason why the PM has been spending time touring the north, fighting for the Northern Powerhouse legacy.

Although the future of HS2 is still up in the air, this hasn’t stopped Boris from announcing a £39bn transport plan to help rejuvenate the railway network in the North of England. On top of this, he is looking to invest £3.6bn into some of the most deprived towns in the UK. So as opportunistic as he might seem, his liberal values of caring for some of the most culturally and economically damaged places in the UK have not been lost. Boris is by no means an Angel from the Heavens above, but he does understand the importance of investing in some of the UK’s most neglected regions.

Even Boris’ unpublished Pro-Remain piece is awash with liberal values that I can hardly believe he has lost over the past four years. He wrote about the benefits of the Single Market, saying:

“This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms. The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?”

Boris understands and appreciates the liberal nature of the Single Market. It is visible through his ability to bask in the deferred gratification of receiving access to a convenient trading model that offers us so much, in his own words, for so little.

It’s precisely the kind of ‘dirty talk’ that Anna Soubry and Chukka Umunna get off on. So why did Boris chuck these principles in the bin? Because he wanted to ride his populist horse straight into Number 10. However, Brexit was never a battle Boris expected to win. It was merely seen as another opportunity for Johnson to create some havoc for the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. But once Dave had resigned, the doors of 10 Downing Street were left wide open for Boris to stroll into eventually. That was until his Vote Leave chum, Michael Gove, notably the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, stabbed him in the back. Boris then had to wait an arduous three years before fulfilling his dream.

It’s difficult to tell whether or not Boris is going to have enough capital to inject into issues like policing, housing and the NHS. With a potential recession on the horizon, there will undoubtedly be an impact as to whether or not Boris can begin any form of a spending spree. It may also be a matter of this Tory PM having to increase borrowing to pay for all these pledges. Funnily enough, this is all starting to sound less and less Tory.

Boris will always have a liberal-Tory ideology just like his political idol, Sir Winston Churchill, a progressive Tory of his time. And, just like Churchill, the only way Boris will get through the next few months of party disunity, Commons warfare and voter fatigue is likely to be to “Keep Buggering On”.