Thursday's British elections were a major disaster for Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative Party, as Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party received a wave of electoral gains that almost ended May's tenure as prime minister. May hung on by a thread, but the election will be a drag on her and the Conservative Party going forward.
Here are five things you need to know about Thursday's British elections.
1. May called for a "snap" election in April. The next election wouldn't have occurred until 2020 had May not called it. At the time, things were looking sunny for the Conservatives, who had a 17-point lead over the Labour Party. But, as noted by FiveThirtyEight's Harry Enten, Britain's polls tend to be "volatile" and May "might still have been in her 'honeymoon period,'" all of which explain why it was not a smart idea for her to call the "snap" election. The results ended up being horrific for Conservatives.
2. The Conservatives lost 13 seats while the Labour Party gained 32 seats, putting each party at 318 and 262 seats, respectively. It takes 326 seats to have a majority, which made it a very real possibility that Corbyn could have been the next prime minister if the Labour Party was able to cobble together support with other political parties. However, one political party bailed out May.
3. May managed to protect her position as prime minister by forming a unity government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). DUP is a political party in Northern Ireland that believes in a lavish welfare state but is conservative on social issues, especially in their opposition to abortion and gay marriage. DUP is also in favor of Brexit and NATO while opposing Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Now they have a total of 10 seats after the election, which was just enough to keep Corbyn out of the prime minister position.
4. Brexit negotiations will be a lot more difficult now. National Review's Michael Brendan Dougherty explains:
One talking point going into the last month was that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour had been wise to simply accept Brexit as a political reality. That’s true. In fact, by doing so they took Brexit off the table in the election. This allowed UKIP members to come back to Labour. But almost immediately you could feel the anti-Brexit establishment in both parties and the media finding a new argument. It goes like this: Even though both major parties accept and support Brexit and the anti-Brexit party was utterly wiped out, look, Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise result was powered by young people who were angry about Brexit!
The turmoil that is about to consume the Tories as they go into negotiations makes it more likely that they will bungle them and give Remainers more leverage to halt Brexit.
Indeed, as National Review's Charles Cooke writes, May now enters Brexit negotiations with a "hobble rather than stride, and her entrance will be marked by chattering and by sniping both at home and abroad," which will put her in a weaker position and with less of a mandate. The Brexit negotiations will be worth watching going forward.
5. May's campaign shoulders a lot of blame for the Conservative losses.
In a way, May's campaign was like Hillary Clinton's in that she was "cold and robotic or prone to vacillation" when answering questions, per Cooke, who noted that May was reluctant to even debate her opponents. Cooke also noted that May didn't focus much on policy, went overly negative in her campaigning and her "move closer to the center" took away "the solemn power of contrast" — all of which were signs of a poorly-run campaign. May's proposal to lift the cap on contributions for elderly care from £23,250 to £100,000 ($29,643.75 to $127,500 in U.S. dollars), dubbed as the "dementia tax," also received heavy backlash and May was forced to back away from it.
The election has naturally caused those within the Conservative Party to start blaming May for the party's losses.
While it's likely a better candidate would have curtailed the Conservatives' losses, there is one thing that should be very troubling to the party: Corbyn's strong performance was largely due to a galvanized youth vote coming out in droves for him. As Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro explains, the millennial enthusiasm for the likes of Corbyn, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Jean-Luc Melanchon shows that Western youth are moving away from capitalism and freedom and more toward Marxism and tyranny, a trend that should be alarming to the West as a whole.