A body of water and more than 4,000 miles separate Alabama and Great Britain, but two events occurring within twenty-four hours on both sides of the pond provide a roadmap for the American political landscape.
Let’s start with Alabama’s Republican primary.
Though grassroots Republicans may have plenty of anger at GOP leadership, interim Senator Luther Strange reeked of home-brewed quid pro quo. As Alabama’s attorney general, Strange forced a delay in the impeachment of sex scandal-plagued Governor Robert Bentley, who would, in turn, appoint him to Jeff Sessions’s vacated seat.
The candidacy of theocrat Roy Moore provides a unique pick-up opportunity for Democrats in a state where they haven’t been competitive in over two decades. Moore will face the anti-Jon Ossoff, the documentary filmmaker who lost his bid for Congress in a Georgia district where he didn’t live, in Greg Jones, a lifelong Alabamian who as a U.S. attorney prosecuted and sent to prison two Klansman bombers of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Bigger picture, the rhetoric of Moore’s regional Republican party drives turnout for Democrats, influencing who they run and who can win in Democratic primaries. Elected Republicans nationwide will be in the untenable position of defending Moore’s decades of repugnant statements, further morphing the national GOP into a regional party with limited viability outside of the South and among their most right-wing conspiracy-minded supporters.
This radicalism on the far right creates an opening for extremism on the far left. The typical winning Democratic playbook is one of triangulation and moderation, but the radicalism of the regional Republicans creates a national opportunity for progressive leaders like Senators Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, both formerly derided as unviable.
An ocean away, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outlined a socialist vision of cradle to graduate school free education alongside the dismemberment of Margaret…