As if American political junkies didn't have enough excitement on Thursday with the Comey testimony, Great Britain had a snap general election that same day which yielded shocking results. I can say it feels nice to be on the outside of a stunning election for a change. Theresa May learned the same difficult lesson that Hillary Clinton did: That you can’t always trust election forecasters.
If you don't enjoy being involved in Europe’s drama like I do, you may be asking yourself, "Why do I care?"
To start, the snap election has cost the Conservative party their majority in Parliament. The move seems to be in direct defiance of Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for the Brexit, which was the original reason why the election was called. May was hoping that the snap election would give her a larger majority to work with when negotiating the terms for Brexit with the European Union, a process which is supposed to start soon. In the end the Conservatives lost 13 seats, while the Labor Party gained a staggering 30.
More importantly, this election saw as much as an estimated 72 percent turnout among young voters 18-24. Contrary to popular opinion, millennials can make a difference. These impressive numbers come after an American general election in November that only saw about 50 percent of voters between the ages of 18-29 turn out. If we learn a lesson from our British counterparts, our generation can turn activism into action and start voting, which could have a profound effect on our politics and our elections.
The election also shows a changing concept in British politics: Voters did not vote for politicians, but instead voted for principles. This is evident when you consider that May’s party is more in favor of Brexit, which won a majority in a special election, yet they lost seats in a general election.
We also have learned that despite the wave of nationalism sweeping across countries’ elections that is evident by the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and the rise of former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, progressive ideals are making a comeback. Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a European version of Bernie Sanders. He ran on a similar platform of providing universal education and maintaining and further expanding England’s universal healthcare program, and now he is a step closer to becoming the Prime Minister of the UK.
In a way, the election makes you think: What could have happened had Sanders been the one to run against Trump?
As they say, hindsight is 20-20 — which also happens to be the year we have another general election. Let’s hope it’s just as exciting as Britain’s.