I try to warn people not to read too much into elections in other nations and apply it to America because politics are often local, and each nation has a very specific set of problems, issues and personalities that may not reflect the situation in the US.
Still, it’s understandable that commentators can’t help drawing parallels between the “shocking” election in Australia over the weekend and the 2016 US presidential election.
All the pollsters were so certain that the leftwing Labor Party was going to wipe out the currently ruling Liberal Party (in Australia, they’re right-of-center) that the Labor candidates were practically measuring the offices for drapes already. They were raring to go on remaking Australia into a liberal/green Utopia. Their leader had promised to raise taxes on “the wealthy” and start from day one making “climate change” the #1 priority in every policy. They were all set to impose the Down Under version of the Green New Deal. But they overlooked one minor detail: the voters.
With about two-thirds of the votes counted, current Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative governing coalition is leading in 77 races, and only 76 are needed for a majority. The Labor Party is well behind at 66.
So what happened? Morrison called it a “miracle.” Leftists took the surprise loss just as well as Hillary Clinton and her supporters did, and immediately began insulting and attacking the voters, calling them “morons,” “dumb,” “mean-spirited,” “greedy” and “rotten” for not voting them into power (I’ve long heard it said that “No Democrat ever lost a ‘fair’ election,” and apparently, that’s one thing that does translate to Australia.) I’m sure they’ll get around to blaming Russia by next week.
The far more likely reason is one that applies here as well: the leftist politicians and the leftist media and the leftist pollsters created a big echo chamber. You can tell from those reactions to the vote that if you disagree with them in any way, you're deplorable and they don’t even want to hear from you. So people lied to pollsters, for the same reasons that they avoid putting Trump stickers on their cars: they know those people are crazy, and they don’t want their cars keyed. But in the privacy of the voting booth, they express what they really think.
And they really think the left’s ideas are bat-poop crazy and will destroy the economy, personal freedom and all the traditional values that have made their nation great. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about the environment or want their children to breath poison air (“conservation” and “conservative” share the same root, after all.) They might even agree with the premise that humans are contributing to climate change. But they don’t believe the solution is to turn over total control of their money and their lives to a bunch of arrogant leftist wannabe tyrants.
If there is a lesson for Americans to learn from the Australian election (aside from “Don’t believe polls” – one just claimed that Joe Biden is 11 points ahead of Trump, and it took Hillary until a month or so before the election before they claimed she was 11 points ahead), it was summed up well in that linked article by Matthew Lesh of Britain’s Adam Smith Institute. Don’t try to run as “leftists lite.” Draw a sharp line of difference. Let the voters know that you are the party of less government, lower taxes, more jobs and more freedom, and they are the party that wants to raise taxes, bloat government, punish industry and take over the world in the name of changing the climate. Then trust the voters to be wise enough to choose the right path.
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