As stunned Conservatives struggled to explain their election losses in the United Kingdom on Friday morning, one factor emerged as decisive: namely, the high turnout of young voters.
The BBC reported anecdotal evidence — not yet backed by formal proof, though widely believed — that a surge in young voters propelled Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his party to historic gains, while holding Prime Minister Theresa May’s party below a majority.
What could have propelled young people to support an aging white male politician, whose political views are a throwback to the stodgy, pre-Tony Blair days of the British left?
One factor may have been sheer authenticity. Like America’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who supported Corbyn — the Labour leader’s ideological rigidity (and promises of free education) may have attracted young voters who prefer the real thing to a compromise candidate.
But another factor may have been the aftermath of the terror attacks of the past several weeks in Manchester and London. While Corbyn’s dalliances with Palestinian terror alienated some voters, the media were saturated by Hollywood celebrities like Ariana Grande telling young British fans — the primary terror targets — that the solution to radical Islam was to reach out and love one another.
“I don’t care what ethnicity you are, what religion you are. Love really is the way,” Stevie Wonder told the audience at Grande’s #OneLoveManchester concert last weekend.
While Conservatives campaigned on a separation from Europe, personified by Prime Minister Theresa May’s aloof stance, Labour emphasized unity and harmony with the world, picking up anti-Brexit themes that happened to jibe with the Hollywood message.
Young voters appear to have responded in droves — sending a signal not only to May, but to President Donald Trump, who may face a surge in youth activism in the so-called “Resistance” in the U.S.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.