Corporate media find all the wrong lessons for US left in Corbyn’s defeat


Conservative leader Boris Johnson swept to power in the UK’s December 12 elections, winning 365 of a possible 650 seats. Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his resignation, after a bitterly disappointing night for his party.

Across the spectrum, corporate media all came to the same conclusion regarding the election: Corbyn’s loss spells the end for the US left and a “crushing defeat” (New York, 12/13/19) of the discredited policies of socialism. The press was filled with variations on the same reflexive warning to the Democrats: Don’t go left.

Indeed, CNN published three near-identical articles with that message in one 24-hour span  (12/12/19, 12/13/19, 12/13/19). The first, written even as polling stations were still open, suggested that “the Democratic Party may see a cautionary tale for the US 2020 presidential race,” as Corbyn “promised revolutionary change, a fundamental overhaul of society, heavy new taxes on the rich and a far bigger role for the state in the economy. Sound familiar?” It claimed he “took his party way to the left, leaving the more moderate ground where many voters feel most comfortable.” Going on to attack Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders specifically, it suggested that proposing a “state-run healthcare system” like Britain’s is a “vote killer,” and that Corbyn’s imminent loss implies Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg would be a better candidate.

Only a few hours later, John Avalon claimed (CNN, 12/13/19) the election was a “fierce repudiation” of leftist politics, presenting a “cautionary tale about the perils of polarization and the predictable dangers of embracing a far-left leader” who would nationalize key industries. CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza (12/13/19) offered exactly the same opinion, claiming Johnson’s victory should “make 2020 Democrats nervous,” insinuating that embracing progressive politics and Medicare for All was political suicide, and recommending a more “moderate” or “pragmatic” candidate than Warren or Sanders.

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