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Thursday, 18 May 2017 20:01

The Demotic Politics of Theresa May -- and Donald Trump

Written by  Michael Barone

DURHAM, England -- When I first visited England to cover a British election 20 years ago this month, there were striking similarities between British and American politics.

In Britain, Tony Blair's Labour Party was about to sweep to a landslide victory after 18 years of Conservative Party government, promising a third way between the free market policies of Margaret Thatcher and the socialist policies of traditional Labour.

Voters and politicians seemed filled with exhilaration at the prospect of an articulate, optimistic 44-year-old leader promising an exit from the politics of deadlock.

There were echoes of what was going on across the Atlantic. Bill Clinton was re-elected at age 50 in 1996, promising a third way between Reagan conservatism and dogmatic liberalism. As Blair did with his New Labour movement, Clinton made deep inroads in affluent suburbs in big metropolitan areas even while maintaining traditional party strengths.

Clinton's articulate optimism remained exhilarating even as he was hammering out balanced budget and Medicare reform deals with congressional Republican majorities led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The American and British economies were surging ahead, led by a booming tech sector. No one had heard of Monica Lewinsky or Osama bin Laden.

Today there are again parallels between the two nations' politics, as interviews with British voters and politicians and frequent iPad updates on American headlines show.

Read more at TownHall

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