Joe Biden warns Democrats that UK election shows what happens when candidates 'move so far to the left'

Chris Riotta

Joe Biden and other centrist US Democrats have warned against their party moving too far to the left ahead of 2020, following the historic defeat of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the UK general election.

The former vice president suggested Mr Corbyn’s liberal platform and having taken the Labour party “so far to the left” ultimately contributed to Boris Johnson’s landslide victory this week.

“Boris Johnson is winning in a walk,” Mr Biden said in San Francisco on Thursday.

He spoke with supporters as the results of the UK election came in, predicting international headlines would read the next day: “Look what happens when the Labour Party moves so, so far to the left.”

“It comes up with ideas that are not able to be contained within a rational basis quickly”, he added. “You’re also going to see people saying, my god, Boris Johnson, who is kind of a physical and emotional clone of the president, is able to win.”

Most analysts had predicted Mr Johnson and the Tories would win the general election on Thursday and the party met or outperformed expectations, picking up 365 seats compared to Labour’s 203.

However, while the Tories now enjoy their largest majority in Parliament in nearly three decades, the UK general election process is vastly different than that in the US. While an array of party leaders were vying for support in the UK, the US typically only sees two primary candidates from the major political parties facing off in a presidential election.

Moreover, the issue of Brexit played a foundational role in this week’s election, with the candidates all having taken strong stances on whether the UK should separate itself from the European Union. While Mr Corbyn led the opposition to Brexit, the entirety of Mr Johnson’s campaign was effectively based on getting it done after the UK voted in favour of the split in June 2016.

But politicians in the US were quick to suggest the results could foreshadow what’s to come in the next presidential election, including Donald Trump, who congratulated Mr Johnson on his victory when speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon.

“I want to congratulate Boris Johnson on a terrific victory”, the president said. “I think that might be a harbinger of what’s to come in our country – it was last time.”

Other Republicans and prominent right-wing figures used the UK election results to hit out at the Democratic Party’s more left-leaning politicians, including 2020 hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, tweeted on Friday: “Careful Bernie, even the UK is rejecting socialism!”

John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat and long shot 2020 presidential candidate who is often considered a centrist, said in a statement that Mr Johnson’s victory “proved that mainstream voters will not embrace an extreme economic plan that will cause upheaval, just because they are not fans of the conservative leader.”

“The UK election foreshadows a possible, but not certain, political future for the Democratic Party”, he added in a tweet, “if we nominate someone too extreme for the electorate”.

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