1. It’s Friday, June 9, 2017.
2. It’s the 44th anniversary of Secretariat’s amazing Belmont Stakes victory that completed horse racing’s Triple Crown.
3. A year ago, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – Brexit – was seen by some as a harbinger of what might happen in the US presidential election. I was in the group that ignored the sign – maybe the British were dumb enough to leave the EU, but Americans weren’t so stupid as to elect Trump president.
OK. That’s a big miss.
In addition to being utter foolishness, Brexit and Trump share two important attributes.
First, they both got by thanks to really idiotic rules. In the UK, letting a simple majority change a nation’s direction. In the US, the Electoral College that gave someone 3 million votes shy of his rival the world’s most important job.
Last night, the younger generation in the U.K. may have sent a message that things are about to change.
An election that was supposed to strengthen the Conservative majority ended up ending it. Theresa May will likely remain prime minister – the Conservatives did get the most seats in Parliament. But now they need the people in Northern Ireland who want to stay British to govern.
The Labor Party (sorry British friends, I’m American; no u), thought to be on the verge of a relevance-reducing wipeout, targeted younger voters with such issues as tackling student debt, increasing the minimum wage and minimizing the damage done by Brexit.
The party ended up gaining 29 seats, keeping May and the Conservatives from their sought-after mandate.
Turnout among younger voters, while still below that of their elders, was higher than in the past. There are indications that these folks saw what happened when they didn’t show up for the Brexit vote.
4. And that’s why this vote should be a more hopeful event for those of us who hate Trump than the Comey hearing.
Because Trumpism is absolutely not about doing anything for younger people.
From gutting public education to disregarding the student debt crisis. From denying climate change to denying easy access to birth control. From making health care unaffordable to making it harder to see the world.
Bernie Sanders, to his credit, saw this. He tapped into this sentiment last year, and the fact that Clinton really couldn’t do it quite as well cost her the election.
Maybe the parallels aren’t there. Maybe the Trumpistas are always going to turn out in bigger percentages than the sane people.
But if Brexit presaged Trump, perhaps Labor’s showing last night presaged younger voters realizing that there is a lot at stake in these elections.
Getting them to show up, starting later this month in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District and continuing through next year’s state and congressional elections, is the only way we’re going to get rid of Trump.