The losers’ lament

In June and then again in November of 2016, the United Kingdom and then the United States faced what seemed like an impossibility to the mainstream media and the left: a resounding victory for conservative voices. 

First, UK voters (narrowly, the critics contended) voted to divorce the European Union. Next, US voters (controversially, the critics contended) elected Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. If the mainstream media and liberal voices were to be believed and if political events actually could cause earthquakes, millions of Britons and Americans would soon see their homes, their places of work and their roads left in collapsed rubble. Come to think of it, the notion that ‘the end of times’ had arrived was a theme developed by the mainstream media in both countries. 

Last time I checked, those homes, businesses and roads remained intact.

Instead of, and I apologize for the cliche here, picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and starting all over again, the left wallowed in self-defeat, lamenting how their view of life could have been ravaged by the right. The mainstream media in both countries contributed; in the UK, one story after another announced how Brexit would forever destroy the nation, while the US media latched onto the idea that Russia had gummed up the presidential election. 

We’ll set aside that a careful reading of US history finds that the CIA has been seeking to influence the outcome of elections in many nations for years because, you know, that’s something Americans really don’t want to talk about.

Before we go any further, allow me to acknowledge two important points: First, I voted for Hillary Clinton in that fateful year of 2016 because I believed she was the better of the two candidates; second, I don’t want to hear another word about the Kremlin and aiding Trump. Seeking to influence hearts and minds is always mentioned when the US engages in a conflict somewhere around the world; if a nation is going to dose out a certain kind of medicine, then it needs to be prepared to also take it. 

Let’s move on.  

Five years later, the left in both countries continues to do exactly what they often criticize the right of doing: Begging for another chance to affirm their domestic and international view. Remember when then-candidate Barack Obama was caught criticizing the right for clinging to guns and religion? Well, beginning in 2016, the left seemed convinced that clinging to their fundamental beliefs was more important than ever because the right was lusting to exact a terrible revenge for globalization, changes to social norms and more. The left desperately felt that if only they could have one more chance to outline their case to the voters, then the unwanted election result would go away and everything would again be right with the world.

Time and again, the mainstream media in the UK amplified a voice, especially if it was a powerful one, demanding that there be a second referendum about leaving the EU. And, yes, time and again the mainstream media in the US anticipated that Robert Mueller’s investigation would provide conclusive evidence that Trump had ties to the Russians and…well, you’ve heard all of that baloney before.

What seems to be forgotten by these groups is that a political election is akin to a sports event: You cannot order a replay of a sports event because your team lost. And the longer the voters whine about what they “lost” in 2016, the less time they will have to carefully analyze their message and adapt it to a new era. 

Anyone who called for a second Brexit referendum for the UK was engaging in the losers’ lament. Opinions will continue to be heard about how the UK will fare now that it is out of the EU. Good. Let reasonable arguments echo across the mainstream and social media space. However, anyone who believes that the referendum lacked legitimacy, and still wants to tout that message, continues to suffer the losers’ lament. He or she has no meaningful rebuttal as to why voters chose as they did in June of 2016; therefore, he or she must cling to infantile ideas such as “the voters really didn’t understand what Brexit meant.”


My sense from this side of the pond is that American voters have stopped talking about Trump and the Russians. Right now, we seem more interested in arguing whether masks are an impingement on freedom. Saying that, my sense also is that too many Britons on the left are still eager to argue about whether Brexit was the correct choice.

The longer those groups lament what was, the better the chances that the Tories retain power. Like Boris Johnson or not, he’s governing in and for a post-Brexit UK. One can only imagine the wailing from the left if he succeeds.

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