Corbyn's UK defeat was bad news for Sanders, Warren and America's left

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Image: Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the Labour Party's headquarters following the general election in London
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the Labour Party's headquarters following the general election in London, Britain Dec. 13, 2019.Henry Nicholls / Reuters

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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

WASHINGTON — Always beware of drawing conclusions from one country’s election to another.

But it’s also hard to ignore that the results in Britain last night were bad news for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and America’s left — just 52 days before the Iowa caucuses.

On Thursday, unpopular Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party trounced even more unpopular socialist Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, with Labour having its worst general-election performance in three decades.

Make no mistake: Neither Sanders nor Warren are as unpopular as Corbyn is in his country; in fact, Sanders and Warren have similar favorable and unfavorable ratings to Joe Biden’s.

And there’s no doubt that Corbyn’s muddled message on Brexit hurt his party.

But beyond unpopularity and Brexit, last night’s election showed the limits of campaigning and winning on ideology. A socialist or very left-leaning message — inspired to turn out young voters and unite the working class — simply didn’t work.

It also showed what happens to a party when it becomes primarily an urban party.

“The tide has gone so far out for Labour that it is now predominantly a party of the English cities and their commuter suburbs. Seat after seat in its traditional strongholds across central and northern England and north Wales fell to the Conservatives,” Helen Lewis writes in The Atlantic.

And it shows the limits of the Twitter Left.

As NBC’s Keir Simmons noted on “Today,” this morning, the Twitter Left in Britain thought it was building momentum and winning the argument.

“One commentator today, perhaps with a lesson for America again, saying: ‘Never believe that Twitter reflects the country,’” Simmons said.

Tweet of the day

Impeachment inquiry update: Judiciary vote gets delayed

“After a grueling 14-hour meeting, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee suddenly announced that the panel would not vote as planned late Thursday night on two articles of impeachment, angering Republicans,” NBC’s Rebecca Shabad writes.

The committee will instead take up the vote at 10:00 am ET today.

Ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., and other Republicans “alleged Democrats abruptly changed the schedule only to get more media attention during the day on Friday for the impeachment vote,” Shabad adds.

One trend we’re seeing in the impeachment debate: When the subject is substance — like what happened during the testimony at the Intelligence Committee — Democrats are winning.

But when the subject turns to process — like what we’re seeing at the Judiciary Committee — Republicans are effectively muddying the waters.

Again, this new development in the Ukraine story got buried this week: Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate, got $1 million from an account in Russia.

2020 Vision: Warren blasts Dem rivals

In a speech in New Hampshire yesterday, Elizabeth Warren took aim at her Democratic rivals as she made her case that she’s running for president “to take on a corrupt system and get our economy working for everyone,” per NBC’s Ali Vitali.

“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not counting on Republican politicians having an epiphany,” she said, obviously referring to Joe Biden.

“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not betting my agenda on the naive hope that if Democrats adopt Republican critiques of progressive policies or make vague calls for unity that somehow the wealthy and well-connected will stand down,” Warren added, appearing to refer to Pete Buttigieg.

And she also said, “It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Michael Bloomberg trying to buy the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s up with a new health-care-themed TV ad in Iowa, touting his support for protecting Obamacare and a public option, NBC’s Maura Barrett and Marianna Sotomayor report.

On the campaign trail today

Bernie Sanders campaigns with with Ilhan Omar in New Hampshire – first a town hall in Manchester, then an evening rally in Nashua… Joe Biden raises money in San Antonio, Texas… Pete Buttigieg sits down for an interview with the Washington Post… Andrew Yang remains in Iowa… Tulsi Gabbard is in South Carolina… Mike Bloomberg holds a climate event in Alexandria, Va…. And Cory Booker and Deval Patrick also campaign in the Granite State.

Dispatches from NBC’s campaign embeds

Joe Biden responded to Elizabeth Warren’s attacks, NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor flags from the pool report from a Palo Alto, Calif. fundraiser: “‘I read a speech by one of my — good person — one of my opponents, saying that, “You know, Biden says we’re going to have to work with Republicans to get stuff passed,” Biden said without mentioning Warren’s name. ‘I thought, “Well, OK -- how are you going to do it, by executive order?”’ After chuckles filled the room in response to his remark, Biden continued, ‘This particular person said, “He thinks he can actually unify the country – you can’t unify the country.” Well, guys, if we can’t unify the country you all ought to go home now, because nothing’s going to happen except by executive order. And last time I knew it, a president is not allowed to say, “This is how I’m changing the tax structure, this is how I’m changing the environment, this is how-“you need to actually get a consensus in the constitutional process. And we can unify the country.’”

And Bernie Sanders weighed in on former Rep. Katie Hill’s seat, and endorsed “The Young Turks” founder Cenk Uygur, for the seat. NBC’s Gary Grumbach flags that Sanders’ endorsement is already drawing pushback. “Hollywood NOW, an organization of feminist activists with more than 500,000 members wrote a statement saying, ‘If Bernie Sanders is a real progressive – he will disavow Cenk Uygur,’” and Grumbach flagged. Uygur has received pushback for comments he made in the past about women. More establishment Democrats have endorsed California Assemblywoman Christy Smith.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 47 percent to 46 percent

47 percent to 46 percent.

That’s Joe Biden’s margin against Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup in Wisconsin, according to a new Marquette Law School poll. That’s well within the margin of error.

The same poll finds Bernie Sanders (45 percent to Trump’s 47 percent), Elizabeth Warren (44 percent to Trump’s 45 percent), Pete Buttigieg (43 percent to Trump’s 44 percent) and Cory Booker (43 percent to 44 percent) trailing the incumbent – also within the margin of error.

The poll of Wisconsin registered voters was conducted December 3-8, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

The Lid: You gotta have faith

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at the big factor that appears to be influencing Americans’ confidence in the news media.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

The Judiciary Committee unexpectedly delayed a vote on impeachment last night, and Republicans aren’t happy about it.

The U.S. envoy to Afghanistan says there will be a “pause” in Taliban peace talks after an attack near Bagram airfield.

Andrew Yang says that race has something to do with the level of media coverage he gets.

Matt Gaetz brought up Hunter Biden’s past substance abuse issues. It backfired pretty fast.

Trump Agenda: Shutdown averted

Lawmakers have a deal to avoid another government shutdown.

President Trump has been tweeting. A lot.

Here’s how Trump is courting Jewish voters.

2020: Checking in on Biden’s support in Iowa

The Washington Post checks in with former Biden supporters in Iowa who now aren’t that sure about him.

Elizabeth Warren discussed her evolution from Republican to Democrat.

Joe Biden has a new ad emphasizing his plans to protect Obamacare.

Michael Bloomberg has released a medical assessment.

Bloomberg is hiring tons of new people.