How to Win an Election and Lose Your Job

When British Prime Minister Theresa May declared a snap election on 18 April 2017, she was ahead by double digits in the polls over the main opposition party, Labour. Her goal was to win a bigger Tory majority in Parliament to allow her to govern more effectively, without having to woo or cajole every single Tory member to support her policies. (At the moment, the Tories hold 330 seats of the 650 seats in Parliament.)

But elections are unpredictable beasts, as Hillary Clinton learned the hard way. Now, with two days left to the election, the gap between the Tories and Labour had narrowed drastically. Some polls say the Tories still hold a comfortable lead, while others say their lead is razor thin. It appears that some polling companies are using new methodologies, hoping to better capture the outcome of this election, after having failed to predict the previous UK election and the recent American one, so the results may surprise everyone.

What is clear is that what was at first unthinkable, that the Tories would either lose the election or have to form a coalition government with other parties because they would fail to win a clear majority themselves, is now not unlikely. It is also possible that the Tories will emerge victorious, but with even a slimmer majority than the one they now hold.

In either such scenario, Theresa May will likely have to resign.

Theresa May took a gamble when she called for these elections. She ran a shoddy campaign. She proved an uncharismatic, lackluster leader. She will be blamed should the Tories come out of these elections worse off than they were when they entered them.

Winning the election will not be enough for her to retain her job. She declared these elections to enhance her party’s majority in Parliament. If she fails, even while winning, she will face inter-party pressure to resign, and will likely surrender to it.

So Theresa May may win the forthcoming elections, and end up losing her job while doing so. We’ll know in two days.