As I’ve said previously, explaining election losses after the fact is too easy, since changing any factor that caused a loss of significant numbers of votes would (other things equal) turn the loss to a win.
Still, one thing that’s struck me about several recent elections lost by the left is that they combined a generally coherent platform with a fudge on a central issue. Examples are Corbyn on Brexit, Shorten on Adani and Clinton on the TPPA.
I don’t want to make too much of this. The decision to fudge in each case reflected the reality that going either way would cost at least some votes, and might not get enough new ones to make up.
Still, Shorten didn’t gain anything by hedging on Adani, and lost quite a bit. If he had announced the end of new thermal coal, he wouldn’t have lost any more seats, and might have gained some
I think also that Corbyn would have done better with a promise of an immediate referendum on Johnson’s deal and a commitment to campaign for Remain. And once Clinton decided against TPP she should have gone the whole hog, rather than appointing another globalist like Tim Kaine as running mate.
fn1. This policy would actually help miners working in existing mines, in the Hunter Valley for example. Whether Labor’s abysmal campaign crew could get such a message across is another question.