Before anyone accuses me of making a false or unfair comparison, the purpose of this post is not to say that these two are the same. In many ways, they couldn't be more different. Trump spent the majority of his 'career' generally being an unpleasant person to work with. Corbyn, on the other hand, has always been a man of the people. He's built a reputation for being in the trenches with the “masses” and fighting for their causes. My aim is to address some remarkable similarities in their approach and how it helped their results.
The first similarity is the connection with the general public. While Corbyn had always been in touch, Trump made the astute move of tapping into long held frustrations and providing a voice for those frustrations on a bigger platform than they usually got. In America, it was immigration, jobs and 'Islamic extremism'. In the UK, it was austerity and wealth inequality. Both politicians took the brave move of addressing these issues at every opportunity, even when it seemed like the emphasis was grating on everyone else.
This persistence with the message earned an unyielding loyalty from the masses which was unshakeable in the face of what can only be described as spectacular gaffes. In Corbyn's case, he and his allies repeatedly got their numbers wrong ahead of the elections but that did not stop the
quite remarkable success of his campaign. Diane Abbott, one of Corbyn's strongest allies and also one of the repeat offenders in the campaigning process went on to record the biggest ever majority in her constituency. Trump, on the other, said a series of racist, sexist and generally derogatory things on the on the campaign trail (and beforehand) but that did not stop him from winning.
The two also made a big deal out of campaigning and getting supporters fired up. You may disagree with some of their policies and their general approach but one thing you cannot deny is that their supporters had more fire in their belly than supporters of their opposition. The justifications for this 'fire in the belly' are, of course, up for discussion but what both politicians did was to tap into that fire and ride the wave. Their rallies were packed to the rafters and even though I wasn't there personally, you could feel the passion from the other side of the television. Their opponents, on the other hand, seemed to be conducting robotic events that attendees were not too keen on.
Corbyn and Trump also used the supposed attacks from the media as a tool to galvanise supporters. Both were parodied (and continue to be parodied) from pillar to post but instead of dampening the spirit, it has spurred supporters on to greater commitment to the cause. On the morning of the UK elections, the UK's best selling newspaper, The Sun ran a front page saying “Don't chuck Britain in the Cor-bin” with a picture of Jeremy Corbyn's head sticking out of a dust bin. At the end of the day, Corbyn's Labour Party had increased its number of seats by 34 (I guess he had the last laugh there).
There is also the anti-establishment card, the fact that they were both up against opponents that were in their position by some kind of default and a range of other issues that show interesting similarities between Corbyn and Trump but I think you get my point. These two were given next to no chance and both defied the odds to record astonishing successes. By taking politics back to its fundamentals and speaking up for “the people”, they managed to deliver successes that even many of their supporters did not see coming.