Boris Johnson learns this the hard way. After inheriting May's minority government, Johnson discovered early on that his optimism was not enough to end Brexit.
Although he made it seemingly impossible to get a new deal from the EU, he simply does not have the number in Parliament to pass the legislation needed to deliver Brexit. Electing a new majority was his only real opportunity.
This is gambling. Having promised to leave the EU by the end of October, Johnson risks not only a further delay, but also the overall prospect of losing Brexit. Although he currently enjoys healthy polls, a lot can happen during an election campaign.
Johnson's first major problem is the main opposition Labor Party. As May discovered, Jeremy Corbin, Labor's leader, is a very effective campaign. Corbin surprised everyone in 2017 by gathering far more than expected. He did so despite being unfinished, and with May he seems like a strong, popular leader who had plans to deliver Brexit and tackle an ambitious domestic agenda.
This time, his work is arguably far easier. Johnson's aggressive political strategy after taking office allowed Corbin to present himself as anti-Johnson. Corbin is making a lot of noise about the fact that Johnson is on friendly terms with President Donald Trump, a man who is very unpopular with the British public.
Corbin says Johnson's myopic obsession with securing a trade deal with America would mean selling off the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) to US drug companies. And Trump handed Corbin a priceless soundbite earlier this week when he called London-based talk radio station LBC to praise Johnson and say the opposition leader would take Britain "to such bad places."
NHS is the closest thing the UK has to a religion, and it will no doubt manifest itself strongly in this election. And as Jennings points out, this can be tricky for Johnson's conservatives, "if they end up in a winter NHS crisis" in the middle of a campaign.
Also in favor of Corbin this time is the fact that he has a very clear path to office, something that no one believed could happen in 2017.
If the UK ends up with another pending Parliament and Corbin is the most successful loser, he could confidently make the case in which he has to head some coalition or minority government. The price for this would almost certainly be a commitment to a second Brexit referendum.
That would be scary for the Conservative Party. The party is currently reluctant to rally around Johnson and his Brexit deal. However, if another referendum happens, the party will tie the knot in exactly what position to return.
The Brexit loss is not the only thing that scares the Conservatives. Corbin in the eyes of the Conservatives is a danger to the nation. They believe he is a threat to national security and that his hard left agenda will destroy prosperity. According to a senior government advisor, "people need to know that Corbin will take their houses, nationalize their jobs and tax them with a death tax. This should terrify anyone who is involved in this election. Corbin is likely to end up in Downing Street. "
A Labor spokesman denied this, telling CNN that" Labor will put wealth and power in the hands of many. Boris Johnson Conservatives, who think they were born to rule, will only care for the privileged few. "
Conservatives also fear that Corbin's dream of stepping inside Downing Street will come with the price of taking Scottish nationalists for his own part. And the price for that would give Scotland another referendum on independence. After three years of Brexit chaos , many Scots now believe that the best path is to become independent and join the EU as a full member state.Experts are divided on exactly how this vote will proceed, but for a party officially known as the Conservative and Unionist Party, this is a terrifying prospect
Conservative aides are privately worried that Johnson did not learn the lessons of 2017 and worry that his hubby will come to bite them. their most optimistic prediction is that Johnson will win a small majority and get his Brexit deal through Parliament, just so the party can break down Britain's future relations with Europe. They point out that even if the deal goes through, the UK only has 11 months to sort out the rest of Brexit. This will prolong the transition period.
They they are also well aware of the real prospect of elections leading to another pending parliament. This effectively kills the Johnson government, something that has not gone unnoticed in Brussels. EU representatives are pleased that elections are taking place, hoping that they will finally provide some answers to this seemingly impossible question. But they also believe that a hung parliament is the most likely outcome. "To be honest, we're talking about the next extension," an EU official told CNN.
If this happens, the impasse continues. "If there is no majority, then there is the question of whether he (Johnson) resigns. I'm not even sure we will get to a second referendum … before we even get there, we can watch the February election," says Professor Will Jennings.
Johnson's game for Brexit was a moment of turning the table. This is the last version of the prime minister, which is behind his feet. But by transferring this mass, he could soon discover that it had much more than Brexit. Johnson may regret that he wants to have a crack at this leadership business.