7 outsiders who became serious political contenders

Bernie Sanders

With the news that Rees-Mogg’s odds for becoming Tory leader have been cut again we look at 7 political outsiders who became serious players.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s odds for leading the Conservative Party have been cut even further. With PaddyPower, his odds currently stand at 6/1 as of 25th July. Davis remains the favourite amongst most bookmakers, with Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson hot on his tail, but it is Mogg who is gaining momentum. Or to borrow a phrase: Moggmentum.

Jacob Rees Mogg Headshot

This is a man who named his sixth child Sixtus, according to the BBC. A man whose first tweet was in Latin. This man is definitely an outsider.

Here are seven other outsiders who went on to surprise their nations.

Donald Trump

Real estate developer Donald Trump, gestures during a news conference with the PGAReal estate developer Donald Trump, gestures during a news conference with the PGA

Whatever you think of the sitting U.S. president no one can deny he deserves a spot on this list. When Trump declared his candidacy, he was seen as a complete outsider who could not possibly get the Republican nomination. He then went on to do just that.

Then, the narrative after his initial victory was that despite defying the odds to become the party’s nominee, Trump would not – could not – become US president.

The rest is history.

Margaret Thatcher

Maggie In Hard Hat

Now seen as a divisive figure of the political establishment, having led the country for more than eleven years, it’s easy to forget that Margaret Thatcher was not seen as the next leader in the 1975 leadership election. She did surprisingly well, ensuring that her rival and former prime minister, Edward Heath, withdrew from the contest. On top of that, Peter Oborne described her as an outsider due to the fact she was a woman and came from Britain’s “lower middle class”. He went on to say:

"She had to endure wounding snubs and humiliations, and fight bruising battles. Despite all the socialist claptrap that has been written about her, she was never a manifestation of any ruling elite. Nobody chose her. She acted in nobody’s vested interest."

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron at Le Web

Macron came from nowhere to win the French presidency. Literally.

It is true that he was a former Socialist government minister, but he left the party to establish his own movement, win the presidency, and then win a majority in France’s parliament.

Unlike Trump, Corbyn and Sanders, who all climbed up through existing party machines to rock the boat, Macron created his own and stormed to victory in an incredibly short period of time.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn Black and White

Jeremy Corbyn was only added to the ballot in the 2015 leadership election in order to expand the choice for party members, according to the BBC. He then went on to build momentum and win over by members, beating Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall for the top-job in Labour.

After that it looked like Corbyn’s success with the members would be difficult to repeat with the wider electorate. The party floundered in the polls, and Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings struggled to compete with Theresa May’s. Then, the 2017 election changed everything. Under Corbyn, Labour’s share of the vote increased by over 9%, and the Tories were reduced to a minority government.

Jeremy Corbyn has not yet made it to Number 10, but it could well still happen. This is one outsider whose story has yet to be completed.

David Cameron

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron with his mother Mary Cameron in the royal boxBritain's Prime Minister David Cameron with his mother Mary Cameron in the royal box

From the outset of the 2005 Conservative leadership election, the former government minister, David Davis was seen as the clear favourite, according to the Guardian, but the younger David went on to secure a solid victory.

There is also a parallel between Cameron and Rees-Mogg. If Rees-Mogg went on to become prime minister, he, like Cameron would have moved to the position without any ministerial experience. While this is true, there is one big difference: Cameron served in the shadow cabinet, then became Leader of the Opposition before making the leap to Britain’s top job.

Rees-Mogg’s jump would be far bigger than that.

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is received by Brazil's President Dilma RousseffGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel is received by Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff

Merkel is now the embodiment of the German political establishment having been in power since 2005 leading a variety of multi-coloured coalitions. But before she took over as leader of the CDU, she was an outsider. According to Speigel, “few people -- including many within her own party -- took her seriously”. That said, twelve years later she is months away from securing an historic fourth-term as her country’s leader.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders did better than expected in the US Democratic primary, but ultimately lost out to Hilary Clinton who lost out to Donald Trump. In terms of delegate-counts, the Democratic primary race was much closer than the Republican contest, with Clinton eventually pushed over the line with the help from Superdelegates, according to the New York Times.