Trump and Johnson at the NATO summit in London this month. Photo: Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will be watching another political contest this week: The U.K.'s Dec. 12 general election will decide what happens to Brexit and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson — aka "Britain Trump" — remains in charge.

Why it matters: If Johnson's Conservatives win the majority in Parliament, Brexit clears the way for the bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade relationship that Trump favors over negotiating with the European Union.

  • But if Johnson falls short, one scenario is a coalition government with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn in charge, throwing a curveball not just to Brexit but to U.S. partnerships on foreign and national security policy.
  • "The president is interested in seeing more leaders like him win elections," Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, tells Axios' Margaret Talev.

The big picture: Among the hurdles between Johnson and a runaway election victory this Thursday are a polarized electorate, his own reputation for dishonesty and Trump.

Behind the scenes: Trump is politically toxic throughout much of the U.K. And Johnson, one of the few European leaders with whom he has genuinely warm relations, was careful not to get too close to Trump during last week's NATO summit in London.

  • Johnson huddled with other heads of state including Justin Trudeau as the Canadian prime minister mocked Trump's rambling press conferences.
  • "Boris kept his distance and was with the gang mocking the president," Nigel Farage — a Trump ally but a Johnson rival as leader of the upstart Brexit Party — tells Lawler via text. "I did not like it."

Yes, but: James Johnson, who ran Downing Street's polling under Theresa May, says focus groups suggest Trump isn't as much of a liability with British voters as he's made out to be. Johnson, the pollster, gives the Conservatives a 75% chance of a parliamentary majority.

The bottom line: Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the U.S., tells Lawler that even if Boris Johnson's Brexit deal passes there will be "numerous dramas throughout the course of 2020" as the U.K. negotiates its future trading relationship with the EU, while a U.S.-U.K. trade deal will take "years of hard bargaining."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.