It was a close vote, but those Brits in favor of leaving the European Union – known as the Brexit camp – outweighed those in favor of staying, 52% to 48%. If the U.K. is ripe for this kind of independence, perhaps the U.S. is as well, and Americans may look to Donald Trump as the answer.
Following the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron announced in a tearful speech that he would be stepping down.
Earlier this week, the BBC had run an article stating that a win for the Brexit camp – those in favor of Britain exiting the EU – might signal a win for Trump later this year.
[Read Related Article: Everything You Need to Know About Brexit]
BBC reporter Katty Kay listed five reasons: An angry electorate, the negative consequences of globalization, lax immigration policies, lost sense of national pride, and a growing desire for populism. All those items are shared by Brits and Americans alike and which led to Brexit’s victory. And Boris Johnson – the Brexit leader – is the UK’s version of Donald Trump.
Johnson was able to tap into an angry electorate in the same way that Donald Trump has.
Regarding globalization, the BBC reported, “If you are a white working class man (in particular) the combined effects of immigration, free trade and technology have made your job and your wages less secure.” People in the UK and around Europe are seeing these negative consequences and are attributing them to the elite’s desire for globalization.
Immigration is a hot topic in the U.K. as much as it is in the U.S. As the BBC noted, “In both countries, governments haven’t handled immigration well…. [T]he British government is caught in the nightmare story that is the European migrant/refugee crisis, with no effective response.”
In addition, ceding national sovereignty to a small band of elites in a foreign country leads to a stagnation of national pride. The mere prospect of regaining that national sovereignty is enough for citizens to feel proud to be a citizen of their country.
The U.S. is tied to so many international organizations that it seems we have long since ceded our national sovereignty. Not only that, but Washington, D.C. is seen as that small group of elites who make decisions for the rest of the country, without regard to states’ rights. That also leads to a loss of national pride.
Finally – on the idea of populism – BBC pointed out, “Boris Johnson and Donald Trump appeal to the heart not the head, they offer simple solutions in a time of complex problems. It’s an appealing message.” Katty Kay concluded:
A victory for Brexit next week by no means guarantees a Trump victory in the autumn. However, if the forces of disgruntlement, nationalism, populism and anti-globalisation are strong enough to force a radical move in the UK, they may be strong enough to force a radical election in America too.
I think the BBC is on to something. Both Donald Trump and Brexit were seen as highly unlikely. Perhaps they’re just both inevitable.