The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

As the world still reels in shock at Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, many are saying that the success of the “Leave” campaign represents a dangerous sign of hope for Donald Trump.

Not unlike Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the Democratic primaries, Trump has framed his candidacy as a grassroots movement that went against establishment politics and the dominance of political elites.

And as the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum wrote, the Brexit debate transcended the policy debates typical in the UK’s elections, instead focusing on polarizing topics like immigration and nationalism:

“Identity politics trumped economics; arguments about “independence” and “sovereignty” defeated arguments about British influence and importance. The advice of once-trusted institutions was ignored. Elected leaders were swept aside. If that kind of transformation can take place in the U.K., then it can happen in the United States, too. We have been warned.”

This parallel was not lost on Trump himself either, who compared the “Leave” campaign to his own candidacy for president at a press conference in Scotland on Friday.

“People want to take their country back, and they want to have independence in a sense,” he said. “They took their country back, just like we will take America back.”

For once, he may be right. The xenophobic, nationalist impulse so inextricable from his campaign was the same sort of reasoning that fueled the success of the Brexit. In some sense, plans for a ban on Muslim immigration and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border are no different than Britons’ fears regarding an influx of Syrian refugees through Turkey.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s worth noting that support for both Trump and Leave first came into being because a mainstream, right-wing political party was overtaken by fringe conservatism.

Kim Soffen, also of The Washington Post, accurately notes that the British electorate is much more homogenous than the U.S. population — which made it easier for anti-immigrant impulse to catch on — and that Leave’s success rested more on high turnout rather than lots of support.

Still, the numerous interviews with voters who acted “in protest” (or failed to turn out entirely) and didn’t truthfully believe that a Brexit would win should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of this kind of political activity.

While polls and pundits alike are pointing to the improbability of a Trump victory in November, a win for the Leave campaign points in the opposite direction. If anything, the success of the Brexit means that fringe, anti-establishment politics cannot be written off so quickly.

 

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks following a news conference, at his Turnberry golf course, in Turnberry, Scotland, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Image via YouTube

When it comes to "Do as I say and not as I do," Republicans have no competition. Forgetting how they once assailed Hillary Clinton for conduct that doesn't even resemble Trump's colossal corruption, they've unleashed a butthurt fury at the Justice Department over the FBI raid of Trump's residence in Mar-A-Lago.

The Daily Show trounced them for this despicable hypocrisy in a video that highlights Trump's allies "talking about Hillary" while showing FBI agents entering Mar-a-Lago.

Keep reading... Show less

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) -Police were locked in a standoff on Thursday with an armed man who tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier in the day before fleeing and exchanging gunfire with officers, authorities said.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}