Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit and the United States: Brexit and Donald Trump May be the Same

The British voted 51.1% to 48.9% to leave the European Union. They voted to exit when the poling trend said the British would stay in. They voted to exit against the parade of horrors that were threatened if they left. Even United States President Obama went to England and threatened Great Britain would be at the “back of the queue” on trade deals if the British passed Brexit. That threat did not help the cause of Britain remaining in the EU. They voted to exit against the recommendations of most of their political leaders. They voted to exit against the wishes of the global international community. They voted to exit even if it might cause economic injury to the British economy. They voted to exit against warnings that Brexit might cause Scotland and Northern Ireland to secede from Great Britain. (The British actually wanted to pull out of Northern Ireland decades ago, so that’s not much of a threat.) The Brits voted to leave because they could. We call it Democracy. The Brits voted to leave because they value their independence. The English nation has consistently acted independently from the European mainland, choosing issues and allies on an ad hoc basis to further England’s goals. They did not vote to exit because, as some have said, the British voters were dumb, ignorant, or stupid. They voted after a spirited debate. They knew why they were voting with the highest turnout in decades. History will tell if it was a wise move or not The British, who only reluctantly entered the EU and retained the Pound rather than the Euro as its currency, voted to leave because they do not like the developments of the past two decades. The British people had several issues with the EU, but most centered directly or indirectly on an unelected EU bureaucracy in Brussels dictating policy. The EU central planners dictated policies and uniformity on critical issues, such as the environment, taxation, trade, and immigration. England as an independent island nation has welcomed refugees for centuries. It has an increasing Muslim population, mostly from the former colonies even before the recent wave of refugees fleeing the chaos in the Mideast. However, the British have noticed a great lack of assimilation in the newer immigrants accompanied by increased crime, “homegrown terrorism, such as the London subway bombings in 2005, and British citizens, such as Jihadi John, joining ISIS. They see the attacks in France and Belgium and want no more. They see the San Bernardino and Orlando and don’t like what they see Yet, they are being told by their political leaders and the EU to accept more Syrian refugees. They say no. They benefit from many of the EU open borders trade policy, but too many workers, as in the United States, have lost their jobs through globalization. They see an increasing inequality between the people and the financial class. They see their political leaders ignoring their views, except at election time. The opposition to the EU was what Americans would call bi-partisan, from Conservative and Labor supporters and members, from the left and the right - not from the leaders of both parties, who ignored them. Older voters, as in the United States, turned out in droves to reject the EU and maintain the Great Britain they grew up in and remember. The young voters apparently stayed home and did not turn out to vote. The English had a real opportunity to cast a meaningful vote. They did so. The Brexit voters are the Trump supporters in the primaries. Immigration, global trade, taxes, bad leadership, the non-elites – those are his issues. Whether it will be enough to win in November remains to be seen, but the Americans and British have a special relationship.

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