Brexit vs. Trump

by Lucas Witherspoon


With the clusterfuck that is the current American presidential election, it’s easy to forget that there is a world outside of America that exists. Americans generally aren’t particularly attuned to international politics, but there is a current political debate that should be at the forefront of Americans’ minds, and that is the referendum that’s been introduced in the United Kingdom to allow it to withdraw from the European Union. The Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit for short) referendum is essentially the result of a pander-based promise made by David Cameron, a.k.a. the British George W. Bush, that if he were to be elected, he would put to a vote whether or not the U.K. should remain a part of the EU. It’s a very important referendum that’s relevant to not only the U.S., given the U.K. is a close ally, but every other country that’s a part of the European Union and/or a U.K. ally.

While European politics may seem arcane to most Americans, what’s proven interesting is the parallels between the debate over the Brexit referendum and the current presidential debate. For example, both Trump supporters and pro-Brexits are primarily comprised of older conservatives who are undereducated. In the same way university graduates are more likely to support Democrats in the U.S., their British counterparts are subsequently more predisposed to favor abdication from the E.U. Additionally, both Trump and the potential Brexit mandate promote isolationism. In the same way that Trump attacks allies that the U.S. shares a border with, the U.K. runs a grave risk of alienation among their neighborly allies by feeding into what amounts to political propitiation.

From an economic standpoint, both Trump and the U.K.’s secession from the E.U. would be cataclysmic, both domestically and internationally. For all his talk about how many supposed billions of dollars he has, Trump doesn’t seem to understand even the basest economic concepts, like free trade, which also holds true of those who are pro-Brexits. As it stands, almost three-quarters of the U.K.’s are the result of them being a member of the European Union. Perhaps if Trump’s perception of wealth wasn’t skewed to the point of blindness, he’d realize that free trade is an essential part of prosperous economics.  In short, national autonomy is a slippery slope that echoes the remnants of Soviet Russia or modern-day North Korea.

In either case, the underlying issue isn’t about logic, it’s about prejudices overruling acumen.

Realistically, there’s no chance of Trump becoming President, just as there’s very little chance the Brexit referendum will garner enough support to pass, but the fact remains that political difference in opinion is marginal, which highlights the fact that perhaps we as supposedly civilized societies aren’t as misanthropic as we think and more jingoistic than we’d hoped.