At time of publication, the Dow Jones is down nearly 400 points in reaction to the shocking results of the Brexit vote in Britain, where voters narrowly chose to leave the European Union. And that’s just the economic impact here in the States. The pound, UK’s currency, is cratering, while markets across the world, and especially in Europe and London, have seen massive drops.
Now, let’s be completely honest here. The Brexit vote was completely about the fear of immigration. It had nothing to do with British voters feeling like they’re not getting enough out of the EU compared to what they’re contributing. It wasn’t about the overbearing bureaucracy and regulation of the Union. It was unrelated to concerns about leadership within the European Union. No. It was simply xenophobia and racism. Nothing more.
Voters who embraced Leave were doing so because of the fear of immigration, the fear of non-white, non-Anglo people making up a greater portion of Britain’s population. Polls show that the majority of those voting for the referendum were older and lived in largely homogeneous areas, meaning that they rarely, if ever, interacted with actual immigrants. Meanwhile, younger voters, those with more education, and people who live in areas with significant immigrant populations, voted to Remain.
It was a given that voting to Leave was based solely on irrational emotion, without a thought given to the ramifications of such a brash reaction. Not only were markets immediately impacted, but Prime Minister David Cameron, who was against Brexit, announced he was resigning, bringing forth a crisis of leadership that citizens were likely not ready for.
At the same time, Brexit’s lead cheerleader, Nigel Farage, admitted on live TV that one of the campaign’s promises was all a big lie, and that the National Health Service wouldn’t be receiving 350 million pounds a week after they leave the EU. And, to top it all off, both Northern Ireland and Scotland want to remain in the EU, and are now looking into separating from the UK. In the end, Great Britain may just be England and Wales, isolated from the rest of Europe and no longer seen as a global power.
Thus, Britons who voted based on fear are now faced with the consequences of their actions. The BBC had an amazing interview with a group of voters on Friday, in which one man who voted to Leave was shocked that the referendum passed. See, he thought his vote wouldn’t count, and that the country would be sensible and stay in.
“I’m a bit shocked to be honest. I’m shocked that we actually have voted to Leave, I didn’t think that was going to happen.
My vote, I didn’t think was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to Remain, and the David Cameron resignation has blown me away to be honest.
I think the period of uncertainty that we’re going to have for the next couple of months, that’s just been magnified now.
So yeah, quite worried.”
Wow. Just, wow. And that gets me to the point of this piece. The same fever that gripped British voters — white nationalism, xenophobia and Islamophobia — is the very basis of Donald Trump’s campaign here. While the last few weeks have been fairly disastrous for him — the Judge Curiel comments, his reaction to Orlando, the Trump U fraud suit, his campaign is broke — he still has a very loyal and passionate base of followers. Sure, his poll numbers are sagging, but it is still four-plus months until the election, and it isn’t like Hillary Clinton is running away with anything.
And why isn’t she? There are a myriad of reasons we can discuss, but the main reason she hasn’t opened up a 15- to 20-point lead in the polls over Trump is due to the #BernieOrBust crowd. She’s seen as part of the ESTABLISHMENT by them. An oligarch. A corrupt, email-hiding, Wall-Street hugging, shrill, neo-con hawk who represents everything that Bernie is fighting against. For them, they are #NeverHillary. If they can’t have Bernie, they’ll write his name in, vote for Jill Stein, or maybe not even show up at all.
And, you know, there is something to be said about passion, about voting one’s conscience, about standing up for your ideological principles. But, not this year. First off, regardless of what the most dead-end Berners think, Hillary is going to run on a fairly progressive platform, thanks in no small part to Sanders. She may not be 100% lock-step with Bernie, but she’ll push for most of what he’s preached, and so will the Democratic Party as a whole.
However, beyond that, even if you think she’s nothing more than a center-right neoliberal who is just pandering to the left right now, she is at least someone who understands how government works. She realizes political norms and how off-the-cuff actions and over-the-top rhetoric from our leaders can send huge ripples in the international community. This is a person who spent her time as Secretary of State building relationships with other world leaders, traveling to their countries personally.
The thing is, you can’t always just hold out for the perfect. You can’t always say, ‘If I don’t get absolutely everything I want, then I’m going to do my best to burn it all down ao the revolution happens sooner.’ There are REAL-LIFE repercussions to a Trump presidency. See the shockwaves that are occurring immediately after Brexit? Now imagine that tenfold. That is what we are looking at right away with a Trump election, let alone what will happen long-term to this country.
Trump needs to be defeated, and defeated BADLY. I’m talking Walter Mondale levels here. It has to be a mandate of epic proportions, a statement saying America is not buying what you’re selling. Hillary has to defeat him by double-digits in the popular vote and turn traditional red states blue. It can’t be close, because if it is, Trumpism will still gain footing. Then, and only then, can Bernie’s political revolution even take hold. Because, if Trump somehow wins in November, and our country quickly sinks into a recession, nobody is going to listen to Bernie about the need to follow his suggestions.
Why? They’ll be too busy blaming him and his supporters for bringing us to the precipice.