The US is not the only country in the world that has its Trump-like character. In the United Kingdom his name is Nigel Farage. Britain voted to leave the European Union, after a campaign characterized by fear mongering about immigration, anger over a perceived undemocratic bureaucracy and trust in a charismatic political outsider.
Sounds familiar? It’s because it is. Donald Trump has a Latino-and-Muslim-free vision of America and Nigel Farage, the leader of the “Leave” campaign, wants to cleanse the UK of Poles, refugees and anyone else who can’t trace their British roots back to the Bronze Age.
Donald Trump, with his fake-bake tan, is an image-obsessed New Yorker who doesn’t drink or smoke. Nigel Farage is a pasty skinned, British-toothed cigarette smoker who has built a political career around drinking beer. Trump inherited his father’s wildly successful housing business. Farage attended a fee-paying school before earning millions as a stockbroker. Both have shown an uncanny ability to appeal to the workingman – mostly by stoking fears about immigration.
In the UK, Farage won with the Brexit referendum. In the US, it’s Trump’s turn to try. He landed in Scotland on a voting day, in a typically confused state of mind and couldn’t figure out what just happened. “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!” he tweeted. Apparently no one told him that Scotland voted decisively to stay inside the European Union. And that Scotland will likely now vote to leave the United Kingdom and re-join the EU on its own.
Anyway, Americans should try to learn the lessons from what just happened in the old country. The rise of charismatic, far-right leaders can only happen when the weak leaders of the center-right surrender to them. This is what happened to the British Tories and Republican Party in America.
In London, Conservative leaders tried to co-opt extremists instead of pushing their far-right Euro rebels to join the UK Independence Party. In Washington, congressional Republicans thought the Tea Party’s anti-establishment spirit was tolerable so long as they helped undermine President Obama.
Instead of ejecting them from their ranks and forcing them to join a third party, they embraced them. And now, after alternately ignoring and ridiculing Trump, Republicans are shocked that he is their nominee. In Britain the Conservative Party's David Cameron will have to resign. Conservative leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have lost. That means protest votes are not, in fact, a token gesture. They have a very real impact in the real world.
Over the next two years the UK will negotiate its departure from the EU, most likely resulting in Scotland’s departure from the United Kingdom. If the US wants to end its status as the world’s only true superpower, it should close its borders to a billion Muslims, launch a trade war with China, build a giant wall to keep Mexicans out, and kick out 11 million of its residents.
Sign in with Facebook to comment:
Sign in with Facebook