The Day Britain Voted To Leave The European Union Was The First Time We Thought Trump Could Win
Now that Brexit’s hit a brick wall, does that also bode ill for Trump?
We first connected the fate of both back in June 2016, in a piece entitled “The ONLY reason Americans should care about Brexit vote”. (Hint: it’s Trump. And in the last couple of years he’s also taught us a lot about excessive use of all caps, not yet of italics).
Is there really a correlation? (Trump drew that line himself, Tweeting at one point: “They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!”).
We didn’t even know at the time that a lot of the money, and a lot of of the same people were behind both Brexit and the “Trump train.” So there’s a clue.
At the time, we saw it simply as 2016 turning into “The Year of the Hothead”, with cooler heads not prevailing because they decided to stay at home. And a bunch of ultra-Conservatives convincing a surprisingly large number of voters it was high time to just shake things up. But they really didn’t think things through beyond winning. So when they won, chaos ensued. And continues.
Applies to both, right?…
But we followed it up the next day saying we saw at least one huge difference: while Brits were voting on a referendum, Americans were voting for a President. While we thought a referendum on what Trump was and has continued to represent: “obliterate immigrants and kill trade deals”, might’ve prevailed on its own at the time, we also thought maybe, just maybe, the election wouldn’t be a slam dunk for Trump because enough people in the U.S. might come to detest him as a person, and that could prevent him from winning. But turned out our first instinct was right.
So where does Britain and Brexit stand right now? It’s a mess. The BBC has a good little story charting out all the options, and they are messy charts. Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempt to get a “new and improved” Brexit agreement through Parliament roundly failed, with continued opposition from most all sides. Further “assurances” May went and got from the E.U. bought her a small measure of additional support, but not much.
And now only about 2 weeks remain until Britain’s self-imposed exit date from the European Union.
Although there are many unresolved issues, the biggest is whether and how to close the open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is part of the U.K.) And is the only stretch where Great Britain shares a land border with any other country (besides Gibraltar, as one of our readers pointed out the last time we wrote about this). There has been talk Scotland might break off and remain part of the EU, but that hasn’t happened yet. So what are the British going to do? Put up a wall? There are a lot of serious political implications that go along with closing that border or under what conditions to keep it open, including generations of violence that’s been stopped in recent years by arguably one of the most significant diplomatic accomplishments of the last several decades. Now there’s danger of opening all that back up by closing up the border.
So what are the choices now? The next thing that’ll happen — probably today — is a vote on implementing Brexit anyway, right away, as scheduled, with no deal with the EU. That’s not expected to pass due to the extreme economic instability it would cause. But who knows? “Leave” wasn’t supposed to win either.
If that “hard Brexit” doesn’t go through, the next move after that would be a vote to delay the date Brexit goes into effect, because the end of this month doesn’t really work. That would of course be a major embarrassment. Then what? An appeal to the EU for more concessions/reassurances/promises/revisions of conditions? But why would the EU do that? They’ve got to be pretty irritated by now.
Another option is a re-vote. And in some ways, moving in that direction might be May’s best move. Because if the ultra-hard liners start to see their dreams slipping away, they may be persuaded to make some concessions they’re not willing to make now.