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Trump successfully mobilised Brexit-like fears

It’s all about Brexit. Since the politics-shattering election of Donald Trump as US President on Tuesday, British commentators have analysed the intrinsic similarities between his deeply controversial campaign and that which delivered the leave vote in June. Both focused on populist and quasi-nationalist themes. Both pandered to a working-class voter base and traditional non-voters. Both claimed their opponents were selling the country down the river.

However, it is not just the similarities that should be considered. Rather, the Brexit decision became the inspiration for the Trump campaign in the closing months of the fraught election battle, as his constant references to our anti-establishment victory highlight. In all truth, the Trump campaign was the most genius one seen in a modern US election, whereas Hillary Clinton presided over an abysmal affair.

On the morning of the 24th of June, Donald Trump arrived in Scotland in typical bullish form. Facing the inevitable questions about Brexit, he reinforced his belief in electorates “taking their country back”. However, his realisation was that if gentle, conservative Britain could endorse right-wing populism, then brash, unashamed America could definitely propel him to victory. This began a key division in the opposing campaigns: Trump sought to learn all the causes of Britain backing Brexit, whilst Clinton failed to identify the similarities between the referendum and the election in which she was a major player.

During the Republican primaries, it had been argued that the controversial Trump would never receive the votes of wavering Democrats, and would never take the White House as a result. The senior Republicans failed to identify that Trump’s message never sought to appeal to these Democrats; rather, it was designed to influence traditional Democrat voters. Brexit was a result of working-class voters in the post-industrial landscape of Northern England strongly backing the leave option. Following this, Trump started to focus on the Democrat “blue wall” of post-industrial states stretching from Pennsylvania to Michigan. His clear message on creating jobs and revitalising industry resonated with the traditionally Democrat voting working class. In contrast, Hillary Clinton failed to offer memorable solutions to the intrinsic problems of income inequality and unemployment in this region.

Indeed, Clinton’s entire campaign was forgettable in nature, her policy announcements failing to strike a chord with American voters in desperate search of societal change. The campaign slogan of ‘Stronger Together’ seemed weak and hastily-thought. Trump had identified that the constant references to ‘taking back control’ in our EU referendum had imprinted on voter’s minds prior to polling day. Thus, he ramped up the usage of his clever and simple motto – ‘Make America Great Again’ – to create a feeling that the country had been stabbed in the back by the Federal Government.

Voters bought into this simplicity as they required a useful battering ram against the status quo and Trump was the prime candidate. Globalisation had resulted in their incomes stagnating and their towns being ripped of industry and enterprise. When a potential leader promised to restore their pride and dignity, it was inevitable they would cling to him with defiant lust. Hillary Clinton could only have triumphed if she had become more like Trump, just as the remain campaign would have been victorious if they had accepted the arguments of the leave campaign.

It was clear that Trump had done his political homework on Brexit. To win, Hillary should have focused more on hers.

It’s all about Brexit, stupid. Since the politics-shattering election of Donald Trump as US President on Tuesday, British commentators have analysed the intrinsic similarities between his deeply controversial campaign and that which delivered the leave vote in June. Both focused on populist and quasi-nationalist themes. Both pandered to a working-class voter base and traditional non-voters. Both claimed their opponents were selling the country down the river.

However, it is not just the similarities that should be considered. Rather, the Brexit decision became the inspiration for the Trump campaign in the closing months of the fraught election battle, as his constant references to our anti-establishment victory highlight. In all truth, the Trump campaign was the most genius one seen in a modern US election, whereas Hillary Clinton presided over an abysmal affair.

On the morning of the 24th of June, Donald Trump arrived in Scotland in typical bullish form. Facing the inevitable questions about Brexit, he reinforced his belief in electorates “taking their country back”. However, his realisation was that if gentle, conservative Britain could endorse right-wing populism, then brash, unashamed America could definitely propel him to victory. This began a key division in the opposing campaigns: Trump sought to learn all the causes of Britain backing Brexit, whilst Clinton failed to identify the similarities between the referendum and the election in which she was a major player.

During the Republican primaries, it had been argued that the controversial Trump would never receive the votes of wavering Democrats, and would never take the White House as a result. The senior Republicans failed to identify that Trump’s message never sought to appeal to these Democrats; rather, it was designed to influence traditional Democrat voters. Brexit was a result of working-class voters in the post-industrial landscape of Northern England strongly backing the leave option. Following this, Trump started to focus on the Democrat “blue wall” of post-industrial states stretching from Pennsylvania to Michigan. His clear message on creating jobs and revitalising industry resonated with the traditionally Democrat voting working class. In contrast, Hillary Clinton failed to offer memorable solutions to the intrinsic problems of income inequality and unemployment in this region.

Indeed, Clinton’s entire campaign was forgettable in nature, her policy announcements failing to strike a chord with American voters in desperate search of societal change. The campaign slogan of ‘Stronger Together’ seemed weak and hastily-thought. Trump had identified that the constant references to ‘taking back control’ in our EU referendum had imprinted on voter’s minds prior to polling day. Thus, he ramped up the usage of his clever and simple motto – ‘Make America Great Again’ – to create a feeling that the country had been stabbed in the back by the Federal Government.

Voters bought into this simplicity as they required a useful battering ram against the status quo and Trump was the prime candidate. Globalisation had resulted in their incomes stagnating and their towns being ripped of industry and enterprise. When a potential leader promised to restore their pride and dignity, it was inevitable they would cling to him with defiant lust. Hillary Clinton could only have triumphed if she had become more like Trump, just as the remain campaign would have been victorious if they had accepted the arguments of the leave campaign.

It was clear that Trump had done his political homework on Brexit. To win, Hillary should have focused more on hers.

 

Image: Gage Skidmore

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