BREXIT and the US Presidency

Waking up to the US eletion result on November 9 was in some ways a similar experience to waking up to the Brexit result. I was similarly concerned the night before. As with Brexit, I decided I couldn't sit up through the unfolding results.

I'm not going to keep a commentary on this site on how the transisition process is developing but it is worth noting some similarities and differences betweenthe two results.

The BREXIT line is that we want to have 'control of our borders'. Since we are not in the Schengen area, we do have control at the borders, but yes, the EU does influence how that control is exercised.

Differences.

  • Unlike the referendum vote, an US presidential election is time limited. We - or rather the Americans - get to do it all again in four years time. This does give the Trump presidency significant time to do some damage. Personally I am very concrned about four years at a vital point in the fight against climate change when the US administration will include many people who deny it's reality.
  • We do know, on a practical level how this works now. On January 20th Trump will assume the office of President of the United States. Of course, what he will do in office remains unclear. I've read some commentators this week who think he will suddenly find some common sense way of carrying out his powers. I concede that is at the very least a possibility - which makes the liklihood higher, even by a very small amount - than anything good coming from Brexit
  • Its in another country! OK, so that country is the USA and what happens there is will always have an influence on us in Europe, and the UK in particular.

Some of my qualifications there have to be tempered with great concern at some of his appointments to his team. It looks like some of the rhetoric of the president-elect was stuff he would be just happy to forget, but some might be stuff we all come to rue. All the evidence of his character up to now shows there is a chance he'll screw up. Maybe he'll even be impeached?

Similarities.

Time for a change.

The truth is the majority of the populations of the UK and the USA do not follow politics closely on a day to day basis. Although some scandals, such as Watergate, tend to reach everyone's consciousness, there are many people who will vote for 'more of the same' if they are happy, and 'let's have a change' if they are not. If this simplistic picture is true, then we can conclude that they may not look too closely at what they are changing to.

So, it's time for a change, and the 'change' options are

  • Leeaving an organisation which is not responsible for most of the issues with which we are unhappy, and does in fact itigate a good many of them
  • a man who about whom there are charges of sexual impropriety - unproved of course at time of posting - but who has openly admitted to avoiding tax.

All we can do it to try to work towards a politics where there are more choices, and where poeple look more closely at those choices.

Post-Truth.

A seoond similarity would be the role the truth played - or didn't play - in the campaigns. The lies that led us to Brexit I have documented elsewhere on this site. I'm not going to list all the times the P-Elect lied in his campaign, but just comment on a video I saw in the last week where he told open provable untruths about President Obama's conduct in dealing with a Trump supporter in the crowd.

The rise of Hate Crime

The third similarity between the two vote results on which I comment is the number of people who have taken from them a cue to vile sexism and/or racism. Indeed, there are cases in the UK of individuals acting in this way and giving the US Election result as their justification. Certain Brexit leaders have set an example on rcism, and the President Elect on both sexism and racism. Its hardly surprising that people who have been suppressing their instincts to act a certain way will take a lead from the soon to be most powerful man in the west thats its really OK now.