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Brexit Has A Lesson For US Voters: Don't Push The Trump Joke Too Far

03/07/2016 8:41 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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European flag lost a star doe to #brexit.

United States, here's what you need to learn. In as nuttiest and shelliest a nutshell possible: Don't push the joke too far. Dump the Trump.

On Thursday, 23 June 2016, 52% citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland voted to "Leave" the European Union under Article 50 of the EU Treaty, as opposed to 48% who wanted to "Remain".

And that result shocked the whole world, from pollster pundits to even the people who voted to "Leave" in the first place.

From the moment Brexit has gone through, politicians are tumbling over themselves to recant promises they made to push the "Leave" campaign ahead, terming their claims as "mistakes".

This whole shebang has proven one thing -- most politicos pushing to leave the EU never expected the vote to actually go through. They merely wanted to take a stand against the "establishment" and their "EU-driven propaganda" in order to distinguish themselves in the eyes of voters, come election time.

Everyone, despite rising tides of anti-EU sentiments in the UK for the past 30 years, relied on the common sense and survival instincts of voters to finally make the right call.

Everyone, despite rising tides of anti-EU sentiments in the UK for the past 30 years, relied on the common sense and survival instincts of voters...

The voters, in turn, listened to the thousands of expert voices -- from banks to businesses and government bodies -- telling them that Brexit would result in unpredictable, chaotic disaster for the UK, and maybe even end in recession. And they decided: F**k you, we know better. Well done.

Hours after the final count came through, Twitter played witness to an entirely predictable tsunami of "buyer's remorse" as people shrugged off the adrenaline high of their pro-Britain populist movement led by the likes of Nigel Farage, and woke up to the stark reality of a UK without the economic, geo-political and military advantages of being an EU member.

In fact, this remorse is so all-consuming that there is now a million-plus-signatories-strong petition doing the rounds, calling upon Her Majesty's Government to trigger EU referendum rules which may call for a second round of referendum voting if the winning vote is less than 60% on a turnout of less than 75% eligible voters. At the time this article is being written, the petition is growing at roughly 100k+ signatures per hour.

And here's the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance. Right after the vote went through, "What is the EU?" became the second most popular question from Britons to Google. True story.

So, Why Should Americans Care?

Because, just like the Brits and the rest of the world, you're relying on common sense to win the day and defeat Donald Trump in the polls and the voting booth, come elections on 8 November.

So, if you're a #NeverTrump Republican, a liberal democrat, a semi-socialist capitalist or even Comrade Smurf, and waiting for the world to wake up and recognize the populist propaganda of Donald Hitler, here's the problem with that.

While the rationalists are waiting for the voters to realize the absurdity of President Trump, this political war is being fought on entirely irrational grounds.

Just like the Brexit vote, a strong majority of people who are voting Trump are those who are "tired of outsiders", who want to make immigration significantly harder, or feel disenfranchised -- the "we have no voice in the system" people -- or even those who simply want change for the sake of change alone.

And this was true long before the New York primaries. Today, even if Trump wins voters across all spectrums, it's because a significant number of those people will put their party first, country second.

Eight in 10 Republican voters say that their party leaders should vote Trump even if they disagree with him on critical issues, even though 66% of those registered voters openly admit that they don't share his values. So, why wouldn't the Republican head honchos use this human megaphone to unite their party base like seldom before?

And therein lies the problem. While the rationalists are waiting for the voters to realize the absurdity of President Donald Trump, this political war is being fought on entirely irrational grounds. And this point cannot be better made than this sketch by Cracked.com on "What if Donald Trump is an elaborate prank?"

So What Can You Do?

Nothing, if you believe all people are inherently rational. The Brexit voters counted among their ranks people like this girl, who chose to "Leave" because she gets bad eggs because of the European Union and doesn't want to watch the Euros. Or something. Don't ask me to explain.

After the end of the Brexit vote, YouGov polls showed that 56% of 50-64 year olds and 61% of 65+ year olds voted to leave the EU, while 75% of 18-24 year olds voted to remain.

Stop pulling your punches if someone has asinine assumptions about the facts of industry and life in the United States, just because their representatives said so.

The harsh truth here is that retired voters who have little concern left for job availability, and girls who think EU is responsible for bad chicken eggs, have essentially thrown the rest of the nation off a pretty steep cliff. And let's not forget the 28.2% of voters who never showed up, and who are just as responsible for this state of affairs.

Just like the supporters of Brexit, a vast majority of core "Trumpers" are either people from impoverished and disenfranchised White backgrounds with little education, or those with over-the-top nationalist identities who frequently contribute to tensions with migrant communities, or participate in race or religious bias, and with a history for preference of segregation.

So, what you can do is this -- break your vow of moderate silence, and take a leaf out of Trump's orange bird nest. Be loud.

And most importantly, stop pulling your punches if someone has asinine assumptions about the facts of industry and life in the United States, just because their representatives said so.

Do this, and maybe you have a shot at ensuring that US doesn't jump down Brexit avenue too.

Thanks to their equivalent of the "Trumpers", UK's already looking down the barrel of yet another Scottish referendum in the wake of the Article 50 vote, with Scotland having assured that they will leave this time around to rejoin the EU.

So, United States, drop the joke and Dump the Trump.

Or don't. What do I care? I'm just an Indian sitting across the world, and Brexit apparently just made travel to the UK cheaper for me. Maybe Trump will do that for US tourism too, even as professional migration tightens up. Besides, HBO has already assured us that Brexit won't harm Game of Thrones production, so my life is copacetic.

Originally posted here on June 25th, 2016.

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