Saturday, June 25, 2016

What Brexit means for November

OK, nobody really cares what I think about the UK or Europe.  I study American politics, so here's what Brexit means for us.

Direct implications:  a very, very minor benefit for The Donald.  Anything that hurts the economy helps the party out of power at the presidential level.  The stock market tells you that pretty much everyone with a brain and a stake thinks that Brexit is economically bad.  I'll leave it to others to discuss the dysfunction of Brussels and whether or not it is worth the disruption for the UK, but economically, this helps pretty much nobody.  The damage to us is minimal.  Stock traders over-react to everything, and it is unlikely that Brexit will cause anything even remotely like the 2008 worldwide financial collapse, but we trade with Britain and Europe.  So, what hurts them hurts us.  That helps the out-party at the presidential level.  No wonder Donny-boy was happy about the vote.

Indirect implications:  the rise of nationalism?  Does the nationalistic impulse behind the Brexit vote presage a pro-Trump vote as a similar nationalistic vote here?  That's a much bigger stretch.  As I said in yesterday's main post, the trouble we had trying to study the Brexit vote was that there was really nothing like it.  Presidential elections?  Don't we have those, like, every four years, or something?  They can default to normal patterns for which there were no such fall-backs in Britain.

Nationalism is real, and nationalistic impulses are behind both Brexit and Trump support, but these are very different types of elections, and I don't see American voters taking cues from Brits.

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