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Trump and Brexit – how similar are they?

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CC: Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Donald Trump’s rise to become America’s 45th President isn’t as similar to Brexit as many claim.

In June, Britain opted to leave the European Union, triggering a political earthquake that was felt around the world. Months later, an even larger political earthquake would go off. Its name was Donald Trump.

The US election was won by a man who was mocked when his campaign begun. He was a rank outsider to win. Even after beating off 16 other Republican candidates for the parties’ nomination, he was still expected to lose. It didn’t happen. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the one who tasted defeat.

A few months’ prior, Brexit took a similar path. Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage among others led a successful campaign to get Britain to leave the EU. Much like Trump, their chances of winning were written off by many days before the vote.

Immigration issues were at the heart of both winning campaigns, both of which were bitter and harnessed anti-establishment anger.

A vote for Brexit was a vote for an idea. It was not a vote for Nigel Farage. This was a vote against the political establishment and the broken European Union. Those that voted for Brexit believed Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

A vote for Trump was a vote for a man who said he would build a wall to keep out Mexicans, joked about sexually assaulting women, has a complete disregard for the environment and thinks his country should ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

Voting for Trump empowered a man with these views, ultimately a decision that could be a major disaster in the long term for America. The key difference is voting for Brexit didn’t place Farage in Downing Street.

The ripples from the earthquakes caused by Trump, Farage and the rest are still being felt in both countries, but the reasons they took place are very different.

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