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?!?

The title of this post indicates my reaction to what is happening in the US. So Brexit was not the biggest political earthquake of 2016.

Though, mixing my metaphors, I think Brexit was the gateway drug to President Trump. As I said at the time, “People worldwide have seen that impossible things can happen.”

It’s always fun to see Guardian readers’ heads explode, but a place behind my own ear is feeling a little tingly. He’s a bit… er…

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31 comments to ?!?

  • bobby b

    Even better news:

    The “not-that-into-Trump” Republicans in the House and the Senate, along with a subgroup of Dems from some shaky blue/red states where HC did poorly, won enough seats so they will have the coalition power to act as a large sea anchor to Trump’s more flighty “look, a squirrel!” moments. The alt-R type new Senators and Congressmembers, who were very helpful in guaranteeing a GOP Congress, won’t be ordering Kelo-type regulations willy-nilly.

    Here’s to deadlock! We got it! This is as close to a win of the next two years as was possible for us.

  • Laird

    I don’t think that Brexit was a “gateway drug” for Trump (assuming he holds on to win, as now looks likely), but rather that the two events were manifestations of the same underlying cause: a reaction against centralized (and centralizing) political control, and the dominance of a small cadre of elites. Brexit was a repudiation of Brussels; Trump is a repudiation of Washington. What isn’t seen in the presidential election is that at the state level we’re seeing some of the same effects: governors and state legislators are winning on platforms of shrinking state control, too. I don’t know how much of that will actually occur (once in office politicians tend to cling tenaciously to their power), but at least they are recognizing the mood of the populace sufficiently to pander to it. There is room for optimism.

    One more point: We don’t have all the numbers in yet, but I’ve heard commentators note that the percentage of the vote for third-party candidates (primarily Libertarian, and secondarily Green Party) is the largest in history. Johnson could have run a much better campaign, but even so this is also significant, as it helps drive home the point that a significant element of the electorate is saying “a pox on both your houses.” This could be the advent of a new political reality. Time will tell.

  • Jacob

    Remember Sarah Palin’s early endorsement of Trump? She has good political instincts.
    At the beginning of the primaries – the big question was which of the Rep. candidates could win the presidency. I doubt that any other of them could. So Palin was right! Not ideologically correct, but right.

  • MarkJ

    Jacob, you’re on the money. Progs and Democrats have laughed for years at Palin: they sure as hell aren’t laughing at her now, are they?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    In the normal world of dating, this is now 9-11! Coincidence? I think not…

  • Eric

    Though, mixing my metaphors, I think Brexit was the gateway drug to President Trump. As I said at the time, “People worldwide have seen that impossible things can happen.”

    Oh, sure, it’s all about the Brits.

    Thanks, by the way.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Not sure why people are surprised: the latest polls showed Trump well within reach, and the momentum was with him; not to count the uncounted shy Trump voters.

    Good to be in a time zone where i can sleep regular hours and get up before the election is called.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Eric writes, “Oh, sure, it’s all about the Brits”

    Comment from a guy on reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/ called rasdo357:

    “Oh my god the memes are going to be fucking unstoppable. We thought we were badasses with leaving the EU, then the US shows us how it’s fucking done.”

  • The Pedant-General

    Just to prove the point that politics the world over is entirely topsy-turvy, we might just have a candidate for a SQOTD, not just in the Guardian but with stacks of upvotes in the Guardian

    See here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2016/nov/08/us-election-2016-polls-trump-clinton-live#comment-87150077

    Was going to write “the world has gone mad”, but possible this comment is evidence that the world might be coming to its senses…

  • Phil B

    Sorry to piss on your chips (French fries for our American Cousins) but Mordor on the Potomac will still be Mordor on the Potomac in the morning. Whoever rules Mordor, it will still be Mordor.

    Trump is hated by both sides (and I don’t suppose for a moment that the Republicans will enthusiastically fall in behind him) so he will be limited by the House of Representatives and the Senate – unless he “does an Obama” and rules by decree, appointing “Czars” illegally and unconstitutionally.

    I was rather hoping that the Clinton creature would win – when the inevitable shit hits the fan and the economy collapses,the unfunded trillions and social security etc. collapses on Trumps watch ,then he will be blamed, unjustly, for the problems laid down over the past 8 years at least and the crowing of the Dems will be something to behold.

    I think that he will be severely limited in what he can and cannot do by both Parties so it will (IMHO) be like Brexit – the euphoria will be quickly dissipated in the bog of inertia from “the system” (TM) …

    Interesting times, eh?

  • Trump is hated by both sides (and I don’t suppose for a moment that the Republicans will enthusiastically fall in behind him) so he will be limited by the House of Representatives and the Senate

    You say that like it is a bad thing, given that he is likely to start a global trade war 😆

    I think that he will be severely limited in what he can and cannot do by both Parties so it will (IMHO) be like Brexit

    No, it will be nothing like Brexit. Brexit is a massive constitutional structural change and anything Parliament does has to work around that central fact, and moreover, any bad deals made during the exit negotiations can be undone by future government because the UK will nevertheless still not be part of the EU. That is a fundamental difference.

  • Mr Ed

    Well the outcome does mean that the daughter of a card-carrying Communist will be in the White House on 20th January 2017.

  • So Brexit was not the biggest political earthquake of 2016.

    I strongly disagree. Brexit represents a seismic structural and constitutional change for the UK, disestablishing an entire layer of government. Donald Trump represents the hoi polloi sticking a thumb in the eye of the US establishment, but it does not change the US constitution or fundamentally alter US politics structurally.

  • Tman

    Perry, Brexit isn’t a done deal yet.

    The repudiation of leftist hypocrisy in the US via a reality TV show host IS a done deal, not to mention the house and senate fully GOP.

    It’s over on this side of the pond. The left lost. Badly.

    You guys still have to convince your “betters” that the election was won. It remains to be seen that “a seismic structural and constitutional change for the UK” will become a reality. There is zero doubt that Donald Trump will be the next president of the USA.

  • There is zero doubt that Donald Trump will be the next president of the USA.

    But there is considerable doubt it is actually going to make all that much difference because the system today is the same system it was yesterday.

  • Natalie Solent

    Perry, fair point about the structural importance of Brexit. Tman, Brexit will happen, and it will still be in place when Trump leaves office.

    But Trump’s victory is more surprising. A majority for Brexit was always on the cards (not favoured by the “smart money” but always a possibility) once the referendum was called – indeed, that is why it had to be called. In contrast, I heard someone say on TV that if you’d bet on Trump before the primaries you’d be collecting 150 times your stake now.

  • Thomas Hazlewood

    You have to acknowledge the difference between the government founded in the US and those generally found in Europe.

    Parliamentary governments are constructed to permit minority governments to enact their policies. The only real restraints are elections which favor those not presently in control of government.

    In the US, the government was constructed to restrict the majority in its ability to advance its policies. The 4th Estate has traditionally played the part of watchdog over the government,regardless of which party held the Executive office.

    Under Obama the 4th estate colluded with one party, which party had gained control of all three branches simultaneously. The result was poorly written, incredibly complex, bills that had to be passed ‘to see what was in the bill’, as Nancy Pelosi famously declared. The abdication of the watchdogs permitted, and even condoned by its silence, repetitive unethical, and even unlawful, acts by the Democrat party. The result was the negation of many checks and balances that had, for 2 centuries, provided voice to the minority. The consequences are now being written.

    Brexit is not law. It apparently is only a strong suggestion, despite being the result of the people’s vote. There lies a great difference between our styles of government and our people’s expectations of their respective governments.When the general populace votes on an amendment, and it passes, it becomes law.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    I thought this might happen. To the tune of ten quid and a fifty quid profit. I now wish I had been more certain.

  • The BBC just now analysing state to state. “… but Wisconsin wasn’t even in play for us …”

    ‘For us’ – oops, BBC. 🙂

  • Jacob

    “The left lost. Badly.”

    No. Hillary lost. She was, personally, a terrible, unsupportable phony. And she lost narrowly.

    The left still rules.

  • bandit

    GOP Pres, GOP Senate, GOP House

    The left does not rule so much

  • Mr Ed

    Tim Stanley on Radio 4, bemoaning the result, and people getting news away from the mainstream media, of ‘they‘, Trump voters:

    ‘When they wanted an alternative opinion, it was out there on the Web, and those of us who are in the media, we now have to pay a lot more attention to right-wing websites, to Twitter and to Facebook to see what kind of conversations that people are having, that we are not co-ordinating”.

  • Alisa

    Wow Ed – is that “on paper” anywhere?

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @bandit,

    GOP Pres, GOP Senate, GOP House

    The left does not rule so much

    And how many GOPes are RINOs and actually creatures of the left? Trump needs to do some serious house-cleaning, now that he has won and proven his point.

  • Mr Ed

    Alisa,

    It was on the BBC Radio 4 World at One today at around 13.56 GMT, a live interview. This chap writes for the Telegraph and wrote off Mr Trump’s chances a while back. He said on his Twitter account that he would be on Radio 4 talking about what the Hell just happened.

  • […] for the day. (Posted this morning by English blogger Natalie […]

  • Paul Marks

    I do not know what Mr Trump’s policies will be – and the economy is about to fall off a cliff and (unjustly) he may well get the blame.

    But at least he has guts.

    Not the fake guts of Hillary Clinton – who was supported by the media and the education system and……. (all the powerful).

    Mr Trump has real courage – all the powerful institutions were against him. And he fought back.

  • Making its way around the alt-right:

    Britain: Brexit is the stupidest, most self destructive political act in history!

    USA: Hold my beer.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Here’s an article from the New York Times that fits here: For U.S., ‘Brexit’ Was a Sign of Things to Come

    “LONDON — It was a revolt against elite complacency, an almost palpable shock to conventional wisdom and conventional politics. Opponents could barely comprehend the poll-confounding news. This was June in Britain, not November in America, and the upset was the British decision to leave the European Union.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    The Guardian comment now has 861 up-votes.

    If I had a Guardian account or were motivated to get one, it would have 862.

    Thanks, Pedant-G.

    . . .

    Speaking of which, the commenter knows how to add the suffix “-ism” to the adjective formed from the root word “tribe”; that is, you don’t truncate the adjective, but rather you add “-ism” on at the end.

    (Faulty English from ca. 1500 A.D. notwithstanding, Laird. *g*)

    Thus, the commenter knows that

    “tribal” -> “tribalism,” NOT “tribism.”

    From his Point 2:

    “ethnocentrism, gynocentrism and tribalism”

    No. The adjectives are “ethnocentric” and “gynocentric,” and the correct addition of “-ism” thus gives

    “ethnocentricism” and “gynocentricism.”

    However, thank Fortune and the Great Frog, he gets the addition of the “-ist” suffix right in Point 4: “supremacist” is quite correct.

    Just as one who studies or works in the field of physics is a physicist (and not a “physist”!!!), so one who creates ceramics is a ceramicist, not a “ceramist”( that would be one who makes cerams, whatever they are).

    And an internist studies or specializes in interns. If we must hoke up a single word for docs specializing in internal medicine, “internalist” (bad as it is) would at least be in the ball-park.

    Just thought I’d mention it. @$%^#$&*@@@!!