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Tue Jun 21, 2016, 03:09 PM

What Trump and Brexit have in common.

How Donald Trump Explains ‘Brexit’

Let’s start with immigration. Among Republicans, Trump has tapped into a deep vein of anti-immigrant, pro-nativist sentiment, promising to seal the country’s borders and threatening to deport millions of people. ... Similarly, those voting for Brexit tend to worry about immigration making England less English, and about immigrants taking Britons’ jobs. “Citizens of regions where immigration is perceived as damaging are much more likely to vote for Brexit,” one study found.

Immigration is certainly fair game for a policy debate, but beyond the legitimate questions there’s a dark underbelly to the anti-immigrant sentiment driving both the Donald’s astonishing rise in the United States and Brexit’s surprising success. Trump is openly xenophobic and racist, intentionally riling up his supporters in the worst ways and encouraging them to embrace and express their own bigotries. That's a dangerous road for any nation to start down. Some leaders of Brexit are openly xenophobic and racist and are using the same tactics. It makes fair-minded observers wonder what the real point is here: modest changes in immigration policy, or the rejection of the values that allow for a pluralistic society?

Then there is the issue of antipathy toward elites. Trump is a rich and connected New Yorker, a Wharton grad, and the coddled inheritor of a real-estate fortune, sure. Nevertheless, with his middle finger raised to the Republican Establishment and to common standards of propriety, he has ridden a wave of distaste for the more buttoned-up masters of the universe. ... Similarly, the leave campaign has painted the remain campaign as urbane, out of touch, and beholden to a bunch of inept pencil pushers in Brussels, and has argued against trusting experts, elites, the powerful. “People in this country have had enough of experts,” said Michael Gove, the justice secretary and a leader of the leave movement.

Now, they might have a point on some of that. But in both cases, this anti-elite sentiment seems to have morphed into a blithe anti-empiricism. (Numbers are only for technocrats these days, it seems.) ... Trump’s policy proposals are the most banana-pants, math-challenged economic fantasy imaginable: He promises to pay off the national debt while also cutting taxes, insists a crippling trade war would help the economy, and so on. His supporters seem not to care. Be wary of political causes that are unfazed by facts that would seem to undercut their core assertions.


Facts and science have a liberal bias. Neither conservatives in the US nor 'Brexit' supporters in the UK base their cases on facts.

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