The now infamous Brexit vote could go down as one of the most significant political events of the 21st century and I think that US voters need to learn from it because it’s ripples could be cresting on our shores in a matter of months.
ABSTRACT: Traditionally, nationalist ideologies arise from strongmen scapegoating certain groups, typically immigrants and minority communities, in the interest of grabbing power from a vacuum. You can see this dialectic recapitulate over the last century and beyond. Just ask Hegel. 2016 nationalist British politicians blaming immigrants for their collective ails is nothing new. You can find anti-immigrant sentiment going back to the dawn of city-states. These strongmen simply know how to channel the anger of large segments of the population who do not have an ideological framework to organize alternatives and simply seek to exercise their collective power and frustration through the strongman. Furthermore, the liberal electorate takes for granted just how large of a voting bloc the impressionable voter is to the soaring rhetoric of the strongman. Thus, the ubermensch is able to float baseless promises with impunity whether they deliver or not. They simply capitalize on the anger of a large voting bloc in the interest of seizing power. Again, nothing new but, also again, this is a problem that the left seems too hamstrung to overcome because of their lack of foundational organization.
The Brexit vote does not bode well for the American voter because the issues at hand are the very same. Globalized political paradigm struggles are a newer facet of the political theatre. Whereas this storyline would historically have been a localized phenomenon, now the globalization of trade makes electoral consequences ripple to other countries as well. Here in the US, Trump represents the same sort of sentiment that the UKIP politicians campaigned on: disdain for regional partners, scapegoating of minority groups, incredibly unsound economic sense, soaring rhetoric, dependence on a mass media mechanism that unnaturally inflates inflammatory sentiment, and reliance on a very large voting bloc of disenfranchised who feel neglected by a liberal government who are focused on, in their eyes at least, inclusion of others at their expense.
The most formidable similarity between the two situations is also the most pertinent: the Left's lack of organization and underestimation of the nationalists. The left are very good at diagnosing socio-economic ails but are incredibly poor at coming up with viable alternatives. In other words, liberals are good at recognizing problems but are piss poor at organizing solutions. It is the irony of ironies of politics that the far right are far better organizers than the left. What this results in is a power base that does not take the far right threat as serious. They underestimate the disenfranchised majority vote to their detriment. They continue with the status quo under the guise of compromise while the far right positions themselves to take advantage of their weakness at first notice. That is what is happening in the 2016 US Presidential election.
Mr. Trump's candidacy was initially dismissed outright as laughable. How can a television personality with no political experience possibly rise above the noise of the US political drama? By knowing how to manipulate ratings. Mr. Trump does not have positions. He has a keen awareness of what moves the impressionable. After all, this is his gift. That is how you make it in real estate or TV: by knowing and catering to your audience. Therefore, by having the cult of personality the strongman can manipulate the media into acting as his megaphone simply by unabashedly giving voice to the fear and ignorance of such a large cross-section of the electorate.
None of this necessarily guarantees success for Mr. Trump or the strongman, but the Left’s inability to effectively organize a resistance does. The Democratic Party has been in a state of disharmony the entire election season and for good reason. Thanks to the recent hacks by Guccifer 2.0 we now have tangible proof that the DNC colluded to undermine the candidacy of Bernie Sanders and his millions of supporters outright and from day one. As a result, millions of new and young voters who are predisposed to progressive policies have been left disenfranchised and out of the process, thereby dwindling the number of liberal votes that will show up in November. Indeed, the DNC's miscalculated, system-rigging, and unwavering support of Hillary Clinton, whose unfavorability ratings are as staggering as Trump’s, might just cause a global political crisis. In poll after poll Bernie Sanders soundly defeats Trump, in some cases by double digits. Hillary loses to Trump in a number of those polls. Why? Because she does not represent a departure from the watered down neoliberal policies of the 21st century Democratic Party.
The US electorate is ready to make bold changes toward a more progressive society. The polls indicate this. Around 45% of Americans identify as independents whereas only around 25% Republican or Democrat respectively. However, the Left’s inability to adapt to the changing needs of the populace, due to the political debts that must be paid to insiders such as Hillary Clinton, cause them to skew the process toward the status quo instead of embracing the political revolution necessary to trump (pun intended) nationalist sentiment. Truly, the Democrats did this to themselves by rigging the process against those who are ready to actually become and sustain political activity. Instead, liberal political insiders and their funders have opted for a showdown which they could lose because they chose to back traditional politics and politicos instead of an effective strategy.
The Brexit does not bode well for the 2016 Presidential election because the Left never learns. We constantly underestimate the passion and organization of the angry and uninformed majority vote in the name of ideological reason. The problem is that reason and logic do not guide votes—organization does. The left in its refusal to organize effectively around a truly progressive platform has created a power vacuum that the strongman can manipulate using the mass media as his megaphone to reach millions of voters that would ordinarily not pay attention to him (I think here of the Christian conservative vote for one) and take advantage of identity politics to seize power. Furthermore, after the ubermensch has seized power there is no mechanism of accountability. Even today as we see over a million and a half Brits sign a petition for a revote because of UKIP's quick pivot away from their promises, the deed is done. There is no going back now. Now, here in the US and around the world the angry majority is raising its chin just a little bit higher in defiance; they are now more resolved in their anti-immigrant inclinations; they are more sure of their coming victory; and most importantly they are organized. They know how to get out the vote while the liberal electorate is left divided and demoralized by a power structure that cares little for their values.
I am afraid for the US and for Earth. The ubermensch stands more resolute than ever thanks to the Brexit vote and the American left is showing no signs of learning from Britain's mistakes. The Democrats are still digging in with Hillary Clinton, though her FBI investigation is the ever-present elephant in the room, and neoliberal policies that millions of liberal voters have been in the streets fighting against. The DNC has no respect for the movement of millions and might just lose the election and the global fight for dignity in the process.
As much as it frightens me to say the Brexit vote may have been just the beginning.