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Could the Brexit Hurt Hillary Clinton?

Will Brexit hurt Hillary Clinton

Voters in the United Kingdom sent shockwaves into global markets by deciding to leave the European Union in what is commonly known as the “Brexit”. Financial experts, who bet that the “Remain” campaign would prevail, are waking up from a bad hangover. The pound fell to a 31-year low. Stock exchanges and currencies fell sharply. For many economists, it was just a nightmare.

One of the biggest negative consequences of the Brexit is that investors, faced with uncertainty, started to pull out from riskier investment products such as equities. Some even predict that the ripple effect of this reactive behavior could set off a financial crisis.

With the Netherlands now mulling a “Nexit” of its own, some fear that a domino effect could threaten the EU organization as a whole.

David Cameron announced that he will step down later this year. If the economists are right about the expected economic fallout from the Brexit, Hillary Clinton could be its next political causality.

In elections, there are Democrats, Republicans and those who elect presidents. Independent voters in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia are likely the ones who will decide who the next president of the United States will be. A good share of those swing voters, unfortunately, don’t analyze platforms, don’t watch debates and quite frankly, don’t care much about politics. To them, they mostly care about one thing: Jobs. If the economy does well, they will support the candidate of the status quo. But if the economy slows down, investments plummet and unemployment increases, some voters will blame the President, and Hillary Clinton who they believe is running for Obama’s third term.

As Bill Clinton reminds us: It’s the economy, stupid!

Many will think that this is absurd. Well, it is! After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both opposed the Brexit, while Trump strongly supported it. Not to mention that many economists argue that a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the economy. Voting for Trump because of the economy can be seen as the most insane thing to do. But since when do voters think rationally?

Hillary Clinton’s strategy will be to present herself as the seasoned politician who can be trusted in this era of economic uncertainty, while painting Donald Trump as an irresponsible candidate who could harm the economy and jobs.

But if the Brexit vote is any indication, voters in the United Kingdom overlooked the advice of economists, analysts, and world leaders. That’s because this referendum was hardly about independence or economics. It was a referendum for xenophobia, and xenophobia won. Doug Saunders from the Globe and Mail describes it best:

And, most significantly for the rest of the world, it marks the first time that the xenophobic politics of the far right have managed to win a majority national vote in a major Western country.

The Brexit movement, despite being the product of an extreme-right leader whose party holds one seat. Despite being rejected by the leader of every conventional political party. Despite having descended into the use of racial-terror images of brown-skinned hordes as its central argument and despite its more zealous followers resorting to the assassination of a sitting member of Parliament, managed to prevail.

Trump’s Secret Weapon: The “Shy Tory” Factor

The “Shy Tory” factor is an observation that conservatives in the United Kingdom tend to do much better in elections day than what’s predicted by opinion polling. This was evident in this referendum. An Ipsos MORI exit polls showed the “Remain” side with an eight-point lead. Another exit poll by YouGov also corroborates the finding, showing the “Remain” side with a four-point lead. By the time the last vote counted, the “Leave” side won by 52 – 48.

Trump, with his bigoted, xenophobic and racist rhetoric could benefit from a similar factor. While this is Hillary Clinton’s election to lose, Trump only needs a 2 point swing in three of the following states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, to dethrone the frontrunner status from her.

Just the thought of that possibility is absolutely frightening.

Written by Salam Morcos

Salam Morcos is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Political activist for democracy, social justice, racial justice, women's right and human rights.

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  1. More troubling than the fact that the Brexit could set off a chain of event that might derail Clinton is the fact that the Clinton representatives on the Democratic platform committee appeared to learn nothing at all from the Brexit, and voted down several progressive economic proposals offered by the Sanders campaign. They do not seem to understand that the same economic principles that Clinton represents both caused the Brexit and are driving the rise of Trump. Sanders is offering Clinton the policies she needs to avoid her own Brexit, but she doesn’t seem open to those polices, perhaps because her donors make it impossible for her to consider them.

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