If Trump becomes President, Britain will be (partly) to blame.
Britain in November if you have to. Britain will have been the harbinger, the outrider, the legitimator of a Trump Presidency – the John the Baptist to Donald Trump’s Christ (not that the Don has much time for the low energy Nazarene). Britain will have demonstrated the efficacy of loud lying, or pandering to cherished fears and never, ever, acknowledging your state of error.
Now there are nice Brexiters, and there are people with concerns about the limits of viable governance and accountability. But these serious concerns were not front and centre during the campaign. The fear and the lies were front and centre. It woz the fear and the lies wot won it.
The success of Brexit has put a spring in the step of the Trump campaign. A single minded focus on fear and lies has streamlined the Trump message to the point where he’s looking very competitive throughout the rustbelt. Thanks to
Britain‘s example, a completely fact free/truth campaign beckons. And Theresa May’s tactical decision to make Bojo Foreign Secretary – even in a completely cosmetic capacity – demonstrates that a completely worthless and discredited individual can reach the top in politics. In the new politics, validated by Brexit, power belongs to whoever can amplify fear most ruthlessly. Not that all fear is bad. Remainers offers clear economic consequences to Leaving the EU and were denounced as scaremongers. Even after the vote when the consequences began to be reported as real events in real time, Remainers were still denounced as scaremongering. And there are plenty of reasons to be rationally “fearful”of someone like Trump – a landed aristocrat whose sense of absolute entitlement is lifelong and who has no concept of personal responsibility – possessing nuclear codes.
The fears that Bojo and Farage and Trump amplify are vaguer and yet more potent. Many of Trump’s supporters hate women, and want to see a proven user and abuser of women in the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s supporters feel that their own sense of racial privilege is threatened and find that the “strong borders” slogan is a great way of defending feelings they long feared were indefensible. Wherever there is threatened entitlement, disorganised fear, and a fundamental sense of self loathing that makes one unwilling to exercise the mental and moral responsibilities of citizenship, sloganeering demagogues will triumph.
And if Trump triumphs in November, it will be techniques that achieved their grisly apotheosis in
Britain in June that will have helped make it happen.