Implications of the Brexit triumph on the US presidential election

The decision by the British people to leave the European Union has stunned the world and has major implications for the US presidential elections, scheduled on 8 November 2016. The media and political elites (the “Pundocracy”) in the United States have dismissed the chances of the presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the Presidency.

The truth is quite different. Donald Trump, an instinctive politician, sensed the mood of the American electorate which is angry, frustrated and ready for an outsider to smash the failing status quo when he launched his insurgency campaign in June 2015. What the Brexit result signifies is that the working and middle classes are in open revolt and will not be intimidated, bullied and silenced by the political and economic elites on either side of the Atlantic.

Political experts agree that Donald Trump needs to win the Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michagan and Wisconsin if he has a realistic chance of defeating Clinton. Reports are indicating that Trump could do very well in these states and Hilary Clinton hasn’t connected with the concerns of blue-collar voters. The Pundocracy are underestimating the anger among the American people and the real levels of support for Trump outside the Beltway. Just as a “shy Brexit” phenomenon contributed to the victory of the Leave campaign, the pollsters haven’t factored into their models the potentially 4% of the electorate who are “shy Trump” voters, who could swing the election.

The firing by the Donald of his top aide Corey Lewandowski on 20 June will be considered by future historians as a key turning point in the Trump campaign. Lewandowski encouraged a “let Trump be Trump” strategy that worked well in the primaries but has backfired with the broader electorate. The experienced and ruthless political operator Paul Manafort is now in charge of the Trump campaign and will direct the pivot towards a more “presidential” Trump.

Donald Trump has seen a sharp drop in the national poll ratings recently with the average poll of polls showing that he is 6% behind to the presumptive Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton. This was triggered by ill judged and inflammatory comments about the Mexican heritage of a judge investigating the Trump University law suit which has amplified wider concerns about whether Trump is fit to be president.

Trump will need to deal with this toxic issue head on if he is to gain traction among minority voters and independent voters. Trump, contrary to what some in the Pundocracy appear to think, is not a stupid man. He is fully aware of the need to adopt a more serious, sober and “presidential” campaign and the firing of his closest aide Corey Lewandowski shows that he now “gets” the importance of the general election pivot I have written of before. The Republican Convention at Cleveland will be a key moment in reshaping perceptions of Trump and challenging the view that he is a racist buffoon.

As long as the Donald stays with the playbook outlined by Paul Manafort and pushes his powerful anti-establishment, inclusive and economically populist agenda with the wider American public, than he will be on course for a historic victory on 8 November 2016.

 

Implications of the Brexit triumph on the US presidential election

The post Brexit fallout

The unexpected victory of the Leave campaign in Thursday’s referendum on Great Britain’s membership of the European Union has already caused massive political and financial disruption. Here is my take on what to expect in the coming months;

  • The Conservative Party has been deeply divided on whether to remain in the EU and it will take years for these divisions to heal. The 1922 Committee has agreed to a quick leadership race with a new leader to be elected by early September. The leading Leave politician and former London Mayor Boris Johnson is the favourite to win the race and is popular among the notoriously Eurosceptic party membership.  The Home Secretary Theresa May is likely to be his main opponent even through she backed the Remain campaign. I predict that Boris Johnson will be elected the Conservative Party’s next leader.

 

  • The Labour Party is in the process of implosion with the bulk of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) in open revolt against their veteran socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn. It remains to be seen if Corbyn will be automatically added to the leadership ballot or whether he will need to gain the support of 20% of the MP’s and MEP’s in order to stand as a candidate. Should the Labour leader automatically be a candidate in the upcoming Labour leadership race, it will be hard to defeat him, as he still enjoys significant support among the wider Labour activist membership. Should Corbyn manage to get on the leadership ballot, my prediction is that he will narrowly win the Labour Party leadership election.

 

  •  Assuming that Jeremy Corbyn survives the challenge to his leadership, a number of fatal consequences will follow for the party. It is likely that the centre-right MP’s within the PLP will formally split from the Labour Party and create a new centrist political group which will be closely aligned with the Liberal Democrats. A vengeful hard left within the Labour Party, in alliance with the trade unions, will start deselecting anti-Corbyn Labour MP’s and replacing them with Corbynistas.

 

  •  Assuming that the above scenarios come true, it is a real possibility that a Boris Johnson led Conservative government will trigger an early general election before the end of this year to gain a popular mandate and exploit the chaos in the Labour Party. I would anticipate that the Tories will gain seats at the expense of Labour and secure a 100 seat majority. However, there are real risks of triggering an early general election and whoever is elected the next Tory leader may decide to get on with negotiating the exit of the EU.

 

  • A consensus is emerging within the Conservative Party that the best interests of the country is a “soft Brexit” where Britain will keep access to parts of the single market in return for some controls over EU migration. It is not quite the total control over immigration promised during the referendum campaign and UKIP leader Nigel Farage will exploit this. The cry of betrayal by UKIP will be felt strongly in working class Labour heartlands where the issue of immigration is such a hot topic. UKIP will exploit this cleavage at the next general election and should the Labour Party leadership not oppose a “soft Brexit”, Farage’s UKIP will perform well in the north on their “hard Brexit” platform.

 

  • There is much talk among the Pundocracy about a second Scottish referendum on independence. Although there is much anger among the Scottish electorate, who voted for Remain by a substantial margin, the weaknesses of the Scottish independence campaign hasn’t changed. Indeed, it has got far worse. The oil price has collapsed, North Sea is dying and the fiscal deficit has grown to £15 billion. Once passions have cooled, it is likely that older Scottish voters, who voted for the union out of fear of their state pensions, will grudgingly stay within the union. Should Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon decide to take the greatest gamble of her political life, it will be within the next two years, before Britain exits the EU. A second Scottish referendum is a possibility and it will likely happen only if opinion polls show sustained lead for independence over a minimum of six months.

 

 

The post Brexit fallout

Britain votes to leave the European Union

The British public has narrowly voted to leave the European Union with Leave on 51.9% and Remain on 48.1%. The victory for the Leave campaign is a massive repudiation of a complacent and arrogant political and financial establishment.

For those who have been following my blog this result should not come as a shock as I predicted a narrow Leave victory in my first post in January 2016.

I will write a more comprehensive post on the impact of the Leave vote in due course but the result will certainly have a profound impact on the future of the European Union.

 

Britain votes to leave the European Union

Can the Brexiteers pull it off?

After months of, at times, rancorous debate Great Britain is in its final stages on the referendum on whether to stay in the European Union (EU) scheduled on 23 June 2016. The Remain camp has massive advantages with the bulk of the political, trade union and City establishment backing the case to stay in but they have failed to “seal the deal” with the British electorate to date.

Prime Minister Cameron has pursued a similar strategy to the Scottish Independence referendum campaign, with a focus on the economic risks of leaving the EU, known to its critics as Project Fear. The Treasury, Bank of England and the major finance houses have all piled in with dire warnings of the impact of a Brexit vote with little or no impact on the opinion polls. If anything, the general public, if the current opinion polls are correct, are increasingly leaning towards Brexit.

In my opinion the major reason why the Remain camp are not doing as well in the polls as expected is primarily over-egging the economic risks of leaving in the EU. When the Prime Minister warns of World War 3 or a global recession if Britain votes to leave he damages his main asset; his credibility. The Remain camp are right to raise the risks of leaving the EU but it should be done in a balanced way which doesn’t insult the intelligence of the British public.

In my last commentary on the Brexit campaign, I noted that the addition of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson gave the Leave side a fighting chance of winning the referendum. Although Boris has had a troubled campaign to date, Michael Gove’s impressive performance during the recent studio debate shows what a strong asset he is to the Leave camp. Gove brings a seriousness and intellectual credibility to the Leave argument which may prove critical in persuading Tory-leaning floating voters to voting Out.

If the referendum campaign was a marathon then the Remain camp was supposed to out-sprint the Brexiteers doing the months when the full force of the Government machinery could be utilised to bombard the British public of the dire risks of leaving the EU. The Leave camp have survived this most deadly phase of the campaign with their support base intact.

Now, the Leave camp have started to utilise their trump card, immigration, in the final weeks of the campaign. Immigration has regularly appeared as one of the biggest concerns of the public for years and the majority of voters think that voting to leave the EU will help Britain control the flows of EU migrants into the UK.

Whilst the international refugee crisis has been relatively quiet over the past few months, now that the seas are warming up, we are starting to see thousands cross the Mediterranean every day from the shores of Libya. These pictures are being beamed into millions of British homes every night. Should ISIS succeed in attacking Euro 2016 in the coming weeks this could also have a major impact on the campaign.

Ultimately, the result will come down to the perceived economic risks of leaving the EU versus the cultural identity and security concerns of staying within a club which will allow unprecedented future migration into the country. Which is considered a more vital issue for the floating centrist voter will decide the outcome.

It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty how the public will vote on 23 June 2016 and both sides have a fighting chance of winning the referendum as we stand. I would not be surprised however if we wake up on the 24th June to discover that a slim majority have voted to leave out of a determination to gain control of Britain’s borders and its future.

 

Can the Brexiteers pull it off?