When British voters went to the polls last spring and decided that they wanted their country to leave the European Union, American voters were still recuperating from the presidential primaries. So maybe American voters didn't notice that the 2016 election is basically America's Brexit. OK, it might be more complicated than that, but the similarities are there. And they aren't good. If American voters can dig deep down in themselves, they'll see how the votes mirror each other. For better or worse. Watching the voting returns come in on election night, it's hard to not think about the vote our friends across the pond made this summer to secede from the European Union.
As votes roll in on election night, it's hard to not see some similarities to England's Brexit vote. Republican candidate Donald Trump ran on a platform that tapped into some American voters' need to "reclaim" their country. Trump supporters are backing him based on his policies about immigration and economic reform, even though there are no clear paths to make good on his vague promises. Actually, Trump has compared his run for the Oval Office to Brexit on a few occasions. On Monday Trump said at a rally, "It's going to be Brexit plus, plus, plus."
But what does that mean, really? The Brexit vote in the U.K. has been controversial. There were many voters who thought they were voting to secede from the European Union without even thinking about it. The day after the vote, social media was teeming with videos of British voters who seemed to not even know what they were voting for.
It's hard to imagine that American voters don't know what they're voting for. As the returns came in on Tuesday night and it looked like Trump might take the White House, it's fair to wonder, "is this like Brexit?"
Trump's supporters have supported him despite all of his flaws, much like British voters were ready to vote for anything. But if Trump actually becomes president, what will he do? What will Britain do when it comes to leaving the E.U.? It's a good question and it's a very similar situation to how British voters felt after sitting the Brexit election out and hoping for the best.
If anything, Brexit and a possible Trump win is a testament to how important voting really is. One can't just sit back and wait and see what happens. Sometimes, there are big voting days. And the results matter.