There's no denying the similarities between the Brexit vote that occurred in the U.K. earlier this year, and the 2016 presidential election. Both featured a candidate who many argued was running on a platform of xenophobia, and many doubted that the controversial "Leave" side actually had a legitimate shot at winning. But the majority of U.K. voters did actually vote to leave the European Union, and the result shocked pretty much everyone. In fact, even people who voted in favor of leaving admitted to feeling dismayed by the decision. It's now being reported that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's odds are the same as Brexit's, and knowing some of the consequences of the Brexit vote, that's probably something Americans should be pretty worried about.
According to The Independent, British betting company Ladbrokes released its final set of odds on the election today, and the news is unsettling. Offering 3/1 odds on a Trump win for anyone looking to bet money on the outcome of the presidential election, Ladbrokes has determined that the odds of Trump ending up in the White House are the same as the odds that "Leave" would win the Brexit vote the day the votes were cast.
That's important for a number of reasons. Firstly, like Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign, the "Remain" campaign was polling ahead of the "Leave" camp going into the referendum. But, like today's election, the Brexit polls were incredibly close, and some had the two sides in a virtual toss up, according to The Atlantic. As with Clinton's campaign, "Remain" had support from politicians and prominent officials, many of whom warned that a vote for "Leave" would have disastrous consequences. Trump, on the other hand, has seen a significant number of politicians from his own party either refuse to endorse him, or rescind their endorsement at some point along the way, according to The Wall Street Journal.
There are a number of other similarities, too. Experts predicted, for example, that leaving the European Union would be bad news for Britain's economy — something which certainly proved to be true in July, when the post-Brexit drop in the British pound earned it the title of the world’s worst performing currency in 2016, according to Bloomberg. Similar warnings have accompanied the possibility of a Trump presidency, with CNBC noting last week that the markets would almost certainly drop if Clinton loses. As Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of global economics Ethan Harris explained,
From the action in the stock market, the equity market is worried about a Trump victory, about the uncertainty of policy under Trump. Normally the equity market responds positively to a Republican doing well in the election. In this election, I think the dominant story is about uncertainty after the election.
But perhaps the most concerning aspect of the Brexit outcome that could easily be repeated in the United States is the way the vote generally affected those living in Britain. Like many Trump supporters, those in favor of leaving the EU often spoke about immigration and wanting to take their country back from foreigners. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, reports of racism and hate crimes increased following the Brexit vote, according to CNN, likely because the result of the election legitimized their beliefs that they had a right to want any non-Brits out of the U.K. immediately. Conservative politician and lawyer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who was once part of the "Leave" campaign, told Sky News that the referendum outcome emboldened the anti-immigration stance of "Leave" supporters:
I've spent most of the weekend talking to organizations, individuals and activists who work in the area of race hate crime, who monitor hate crime and they have shown some really disturbing early results from people being stopped in the street and saying look, we voted Leave, it's time for you to leave.
Could the same happen in America under a Trump presidency? It wouldn't be surprising. After all, we've already begun to see the effects of "Trumpism," such as the rise of racist comments among school children as a result of Trump's anti-immigrant stance. According to The Huffington Post, a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that teachers across the country have seen black, Mexican, and Muslim students taunted by their peers, and that many non-white students have expressed fears of being deported — even if they are American citizens. And many of Trump's adult supporters have shown the same kind of behavior, according to People, particularly at rallies, where supporters can be heard "unapologetically hurling profanities [and] violent threats along with sexist, racial and ethnic slurs."
Then, of course, let's not forget what was perhaps the most surprising story to come out of the Brexit referendum — the fact that, the day after, many "Leave" voters were bewildered to find out that the votes they thought they'd cast in protest actually led to an outcome they didn't actually want (remember the trending hashtag #regrexit in the days following the vote?). According to Business Insider UK, an October study found that "the portion of 'Leave' voters who regret their vote (or [who] 'don't know') is greater than the total margin of victory for Brexit." Yikes.
One person who isn't even slightly fazed by the Brexit comparison though? Donald Trump himself. According to NPR, the Republican nominee told supporters at an rally in North Carolina Monday that the results of the election would be "Brexit plus, plus, plus." As for whether or not he's right about that, it looks like we will have to wait and see when the polls finally close and the votes are counted.