What Americans Need to Learn From Brexit

In case you’re just tuning in, across ‘the pond’ citizens just democratically decided to do something completely wack-a-doodle. By a narrow vote, the United Kingdom voted in favor of Brexit, the British exit from the European Union. (If you’d like to get caught up on what Brexit means, watch this video.)

A yes vote for Brexit is a huge blow to those in favor of a united Europe. It has tremendous implications for a host of inter-connected issues including agriculture, employment, immigration and the economy in general. Thousands will likely lose their job, immigrants with nowhere to go face even tougher times ahead, and the extraordinary list of consequences goes on.

My guess is, many Americans are wondering–what does Brexit mean for me? While the process of leaving the EU may take years, the lessons from this recent exercise in democracy are here now.

Brexit is the wake up call Americans need now more than ever.

Among the lessons Brexit teaches us: Trump could become our next President of the United States if we’re not careful.

How’s that for terrifying?

CNN correspondent Van Jones explains how Brexit proves Trump can win in this tell-it-like-it-is video

Care2’s Steve Williams draws this parallel between the UK’s situation and the U.S.’s current political race for President: “Just as the Left in the UK thought an EU exit unlikely, America’s Donald Trump might just do the unthinkable and actually win the presidential race.”

Williams cautions, “Americans who reject all that Donald Trump stands for will want to make sure that doesn’t happen in the United States come November and will hope that the UK can serve as a wake up call for Americans who felt disengaged from the political process.

There are other lessons to be learned here too. For instance:

  • Voting to Make a Point Is Pointless

When it comes to democratic elections, the impossible is possible. Because the ‘never gonna happen’ can happen if enough people vote in favor of it. So rather than throw your vote away to make a point, voters should vote for the party or decision they want to see win. Or suffer the consequences.

  • Reasonable People Can Be Swayed by Fear Mongering

Don’t let propagators of ‘us against them’ mentality in melting pot nations lead you to make unreasonable decisions. Williams spells it out perfectly: “If there is anything that can be learned from the UK’s political fight over the past months, it’s that alienation, fear-mongering and a deep distrust of other nations can create a perfect storm of political action that can lead even usually reasonable people to go against compassion, unity and progressive causes.”

Just how narrow a vote was the Brexit election? Here’s the Brexit breakdown: 51.9 percent in favor of leaving vs. 48.1 percent in favor of staying in the European Union.

So less than one and a half million votes decided the fate of nations. Let this be a lesson to us all: Every vote counts.

Feeling disengaged? I feel you. But not voting or voting for Trump to express your frustration is not the answer.

Don’t end up like Adam. He’s the bewildered Brit making headlines after voting in favor of Brexit. Once the reality of the Brexit election set in, Adam said, “I’m shocked that we actually voted to Leave. I didn’t think that was actually going to happen.”

Yes, Adam, your vote actually counted. (Votes are funny that way.) And NOW you’re worried sick? Oy vey.

As we look ahead to November, some predict that the election will come down to seven states, and Trump holds the advantage.

If that bothers you, then you know what to do: Show up and vote for the candidate you actually want to see become President of the United States. There are plenty of other ways to make all the points you want. Like starting a Care2 petition :)

Take Action

UK voters have decided and Brexit has passed. But there are ways you can still take a stand against it:

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

431 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Miss D.
Shari F2 years ago

‘Miss D., I am not arguing against some people being racist - they are definitely out there. However, this was not a large part of the reason why the majority of the Brits voted to leave.’
HI Dan, what are you basing this statement on? From what I can see, there was a lot of hysteria about immigration, immigrants taking our jobs, immigrants taking our benefits, immigrants using the NHS, immigrants putting pressure on school places, immigrants walking down the street….and now that the referendum is over, immigrants and ethnic minorities are being targeted in a spike of racist attacks. I do not think that it is people who voted for Remain who would have carried out these attacks as that would not make much sense. Therefore it would seem to be Brexit voters and if so, that they voted this way due to their views on immigrants

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jane Oldfield
jane Oldfield2 years ago

What a terrible article. You equate Brexiters with Donald Trump - I am a Brexiter and loathe everything Trump stands for. You completely miss the point on why British people have turned against the EU - it is undemocratic (policy is made by the EU Commission and they are appointed not elected); it is a nightmare of regulation for small businesses pushing many of them to the wall financially; it has lowered wages for those on low pay; it has given large firms a perfect excuse to not participate in apprenticeship schemes - why train someone from the UK if you can employ someone already skilled and pay him/her the minimum wage. I find this article completely offensive and ignorant.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees2 years ago

It should be obvious to anyone that has been paying attention that the USA and world economy is in real trouble. The Keynesian debt based economic system is failing. The British saw the writing on the war, the EU as well as the USA is on an unsustainable path.

Let's encourage Care2 to be part of the solution.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/716/734/497/demand-care2-start-covering-3rd-party-candidates./

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Miss D.,
I am not arguing against some people being racist - they are definitely out there. However, this was not a large part of the reason why the majority of the Brits voted to leave.

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Miss D.
Shari F2 years ago

Hi Dan, I would have to disagree with you that the anti-immigrant sentiment was a blantant lie. I know several people who voted Leave and I'm sorry to say that anti-immigrant sentiment was sadly a big part of that. I also noticed that many of the headlines and articles in various newspapers that pushed Leave also portrayed the immigration issue in a negative light. One didn't need a campaign by Remain to see the connection between many people (not everyone, but many) voting Leave and racism.

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Jon T.
Jon T2 years ago

Miss D has already covered much of the explanation on the lack of democracy in the UK. It's also the reason only two parties can have any success in the USA but that's for another day. David F - when one party has 37% of the vote I expect them to have about 37% of the MPs, not over 50% and absolute power. Likewise the three parties that together got about 25% of the vote but got 1.5% (note the decimal point!) of the MPs have been utterly robbed by the system - as have the 25% who voted for them. No wonder people feel disenfranchised by politics. In the county I live in 49% voted Tory yet all 17 MPs are Tories. The 51% are represented by nobody!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Miss D.,
Well, the anti-immigrant sentiment was one of the blatant lies. The campaign to paint Brexit supporters as racists fell on deaf ears. That was not the reason for their votes.

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Miss D.
Shari F2 years ago

Dan Blossfield, when Carole H said ‘the Brexit compaigners were successful in fooling half the people by using blatant lies and stirring up ugly anti-immigrant sentiments’ she was talking about the campaigners in favour of leaving the EU, not about those who wanted us to stay in. The ‘Brexit campaigners’ were campaigning for ‘Br’ to ‘Exit.’

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Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y2 years ago

Miss D., thanks for explaining about FPTP. Most Americans don't understand this system at all, and we were puzzled by your last election.

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