LONDON — Britain’s startling decision to pull out of the European Union set off a cascade of aftershocks on Friday, costing Prime Minister David Cameron his job, plunging the financial markets into turmoil and leaving the country’s future in doubt.As for me, I tend to bet against any looming "catastrophe" conventional wisdom says is coming. The real horrors in this world happen in slow motion. The grind of poverty and inequality, climate change, coastal erosion, gentrification, mass incarceration, aggressively racist policing, the day to day political corruption that allows all of the above to function. This is where the real damage is done.
Events like the Brexit referendum are just clumsy reactions; slips in the fault where more insidious fundamental pressures have buckled it. In a way, they're even hopeful in that they make plain the otherwise obscured abuses wrought by the system. They present opportunities to, if not remedy, at least better understand the problem. Hey look, an oil rig exploded. Maybe we should be more serious about safety enforcement. Of course, more often than not, these tragic events don't actually result in positive reform which makes them all the more tragic. But they do provide little opportunities for hope... if you believe in that sort of thing.
The Brexit referendum, at the very least, demonstrates that the political system is not entirely nullified by the money power. On a certain level it's gratifying to see democracy still (sort of) exists, even when it does stupid things. I say "sort of" there because, frankly, I'm not convinced democracy really does hold the advantage here. I'm quite willing to take bets at this point that the result is eventually negated one way or another.
Which, in itself, would also be a hopeful tragedy insofar as it would demonstrate the blatant hostility toward democracy prevalent among the international capitalist class.London (CNN)From Brexit to #Regrexit -- an online petition demanding a second referendum on Britain's decision to leave the EU is nearing 1.5 million signatures.By Saturday morning, 1,489,743 people had signed the petition on the official UK Parliament website. That number takes it well over the 100,000-signature threshold needed to force a debate on the issue by members of Parliament.
Citigroup's chief global political analyst, Tina Fordham, and Chief Economist Willem Buiter have offered their outlooks on the global state of affairs at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos. They did not paint a sunny picture.Not that any positive change is likely to come of that either. But it's always useful to see these people just come out and say what they really are.
Fordham portrayed a world that was seeing rising interstate conflict, increased terrorism, political systems under strain from the refugee crisis, and of course the growing appeal of populist politicians (on the right and left) in Europe and the U.S, or what what Fordham dubs Vox Populi risk.
What isn't useful, though, is the idiot supposition being promoted by sandbox pundits in the US that a win for Leave somehow portends a win for Donald Trump in November. But this is nonsense for several obvious reasons that can best be summed up as Britain and the US are very different countries.
To which I might like to add, you know... duh.. as well as, see also this.American presidential elections are largely decided by a diverse and upscale electorate, anchored in America’s cities and suburbs. These communities more closely resemble London than Lincolnshire. Minorities made up more than a quarter of the electorate in the last presidential campaign.And while Britain decided to leave the European Union through a popular vote, the White House race will be determined by the Electoral College, which is tilted toward the Democrats. Some large states with significant nonwhite populations have been out of reach for Republican candidates for much of the last three decades; California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania have voted for every Democratic nominee since 1992. Mr. Obama also won Florida twice, and Mrs. Clinton has a lead there now in part because Mr. Trump is unpopular with Hispanics.Together those six states offer 166 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.Mr. Trump is at an even greater disadvantage than other recent Republican presidential nominees because of his dismal standing with nonwhite, college-educated and female voters. Unless he can reverse the deeply negative views such voters have of him, he is unlikely to capture the voter-rich communities around Philadelphia, Denver, Miami and Washington that are crucial to winning the White House.Joe Trippi, a Democratic political strategist who was a consultant for former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, said he expected the Brexit vote to embolden American conservatives. But their excitement, Mr. Trippi said, would be largely “a false read” of the results.“There are some very similar things — a polarized electorate, nativism, nationalism were clearly big factors, and Trump exemplifies them here,” Mr. Trippi said.“But there is a difference in the multiculturalism and diversity of the United States, versus nowhere near the same factors in the U.K.”
One major comparative advantage for Brexit is that none of the prominent assholes on its side were actually on the ballot. People who would never dream of voting for Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson in a national election could vote Brexit. Implicitly voting against Cameron didn’t require voting for someone you hate as much or more. If the question on the ballot in November was “do you want Hillary Clinton to be president?” I would be pretty worried. But it’s not. If Trump is going to win, he’s going to need a plurality of voters to affirmatively vote for him, although he’s a very well-known and widely despised figure heading a nationally unpopular party while barely running a presidential campaign at all.Because everything that happens in the world somehow has to be all about the US, and because everything that happens in US politics has to be all about Trump, then every time anything happens, we are required to say that it must mean something for Trump.
Also it's important for the Hillary faction of the Democratic Party that we build up Trump into a very scary existential threat. In truth, he is an inept buffoon who is in well over his head and losing the general election badly. But in order to properly manufacture a Legend Of Hillary The Dragonslayer, Democrats have to pretend there's an actual dragon out there. There isn't. There's just that one idiot who can't win. And Brexit, whether it eventually happens or not, doesn't change that in the slightest.