Brexit Is Proof We Should Seriously Prepare For A Donald Trump Presidency

by John Haltiwanger

Much of the world woke up shocked on Friday to learn the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The Brexit referendum was held on Thursday, and 52 percent of the UK voted to leave, while 48 percent voted to remain, according to BBC.

This result, which is already having enormous political and economic ramifications, was not expected. David Cameron already resigned as the UK's prime minister, and markets are down.

What's happened here should stand as a strong reminder to Americans they should not assume Donald Trump has no chance of winning the presidential election.

The sentiments surrounding Brexit, and result, are a sign the US should take the real estate mogul a lot more seriously.

There are many parallels between proponents of Brexit and Trump supporters. Both are vehemently nationalistic, anti-immigrant and anti-globalization.

In essence, these two groups are both extremely isolationist and xenophobic. As the world becomes more integrated, these individuals would like to see their countries walled off (Trump literally wants a wall).

Nigel Farage, the head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and very much the face of the pro-Brexit camp, has many tendencies similar to Trump. Their rhetoric is almost identical.

Unsurprisingly, Trump hailed the result of the Brexit referendum.

Like Trump's campaign, there has also been violence surrounding the push for Brexit. Jo Cox, a member of British parliament who was a champion of immigrants and refugees, was recently murdered by a fervent nationalist who, when asked for his name in court, identified himself as "death to traitors, freedom for Britain."

Meanwhile, in the US, it wasn't long ago two men in Boston beat up a homeless man while expressing anti-immigrant sentiments. According to police, the men invoked Trump, and said,

Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.

This has hardly been the only violent incident surrounding Trump's campaign (the New York billionaire was recently targeted as well).

Given his incendiary rhetoric, lack of experience and unpopularity among the US public, it's tempting to believe Trump has no shot whatsoever in the general election. But many also thought he would crash and burn in the primaries, and he dominated.

Brexit is proof that a significant portion of the Western World is rebelling against globalization. Furthermore, it's a sign we shouldn't count on polls as a reliable indicator of how a major political event might go.

Experts consistently argued it would be extremely counterintuitive for Brits to vote to leave the EU, but it just happened. The same could happen in the general election.

No matter how absurd Trump's policy proposals and demeanor are, it would be very unwise to convince yourself he can't win in November.

Americans need to seriously prepare for the possibility of a Trump presidency.

Today was not a good day for common sense, tolerance and solidarity. From now on, it would behoove us to expect the unexpected.