Both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very, wrong answers to legitimate questions
By Vincent Bevins, Journalist for the Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2016
No one asked me, but here are my thoughts on the tragedy of the Brexit vote –
Both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very, wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for thirty years.
Questions such as – Who are the losers of globalization, and how can we spread the benefits to them and ease the transition? Is it fair that the rich can capture almost all the gains of open borders and trade, or should the process be more equitable? Can we really sustainably create a media structure that only hires kids from top universities (and, moreover, those prick graduates that can basically afford to work for free for the first 5-10 years) who are totally ignorant of regular people, if not outright disdainful of them? Do we actually have democracy, or do banks just decide? Immigration is good for the vast majority, but for the very small minority who see pressure on their wages, should we help them, or do they just get ignored?
Since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt. It seems in both cases (Trumpism and Brexit), many voters are motivated not so much by whether they think the projects will actually work, but more by their desire to say FUCK YOU to people like me (and probably you).
The leaders of these movements (Trumpstick, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage) have acted cynically for their own benefit. They’ve been willing to stir division and nationalism. And some of their supporters are real racists. The only solution for that small minority is to be crushed and thrown into the dustbin of history. But I refuse to believe this is the case for the larger group of supporters, that is, half of the UK or almost half of the US. They have some legitimate concerns, and the only outlet to vent they were offered was a terrible one.
If we want to move forward productively from these historical shocks (and please, let’s try to do that), rich world urban dickheads (like me) need to recognize that they are not the only people on the planet with views worth listening to.