In the link below, Tony Blair analyzes, clearly and succinctly, the Brexit fallout. What an indulgent, tragic, and self-inflicted wound the majority in Great Britain has inflicted on its country–and the world. Will this function as an object lesson for November with Trump? Or will it be yet another reason a majority will vote for him? (“For shits and giggles, let’s blow up our country too! Hand it over to a temperamental fascist–you know, just to see what happens. See whether it’s really so bad, after all.”) I’m thinking of Samson bringing the temple down on his own head. This is the politics of reckless abandon, where experience, reason, scientific and economic expertise, trade, and otherness are disdained, not just by the far right, but by the left (“Long live death!” was the nihilistic clarion call in fascist Spain in the 1930s).
(By the way, disdain without distinction for the rich is as bigoted as disdain without distinction for immigrants. It is the politics of segregation that divides the fates of Americans. We are all in the same boat. As are the people of the world, generally. We swim together, or sink together.)
So I pray, in their self-indulgent, simplistic, and casual hatreds–for Hillary, the rich, etc.–that Bernie’s voters don’t combine with Trump’s to bring down a similar nightmare on the head of our own country in November. This is a very dangerous moment for all of us; a moment when trust, multiculturalism, and global trade integration may start to unravel, replaced with new and revived forms of segregation, suspicion, xenophobia, protectionist and fanatic nationalism, religious fundamentalism, and economic contraction. Of these is concocted the witches’ brews of future wars.
We can stall this momentum, perhaps even reverse it–or feed it–by the way we vote in November.
And Bernie needs to learn from this as well. He needs to be a full-throated opponent of Trump in autumn. If he truly doesn’t want Trump, the lesson of the Brexit is that he better not send mixed signals to his followers on the left. Far-right populism needs left defectors–and the left disaffected, who vote third party or stay at home on election day–to win a majority. So he needs to say, in no uncertain terms, something to the effect of the following: “I’m voting for Hillary. Full stop. I’m voting for Hillary. And I’m eager to do so. I want you to vote for Hillary. You’re no follower of my movement if you vote for Trump.”