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GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump's campaign and former London mayor Boris Johnson's Brexit movement share something in common. Both are examples of a new strain of conservative populism sweeping across the United States and the United Kingdom…
The dual crusades are incredibly similar, and they are driven in large part by economics.
You see, both the United States and the UK possess developed economies. But as Fortune pointed out yesterday, "A glut of global resources has rung the death knell for traditional business cycles in the developed world, creating fertile ground for populists across Europe and the U.S. who are angry about rising inequality and are anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, and anti-elite."
And those three "A"-words – anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, and anti-elite – define both Trump's campaign ideology and Boris Johnson's Brexit philosophy… to a T.
In fact, a "Leave" movement win today is a strong signal predictive of a Trump victory this November…
Here's what we mean…
Why a Brexit Signals a Trump Presidency
First, let's look at the anti-globalization sentiments Johnson and Trump share.
Both the U.S. and UK have seen economic growth return following the 2008 financial crisis, but it's been muted for middle- and low-income workers. People have begun to look for alternative leadership. Donald Trump is that alternative in the United States, and a Brexit is the option in the UK.
A Brexit win signifies just how strong anti-forced globalization sentiment really is. An exit from the bloc would mean the British government could freely push for new global trade deals without the EU looking over its shoulder and interfering to confer with the union parties of its other member countries.
Trump's stance on globalization and trade also promotes economic independence for the United States. Time and again he's called for renegotiations or for all-out breaking the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because of how it hurts the U.S. economy.
You see, back in the early '90s, pro-NAFTA politicians promised the deal would bring good-paying jobs to Americans and a rising trade surplus with Mexico.
But that's not at all what happened. NAFTA wound up costing the United States a net loss of 700,000 jobs, reported Jeff Faux for the Economic Policy Institute on Jan. 1, 2014.
Furthermore, that surplus south of the border actually turned into a chronic deficit.
And economic dislocation in Mexico created one of the biggest crises the U.S. government has on its plate today…
The increased the flow of undocumented workers into the United States.
Which brings us to our next "A"…
In Britain, immigrants from struggling Eastern European states willing to work for low wages have become a major problem. Just like in the United States, these undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from workers. As it stands, the UK can't limit immigration from 27 EU countries because "freedom of movement" is a pillar of the union.
However, a Brexit outside of the EU would allow the UK to instate immigration limitations and reform. More than half of the 333,000 immigrants who arrived in Britain last year were EU citizens, free to be there as a matter of right under European law.
Donald Trump's entire campaign sparked out of immigration reform. He wants to deport 11 million undocumented migrants and build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep border-crossers out and from taking Americans' jobs. Trump has also made it a point to call out American companies for their own anti-American business practices. Practices like outsourcing to low-wage countries in order to save money — something CEOs do regularly.
And speaking of CEOs, here's the third and final "A"-word similarity between Donald Trump and Brexit…
Johnson has promised Brits a better deal if they vote to break free of the EU's regulatory chains. The parliamentary class in Britain and bloc politicians in Brussels are largely distrusted by the common people because they are members of "the establishment" – the status quo who keep their own interests in mind. Johnson warned in May that the EU was the latest manifestation of a 2,000-year project to unify Europe under a single government.
"Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically," Johnson told The Telegraph on May 15. "The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods."
Such a statement sounds similar to Trump's claim that the independence of the United States itself is under threat.
"We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism," Trump said in a major foreign policy speech in Washington on April 27.
Take It from the Guy Who Broke the Bank of England: Billionaire investor George Soros, who successfully broke the Bank of England in 1992 with his currency bets, issued a dire warning about the Brexit. Here's what the Hungarian investor had to say…
- Fortune: What the Rise of Trump and Brexit Have in Common
- Economic Policy Institute: NAFTA, Twenty Years After: A Disaster
- The Telegraph: Boris Johnson: The EU Wants a Superstate, Just as Hitler Did