Trump, Brexit, and the media
While it’s apparent that the media played an undeniable role in the rise of and then election of Donald Trump, what does that media coverage look like across the pond and can it help us unravel the mystery of how this could have happened in the first place?
First of all, it’s important to remember that the British media environment is very similar to what you would find in Canada and the U.S. The coverage doesn’t shy away from the outlandish parts of Trump’s campaign or the other offensive comments made by him or members of his prospective cabinet.
From what I’ve seen over the past couple months, there seems to be fewer stories on the social cost of this election, such as how members of different ethnic groups are responding to Trump’s win. Instead the British media is more interested in introducing readers to Trump’s potential appointees, or providing a relatively standard what story on what he’s being told by advisors.
Of course, this kind of historical vote in the U.S. is intrinsically connected to political happenings here in the U.K., with their referendum to leave the European Union back in the summer.
And just like Trump, Brexit seems to be growing in complexity day-by-day.
Even though they voted stay and leave respectively, it was announced recently that the Scottish and Welsh governments will now be having some form of a say in how the exit is implemented.
There are several Brexit-related cases going forward to the Supreme Court, with the Scottish government arguing that leaving the E.U. is unconstitutional and a case from Northern Ireland arguing that the U.K. can’t leave until a majority of Northern Ireland falls in line.
This runs in direct parallel to some of the fallout happening over Trump’s campaign, with many voters not recognizing his win as legitimate. This is especially true once it was revealed that Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, with current polls putting her at two million votes ahead of Trump.
The linking of Brexit and the U.S. election even takes root in the emergence of a seemingly reinvigorated far right politics in other parts of Europe, including Austria and France. One potential French candidate is Marine Le Pen, whose Front National is one of the most right wing parties in Europe and is no doubt feeding off of recent conservative victories in the U.S. and here in the U.K.
Many of these incidents seem eerily similar, and all share overlapping themes like racial tension, nationalism, and the widespread disillusionment with the current state of Western democracy.
In all honesty, the only way you can properly connect these dots is to indulge in as many different news sources as you can—American, Canadian, British, whatever.
Only then will you be able to make sense out of this madness. Maybe.