Free Minds & Free Markets

What the New HBO Brexit Film Gets Wrong

Leavers aren’t the sinister, racist, champagne wasters they’re made out to be.

|||Matt Crossick/ZUMA Press/NewscomMatt Crossick/ZUMA Press/NewscomThere's a bizarre moment in Brexit: The Uncivil War, the HBO drama about Britain's 2016 E.U. referendum. Robert Mercer, the Trump-supporting American billionaire, is shown offering his services to Arron Banks, a Leave-supporting British businessman. It's an incongruous scene, and feels as if it has been spliced in from a cheap spy thriller. "Data is power," whispers Mercer from the shadows like some cartoon supervillain.

That meeting never happened. And in any case, much to his annoyance, the puerile Banks was not allowed anywhere near the official Leave campaign. I should know. I was the man who hired Vote Leave's excellent Chief Executive, Matthew Elliot, and thus set up the campaign. A subsequent investigation by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office—which has been doing its damndest to find some wrongdoing on behalf of Leave—found "no evidence" that Mercer's company, Cambridge Analytica, was "involved in any data analytics work with the E.U. Referendum campaigns."

The meeting, in other words, would have been irrelevant even it had happened; but it didn't. Now a certain amount of dramatic license is to be expected in a play, but the fictitious Mercer meeting serves no dramatic purpose whatever. It is a glitch, an odd anomaly that interrupts the narrative. Its sole purpose is to leave the viewer with a vague sense that Brexit and Trump are somehow connected, two sides of the same populist coin.

That notion has become so affixed to the official narrative on both sides of the Atlantic that it is remarkably hard to peel it away. Inevitably, there were some resemblances between the two movements, as there must be necessarily among all anti-status quo campaigns. Both drew on a sense that the political elites had become self-serving and out-of-touch. Both spoke to and for voters who felt that the system wasn't delivering for them. But we should be careful of overdoing the parallel.

For example, there was nothing remotely protectionist about the Brexit campaign. On the contrary, a big part of its argument was that it wanted Britain to break free from the E.U.'s customs union and strike trade deals around the world. Donald Trump ran on the basis that he didn't want free trade with China. Vote Leave, by contrast, campaigned on the basis that it did want free trade with China, and that Britain must leave the E.U. to get it.

If you read the Financial Times or, even more, The New York Times, you might find that surprising. For two-and-a-half years, those newspapers, and other media that share their outlook, have promulgated the view that Brexit is essentially angry, nostalgic, and nativist. The only possible reason to have voted Leave, they believe, is hostility to immigration. Inconveniently, the polls consistently showed that democratic rule was a much bigger motivator for Leave voters than border control, but—as people tend to do—Europhile commentators began with their conclusions. It wasn't that they weighed and then dismissed the economic or democratic arguments for withdrawal; they never registered them.

They assumed Brexit would lead to a more protectionist and isolationist—and therefore more impoverished—Britain. Indeed, the very act of voting Leave would, they thought, bring about a recession as international investors pulled out.

Inconveniently for these commentators—I suppose there is another parallel with Trump here—Britain has boomed since the vote. The U.K. Treasury had forecast that, within two years of a Leave vote, unemployment would rise by an eye-watering 500,000. In fact, when we reached the two-year point, it had fallen by 700,000, and has since fallen by another 100,000. Exports, manufacturing output, the stock exchange, growth and consumer confidence have all risen. Again, New York Times readers could be forgiven for not knowing any of this.

Which brings us to the main flaw in Brexit: The Uncivil War. Its writer, a center-left Remain voter called James Graham, presents Brexit as having stirred up hatred, making people more intolerant. In one scene, a woman in a focus group is accused of being racist. Bursting into tears, she declares that she will vote Leave because she is fed up with "being treated as if I know nothing, as if I have nothing, as if I am nothing." The focus group breaks down in acrimony as (we are invited to believe) Britain itself has done.

But here's the odd thing. Britain remains one of the most—arguably the most—tolerant and open country in the E.U. There are various ways of measuring this. One is the sheer quantity of E.U. nationals who choose to live in the U.K., now numbering over 3 million, many more than before the referendum. Plainly these migrants don't fear that they are coming to a racist or unwelcoming country—or, indeed, to a country with an uncertain economic future. Another measure is the polling data: British voters are likelier than any others in the E.U. to see immigration as a net positive. Interestingly, they have become more positive since the Brexit vote. It turns out that, when people feel that they are in control, populism loses its appeal. Which brings us to a third measure: Britain is now almost the only E.U. state with no demagogic anti-immigrant party in its legislature. The U.K. Independence Party collapsed the moment the referendum result came in. Brexit, you might say, is already working.

It's true, sadly, that there is a new and unpleasant tone in Britain's public discourse. But the unpleasantness is not directed at foreigners or immigrants. Nor was it much in evidence during the referendum campaign itself. It began, rather, after the vote, and has largely been driven by the refusal by some Remainers—a minority, to be sure, but a vocal one—to accept the result. We keep being told that Leavers are stupid, elderly and bigoted, that they were lied to by unscrupulous rabble-rousers, that they were funded by Putin, that they won by cheating.

Some of these tropes—especially the last, the idea that there was chicanery during the campaign—are repeated in this drama. Viewers are encouraged to believe that Vote Leave won, if not exactly by cheating, then at least by an ingenious use of algorithms that bordered on the immoral. But this is nonsense. Sure, Leave might have had better—or better-targeted—online advertisements than the other side, but that is hardly nefarious. No, the reason that Leave won was not that it fought a better campaign, but that Britain had had enough of the E.U.

In 1975, the country voted by 2-to-1 to stay in what was then a common market––an association of nations mainly concerned with trade and economics. By 2016, the E.U. had acquired a president, an elected parliament, legal personality, representation in international institutions, a currency, a passport, a driving license, a national anthem, and a flag. At the same time, it had gone from growth and prosperity (the three decades after the Second World War were known as the Trente Glorieuses in France and the Wirtschaftswunder or "economic miracle" in Germany) to sluggishness and sclerosis. Its share of world GDP fell from 36 to 16 percent. That, rather than clever advertising, is what explains the result.

Of course, that would make for an unsatisfying drama. So we are instead presented with the idea that Vote Leave won by hiring a demented genius—Dominic Cummings, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now Dom is certainly a very clever guy (though the idea that he hears imaginary noises is silly). His best friends will admit that he can be impatient with less clever people. At the end of the day, though, he was not a demon; he was a political strategist who was good at his job.

Watch closely and you'll see that, with the partial exception of Dom, every Leaver is portrayed in a hostile manner. While the Remainers are shown as decent, if naïve, the Leavers are shown as both dumb and wrong. The chief Remain strategist, Craig Oliver (played by Rory Kinnear) is shown holding a conference call while dishing up a meal for his daughters. Leavers, by contrast, are shown spraying champagne around—always a bad-guy signifier in British drama (we'd never have been so arrogant as to stock up on champagne before the result and, in any case, the character doing the spraying, Douglas Carswell, doesn't drink). The only thing that could have marked us out as worse would have been placing cigarettes in our hands.

The actors had our mannerisms and tics beautifully—including mine, which was faintly unsettling to watch. But remember that what you're seeing is a drama. It didn't really happen that way.

By the end, the viewer is left with the impression that the referendum amounted almost to a coup—a coup pulled off by a clique of obsessives with a mad genius in tow and some sort of unspecified link to Trump.

In fact, the referendum represented almost precisely the opposite. Britain's elites were clinging to the 1950s ideal of a united Europe long after it had passed its sell-by date. What carried the day was the warm and optimistic conviction of the non-political classes that decisions should be made closer to home. What country, after all, ever got poorer as a result of becoming more independent? The United States voted Leave in 1776; and, from where I'm standing, things seem to have worked out OK for you.

Photo Credit: Matt Crossick/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I realize it's Saturday, but will Reason be doing updates throughout the day on the bombshell Buzzfeed story that marks the beginning of the end of this illegitimate Russian puppet government? The walls are closing in!


  • perlchpr||

    D effort. Needed to be tied to the article at hand.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Historians in the future will cite January 18, 2019 as the day the Drumpf regime officially began to unravel. This is THE biggest story in the world right now. It deserves to be discussed even if Reason is being lazy on a Saturday and just going with their regularly scheduled programming.

    By the way this is more evidence I was correct when I suggested Reason hire at least one fulltime #TrumpRussia correspondent.

  • perlchpr||

    OK, fine. D+

  • BigT||

    " I suggested Reason hire at least one fulltime #TrumpRussia correspondent."

    Why, we have the invaluable and informed insights that you, yourself, provide - for free!

  • MSimon||

  • MJBinAL||

    Have you noticed that every time one of these BIG STORIES runs the news cycle, it then crashes and burns? The latest run of them was so bad that Mueller broke silence to stamp it down out of concern his silence would be construed as confirmation. So today, we have new accusations to make headlines in all the "right" places, followed by the unraveling of the claims.

    It strikes me just how little effort is being placed on getting backup for, and verifying the claims making all the headlines. After all, it seems to take only a day or two for them to get debunked. Surely they could have debunked them before publishing false accusations.

    It does not seem to have occurred to the press that as they keep publishing accusations that turn out to be either entirely false, wildly skewed, or obviously biased, the audience becomes immune to the accusations.

    Those who find the accusations support what they already thought, believe ...sometimes even after they are proved false. Those who find the accusations do not support what they already thought, reject them out of hand. This is bad because the press has completely surrendered all credibility.

  • Brandybuck||

    The press no longer reports. The press just regurgitates.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||


  • BigT||

    "The walls are closing in!"

    And Nancy Pelosi is obstructing the walls, hence a Russkie operative! Who'd a thunk it!!

  • tgrondo||

    Mueller's Special Counsel has already issued a statement (last night) saying the Buzzfeed story is not accurate....
    (but you already knew that)


  • Nardz||


  • harpac||

    When comments age poorly..

  • perlchpr||

    While the Remainers are shown as decent, if naïve, the Leavers are shown as both dumb and wrong.

    Well, I'm sure they're deplorable...

  • Hank Phillips||

    In Nationalsocialist Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Vichy France, the technical term for Remainers was "collaborator."

  • Rockabilly||

    Breaking news: ==============

    Buzzfeed is reporting Donald Drumpf and a team of heavily armed German terrorists have just taken a group of hostages at the Nakatomi building in Los Angeles!! Is this the end of the Trump presidency???

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||


  • Man from Earth||

    C -
    I sense Plagiarism here.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yippee ki yay!

  • Ray McKigney||


  • loveconstitution1789||

    "They're gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess."

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    That works on so many different levels. Especially as I'm picturing Comey and Mueller flying the chopper.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Perhaps the most ironic thing about modern cosmopolitanism is that the elitists who project themselves as such seem to imagine that the forces that drive their own thinking and the thinking of their opponents are somehow unique and isolated to their own local society.


    It was wrong in 1848. It was wrong in 1929. It was wrong in 1968. It was wrong in 2008. It was wrong in 2016, and it's wrong now.

    In the history of the world, nothing has ever happened in the past because, when it was happening in the past, the past was the present! The fact is that public opinion is mostly shaped by what is happening now, and what is happening now is generally shared by the entire developed world.

    That is why populist revolts against elitism exploded around the same time everywhere from Australia to the U.S., the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Brazil, and the Philippines. Populism is no more unique to the circumstances of the UK than than the same economic forces that drive populism in other countries.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, there isn't anything unique about British, German, American, or Australian elitist "cosmopolitans" either. They're also reacting to economic forces and other natural laws in the present like the rest of us. Isn't it funny how clearly we see this when it comes to economic forces but not the rest? Yes, when the government violates people's property rights, the same bad things happen for the same reasons throughout history and across all cultures. No, economic forces aren't the only thing like that.

    We refer to things like gravity as "natural laws" because they act in a consistent way all over the world and throughout history. Violate them in some way, and the negative consequences are consistent and predictable. When the government consistently violates free speech, there's the same chilling effect--from ancient Rome to the present and from Germany to China. When civilian control of the military breaks down, the same sorts of things always happen. There are so many natural laws like that. Here's another one that should be pointed out: immigration.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When people have no say over who can and can't come into their territory, the consequences are always the same--regardless of whether we like it. We cannot impose our cosmopolitan immigration preferences on other people against their will without suffering the negative consequences of doing so by way of a populist reaction. It's just like how Pinochet couldn't be a vicious dictator against communism without provoking a popular backlash against him--for all the same reasons.

    The only long term effective means to a more cosmopolitan society is to persuade those who oppose us to change their minds. If you can't get with the program and stop being an elitist, then, please, at least stop calling yourself a libertarian so the rest of us can make progress. You're not a libertarian if you can't get with the persuasion program. You're not a libertarian if you want to deprive people of their influence on immigration policy. You're an authoritarian who believes in using the coercive power of the state to force people to accept your preferences against their will, and there isn't anything about your good intentions that makes your disgusting authoritarianism any less disgusting.

  • loveconstitution1789||


  • Aloysious||

    What makes for a successful cosmopolitan society?

    Off the top of my head, peace and prosperity, as well as a predominant live and let live way of life. The essential ingredient in all of that is liberty, I would think.

    Nice points about authoritarianism.

  • ohlookMarketthugs||

    From the guy who wants children to suffer, and believes Obama started the opioid crisis. Bravo!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and less we forget, don't talk about racism! It makes him mad.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Who are you talking about?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    You're an authoritarian who believes in using the coercive power of the state to force people to accept your preferences against their will, and there isn't anything about your good intentions that makes your disgusting authoritarianism any less disgusting.

    So you're in favor of overturning the Citizens United decision? Or the Heller decision?

    Those were both examples of the coercive state imposing its preferences on the people, after all.

    If you support the coercive state actually expanding liberty by declaring null and void laws that restrict liberty, even if that process does not occur with direct public input - such as with SCOTUS decisions - then what difference does it make if it happens with regards to gun rights, free speech rights, or freedom of association rights?

  • Toranth||

    Citizen's United, like Heller, stated that the government could NOT do something, returning it to the previous default state. It did not impose a preference.
    Calling it coercive to not restrict liberty is an incoherent position.

    You seem to be trying to play silly semantic games. Was that your purpose, or does the post actually contain an argument of any substance?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    To clarify:

    He is often inchorent.

    Jeffy does indeed play soft headed semantic games. He also makes dull, sophist arguments.

    Jeffy does not make substantive arguments. He a,so tends to repeat a premise that has already been discredited, even after multiple failures.

    I hope this helps.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Oh look, it's shithead the asshole.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Very perceptive for such a dull little tyke. Sorry, but the truth hurts, doesn't it?

    Wait, wait, That was wrong.

    I'm not sorry.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Both Citizens United and Heller used the coercive means of the state to impose its preferences on the public. There was no vote on those matters. In fact, the elected branches of government were the ones who supported the anti-liberty viewpoint.

    If one is going to oppose authoritarian means to achieve an end, then one should do so consistently.

  • Sevo||

    chemjeff radical individualist|1.19.19 @ 6:45PM|#
    "Both Citizens United and Heller used the coercive means of the state to impose its preferences on the public. There was no vote on those matters. In fact, the elected branches of government were the ones who supported the anti-liberty viewpoint."

    No action was coerced at all.
    As LotS mentions, you're either cluically-challenged or you're hoping those who read your lies will be dumb enough to believe them.
    Regardless, it's just one more notch in the "Jeff is an Idiot" column.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    In the case of Heller, the elected branches of government were coerced by the unelected unaccountable judiciary to repeal their gun control laws, the ones that were agreed to by either the people themselves, or the people's representatives.

    So how is this not an instance of unelected elites foisting their preferences on everybody else?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Jeffy, you have this idiotic habit of taking something that is working exactly as intended and trying to make some kind of nonsense 'gotcha' out of it. Like how do I know Africa is real if I haven't been there myself, or some stupid shit. The sort of thing a college freshman in the first week of a philosophy 101 class might think is somehow clever.

    It isn't clever, it's an annoying waste of time. That's you, that's what you do.

    No one needs to actually waste their time explaining how the Heller case is accurately ruling on constitutional issues, not "an instance of unelected elites foisting their preferences on everybody else".

    Now fuck off Jeffy, you stupid, stupid little piece of shit.

    PS This kind of crap is why no one likes you here.

  • Mock-star||

    "In the case of Heller, the elected branches of government were coerced by the unelected unaccountable judiciary to repeal their gun control laws, the ones that were agreed to by either the people themselves, or the people's representatives.

    So how is this not an instance of unelected elites foisting their preferences on everybody else?"

    Is this opposite day?

  • MJBinAL||


    The purpose of the constitution is to RESTRAIN GOVERNMENT.
    The judiciary is supposed to interpret how the constitution RESTRAINS GOVERNMENT.
    In both of those decisions, the judiciary interpreted the constitution such as to RESTRAIN GOVERNMENT.

    See how this works? It is how it is SUPPOSED to work.

    The "elected branches of government" (as you put it) attempted to utilize powers DENIED to them in the constitution. The SC merely provided formal notice that those elected bodies (GOVERNMENT) had exceeded their authority.

    You may not like that those powers are denied to government. If so, the constitution provides a remedy. Feel free to begin a movement to amend the constitution so that it gives that power to government.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Is this a new version of Jeffy poo.....seems to be getting stupider by the day?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, there were votes on those matters. It was the ratification process that led to the passage of the 1st and 2nd amendments and subsequent accepting of statehood by the territories that entered the Union afterward. That the initial votes were in the 18th century does not matter.

  • Hank Phillips||

    SCOTUS copied the 1972 LP abortion plank into Roe v Wade. There is as clear an example of 4000 spoiler votes +1 electoral vote repealing bad laws as you could ever hope for. The leverage ratio on that (compared to 50% of the total) is a factor of 10,000. Failing to vote libertarian risks missing out on the equivalent of 10,000 law-changing votes.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Not only are these elitist cosmopolitans not unique, they are really the same club. And by self-declaration, many pledge allegiance to this international club far ahead of any nation state.

  • MJBinAL||

    This is indeed the case. These are "internationalists" or perhaps "globalists". They consider themselves to be "citizens of the world", and for the movers and shakes among them, the "leaders of the world".

  • Ray McKigney||

    That's very Tolstoyan of you. (In the War and Peace sense, not the Xtian renunciation sense.)

    I would add that elites can go on only so long telling group X that it's OK for group X to get the short stick from globalist economic policies because the country as a whole is richer, before group X refuses to play.

  • Agammamon||

    That also applies to the people you're holding guns to the head of so you can force them to buy from you.

  • Ray McKigney||

    I assume you're using "you" in the generic sense.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So it was wrong of the British to attack China for purposes of dumping Indian opium there to finance the White Man's Burthen?

  • DajjaI||

    Please, UK, just make a clean break from the EU. Be independent like us. Declare freedom without exceptions. It won't be easy but the alternative is to get assimilated by the EU and end up self-destructing. #ukindependence #proclaimliberty

  • Hank Phillips||

    Austria reversed the Anschluss by simple proclamation not long after Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies. Now that a guilt-ridden Econazi Germany has surrendered to jihadists, Brits could profit from the Austrian example.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    "But remember that what you're seeing is a drama. It didn't really happen that way."

    Nonsense. I watched this on a video screen, therefore it was a documentary.

  • BigT||

    Hannan is brilliant, as usual. KMW, please, more!

    One quibble: "Donald Trump ran on the basis that he didn't want free trade with China."

    Not exactly. He said he wanted a better deal, without specifying the nature of the deal, except to note that China was using unfair practices. Hannan himself appears to be believing the NYT version of the story.

  • MJBinAL||


    And that China was "cheating" on trade is beyond challenge. From currency manipulation, to subsidy for industries considered likely to provide advantage, to intellectual property theft, and more, they have been quite systematic about it.

    You can call this many things, but it is NOT "Free Trade".

    Of course, Trump isn't proposing Free Trade either, he is responding by trying to show China they need to behave because they we can play that game too. If he succeeds, the people of both countries will benefit.

    I am fairly certain however, that China has no intention of engaging in any trade that the government of China can't "win" at, however short sighted we may believe that view to be. But that is not a failing of Trump, but rather of China.

  • BigT||

    "The United States voted Leave in 1776; and, from where I'm standing, things seem to have worked out OK for you."

    True, but we had to kick your asses twice to stay free.

    BTW, if you all want our help kicking Kraut ass again, we will be glad to oblige.

  • Man from Earth||

    As a Brit, I am actually pleased we have a special relationship with America.
    Trump has a lot of support over here and many of us are actually quite envious that America has a leader who puts America first.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    This drama is yet more garbage from smarmy cosmo elitists that flat out lie about what happened and why it happened, all in bad faith and cynicism about why people are rejecting their bloated, tyrannical "we know best" system of government. Fuck. Off.

  • Agammamon||

    Here's something funny about the Remainer side to consider:

    Without the Miller lawsuit and Grieve's intransigence, its very likely that May could have either avoided Brexit altogether or would have been able to push through a 'fake Brexit' (where the UK is still under Brussel's control and the split is in name only) without any opposition because she wouldn't have had to put it in front of Parliament.

    They've basically sank their own boat.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The reason poorly educated, backward people lacking marketable skills call others "elite" is that even the disaffected, can't-keep-up yahoos recognize, deep down, that the modern, accomplished, educated, tolerant, progressive citizens are their betters.

    'You're the elites' sounds better than 'we're the dregs,' but the meanings are quite similar.

  • Agammamon||

    Except your 'elite' are so disorganized that they torpedoed their own project.

  • Tony||

    Which is why following a man whose brand has been "elite" for decades and whose every bathroom fixture is gilded is not incongruous to the anti-elitists, because what they really object to is being educated and having taste.

  • Brian||

    There's never been a better time to start in life-
    It ain't too early and it aint too late!
    Starting as a farmer with a brand new wife-
    Soon be livin' in a brand new state!
    Brand new state - gonna treat you great!
    Gonna bring you barley, carrots and pertaters,
    Pasture for the cattle, spinich and termaters,
    Flowers on the prarie where the June bugs zoom,
    Plen'y of air and plen'y of room,
    Plen'y of room to swing a rope!
    Plen'y of heart and plen'y of hope.
    OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain,
    And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet, When the wind comes right behind the rain.
    OOOOk-lahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I, Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin' lazy circles in the sky.

  • Tony||

    Thank you for reminding us all of the greatest state song in the country. Rodgers and Hammerstein, what a treat!

  • Brian||

    So, exactly how many years of grad school does it take to enjoy the flavor of Tulsa cock?

  • Tony||

    Doesn't really take any schooling at all.

  • Brian||

    Clearly, the choice of the privileged elite.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony, you WISH you could be elite and exclude as many people as possible. That's how shotbags on your side role. You see yourselves as bing educated and tasteful, when most often you are really dull witted, hipsters without the slightest bit of real elegance or taste.

    Since you have none of those things, you invent elitist hipster bullshit as a delusional means of justifying your exclusionary, snobbish, bigoted attitudes.

    I'm reality you are ants among gods.

  • Tony||

    I am no hipster. You know what pisses me off? The fact that the economy doesn't permit me to have enough servants to serve a proper dinner. But you roll with it, because times change. I'm still not entirely on board with black tie at dinner, if you must know.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yes, and if we just let all those illegals in here, you could enslave them at affordable prices to have your dinner, right?

  • MJBinAL||

    You might consider something.

    Do people really follow Trump because of any of that, OR, do they follow Trump because he said things they agreed with, and has attempted to do the things he said?

    In short, how much is Trump leading the herd, vs, how much is Trump going where to herd was going? I believe people who support Trump, are more tolerant of Trump's shortfalls (oh my god) BECAUSE they perceive that he is truly trying to do what they wanted done.


    Democrats and Republicans have both campaigned on "closing the border to illegals" and made no attempt to do so. For at least 25 years it has been the case that people voted for candidates on those unfulfilled promises.

    Republicans have campaigned on "reducing unnecessary regulations" since Nixon. Trump actually has.

    So, even though you disagree with his policies, you must consider that Trump supporters are not blind to his faults, they have decided that he, unlike decades of others, is doing what they wanted done. They have decided that what he is doing makes it worth putting up with his flaws.

  • Man from Earth||

    Trump did not have to run for president. He could have lived in absolute luxury and comfort for the rest of his life without all of the hatred he and negative media scrutiny his is now living under. In terms of motive, he certainly did not need money, power or fame and publicity.
    You therefore have to wonder what his real motive was.

    I see nothing to dispute the motive he has given time and time again.

    He loves his country and knew better than most how close America was to collapse at the hands of an elite cabal of bankers and industrialists who had virtually destroyed the country.

    I truly believe that had Clinton won, she would have been the last American president. She, and the elites would have found a way to disband elections and the takeover of America would have been complete.

    I don't think most Americans realise just how close they came to this moment.

    The fact that almost the entire media in America are in the pocket of these people is beyond dispute. Over the last 2 years it has also become obvious that all alternative voices on social media are being closed down.

    Trump may have too much on his plate before 2020, but after then, he really needs to concentrate on social media and their suppression of all speech which gives any opposing views to the left. It has become obvious that companies like Twitter and You tube are very selective on how they apply their own rules.

  • Sevo||

    "'You're the elites' sounds better than 'we're the dregs,' but the meanings are quite similar."

    You're the insufferable, imbecilic assholes is far more accurate

  • Tony||

    But how brave of Benedict Cumberbatch to alter his stunning good looks* for the sake of his craft.

    *Women, WTF?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I figured that's just what Bendydick Cucumberpatch looks like without a full makeup department.

  • MSimon||

    "Donald Trump ran on the basis that he didn't want free trade with China."

    Who writes this stuff?

    Equal (and low) tariffs is not free trade?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yes it is. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont--the Congressman who wrote the Second Tariff of Abominations that made the Civil War inevitable--spelled this out in a published speech as a Senator in 1893 denouncing ( the communist income tax (click on the date 1893 for the speech image). Morrill was a foaming, snarling defender of protective tariffs who airly dismissed the Dems' revenue-only tariff as "free trade". Surprisingly, the guy was also opposed to the income tax.

  • MJBinAL||

    Well of course, this country was at it's most rapid growth and improvement in prosperity when we had high tariffs and no income tax. "Free Trade" was WITHIN the country and the purpose of the Constitution's Commerce Clause.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So when did political data analysis become illegal? Is math still legal in England? How many fingers, Winston?

  • JFree||

    Viewers are encouraged to believe that Vote Leave won, if not exactly by cheating, then at least by an ingenious use of algorithms that bordered on the immoral. But this is nonsense. Sure, Leave might have had better—or better-targeted—online advertisements than the other side, but that is hardly nefarious.

    Not sure I'd say it isn't nefarious - but yeah it isn't UNIQUELY nefarious in some partisan way. IDK how much modern mass marketing technologies are applied in British elections but they are ALL nefarious.

    PR and advertising and propaganda go way back but the modern technique use our knowledge of the human brain to bypass the rational and frontal lobes altogether in order to manipulate our lizard brains. Those are, sadly, a far more reliable way of manipulating humans because it turns out that we are in fact a LOT more like herd animals driven by instinct/emotion - and a lot less rational/logical - than we want to believe we are. And the data now available for marketing can very effectively segment us into psychographic pigeonholes that can be even more effectively and cheaply targeted.

  • Brandybuck||

    It's all about the narrative. Tell me the narrative and I will tell you how the media will spin any event before it happens.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The EU might be a grand idea in theory, but how it is governed, is not. From what I understand, the rules are promulgated in proverbially would be smoke filled rooms and the supposed parliament has no effective decision making authority except to rubber stamp the executive committee's decisions. Given the unique jealously of the "rights of Englishmen" that is the UK's political legacy, it no surprise that their public would be the first to balk at the EU's top down political style.

  • ||

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