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Guardian: Trump and Brexit—Anger, Fear, Charisma

This article first appeared in the Guardian:

Britain voted on Thursday to leave the European Union, after a campaign characterized by fear of immigration, anger over a perceived undemocratic bureaucracy and trust in a charismatic political outsider.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. You can’t fail to notice the parallels between Donald Trump’s Latino-and-Muslim-free vision of America and the desire of Nigel Farage, driver if not leader of the “Leave” campaign, to cleanse the UK of Poles, refugees and anyone else who can’t trace their British roots back to the bronze age.

The Brexit vote also revealed that the UK, like the US, is deeply divided. Sections of the voting population have drastically different opinions on the current state of their country and what its future should look like.

Trump v Farage

Jowls and loud-mouthed xenophobia aside, in appearance and lifestyle the two men do not have much in common.

Donald Trump is a fake-tanned, image-obsessed New Yorker who doesn’t drink or smoke and has never had a cup of coffee. Nigel Farage is a pasty skinned, British-toothed cigarette smoker who grew up in the rolling countryside of southern England and has built a political career around drinking beer.

In terms of background, however, the two have plenty in common. Blue collar they are not. Trump inherited his father’s wildly successful housing business. Farage attended a fee-paying school – only 7% of Britons do so – before earning millions as a stockbroker.

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