CLEVELAND, Ohio – Republican nominee Donald Trump’s use of the ‘Believe in America’ in his speech at the Republican convention perhaps heralds an age of new international populist collaboration.
Speaking in front of the crowd at the Republican National Convention (RNC) tonight Mr. Trump hit several regular populist talking points: immigration and the criminality that stems off the back of it, the disinterest of the global establishment in the lives of the everyman and woman, and political stitch ups masquerading as trade deals.
But perhaps more than anything his was a speech that revolved around the importance of national sovereignty and the protection of U.S. interests.
This was nothing short of a ‘Brexit’ spirit, underscored by his uses of the phrase “Believe in America”, directly comparable to the “Believe in Britain” slogan used by Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) at the 2015 General Election and resurrected from the recently victorious Brexit campaign.
Watching closely from a senior Republican politician’s private box at the Quicken Loans Arena was none other than the outgoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
After hearing the speech, he told me: “I have been flabbergasted at the impact Brexit has had on American politics. I saw things that Trump said last night that had a very familiar ring”.
Mr. Trump’s most Brexit-like moment was perhaps when he said: “No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place. Instead, we must choose to Believe In America. History is watching us now. It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong. My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: ‘I’m With Her’. I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ‘I’M WITH YOU – THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.’ I am your voice”.
He also said: “The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo”.
These “familiar” turns of phrase are likely to have been impacted by the Brexit result at the bare minimum, emboldening to Trump and his campaign the idea that the establishment can indeed be taken on and beaten in a head to head match up.
If Austrian nationalist Norbert Hofer wins in October – the same day the Hungarians vote in a referendum on EU migrant quotas – then Mr. Trump will go into November hoping to become the jewel in the crown of the nationalist, populist right across the globe.