The Problem with Donald Trump's "Brexit Strategy"

Trump addresses reporters in Scotland following the EU referendum in June

There was a brief moment of fear that crept into my mind while listening to Michael Moore detail why he believes Donald Trump will be elected our next president. In an appearance on the late night talk show "Real Time with Bill Maher", the renowned documentarian coined Donald Trump's path to victory "The Brexit Strategy", stating that voters in the United States hold the same sentiments that voters in rural England felt during the United Kingdom referendum vote last month. This voter dissatisfaction led to a narrow win for the "leave" side, and according to Moore would also give rise to a Trump victory in November.

I distinctly remember watching the EU referendum results come in just a month ago, holding a selfish concern and silent recognition that the same ideology which had spurred the "leave" campaign to victory that night could easily cause the election of Donald Trump in the United States. Yet while processing Moore's comments I was reminded of the stark differences between our country and the United Kingdom. Here in the United States we have a safeguard against the isolationist policy of demagogues such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. That safeguard is ethnic diversity.

What we have learned from the Brexit vote and the Republican primary is that in environments where diversity is not present, fear and nationalism can tilt the scale of crucial elections and result in horrific consequences. Fortunately for the future of our nation and the stability of the international community, the United States is not one of those environments.

Demographically speaking, the United Kingdom possesses very low levels of ethnic diversity. The racial breakdown of the country looks like that of a state Trump would easily win in the U.S. election. With a startling 86% of the population being white, The United Kingdom finds its diversity levels around that of Wyoming and South Dakota, the eighth and ninth least diverse states respectively.

With mirror-like demographics to those of the United Kingdom, the 90% white composition of the Republican Party clearly demonstrates how Trump would be able to take the Republican nomination using the "Brexit Strategy". The rhetoric of isolationism employed by both the "leave" side and Donald Trump may have found success twice this year, however these ideals have only proven popular amongst the whitest circles of the American electorate, and the identically white voting population of the United Kingdom.

The portrait of the United States is one that appears vastly different from both the United Kingdom and the Republican Party. With a significantly lower 69% of the American electorate being white, and an even higher percentage of nonwhite voters in critical swing states such as Florida and Virginia, diversity will have its first shot at taking down these fear driven principles embodied by the Trump campaign. In American elections, it is important to note that these demographics matter. In every election since 1952, democrats have carried the nonwhite vote by at least 77%, a margin that Clinton is expected to easily match this November. In a race like the EU referendum and the Republican Primary, racial diversity was a non-factor in the overall results. This November, nonwhite voters will be making their way to the polls in higher quantities than ever before, giving Clinton a huge advantage that the "remain" camp simply did not possess.

It is not to say that these increased percentages of nonwhite voters guarantee Clinton will win the presidential election. There are certainly enough white voters to push Trump to victory, and enough time for the nature of the race to change dramatically. However it is important to recognize in comparisons to other international events and elections that we as a nation are compositionally different than the rest of the world. It is easy to become fearful for the fate of our nation while the French National Front makes significant gains, Hungary's nationalist party remains a dominant force, and the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. Yet such fear is premature in the United States, which stands apart from our European allies because of the dramatically different makeup of our voting body.

As we look ahead, we must recognize that the Brexit vote last June is no indication of how the U.S. will vote this November. If Donald Trump's strategy is the same as that which led to the Brexit, then Americans can breathe a sigh of relief. In our country, such strategy simply will not work.