After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, many Americans came to a troubling realization: A campaign driven largely by racism and xenophobia really can win an election — and that means Donald Trump really could become president.
"The Brexit vote was driven by angry, less educated, older white voters who feel screwed by globalization and the establishment, and have been fed a chip butty of xenophobia slathered in slogan sauce," Full Frontal host Samantha Bee said on Monday.
But Bee noted the parallels aren’t as strong as one may think. "America is not Britain," she said. "Being not Britain is pretty much central to the whole America brand."
Bee pointed out that the UK, unlike the US, hasn’t dealt with large-scale immigration for most of its existence. Perhaps as a result, the UK is also far less diverse: About 87 percent of the UK population is white, while about 64 percent of the US is. This has driven a far broader xenophobic sentiment in the UK — and in the rest of Europe, as the continent deals with a refugee crisis — than one may expect in America.
"Trump’s brand of right-wing, racist, anti-immigrant demagoguery isn’t American," Bee said. "It’s a European import. And if we’re smart, we’ll stop it at the border and send it back where it came from."
Still, she acknowledged the possibility that the US could fall for the same trap as many UK voters did with Brexit and elect Trump — and that would send the wrong message.
"That is really the worst outcome of Brexit: not the breakup of the EU, or the fact that you can now use the British pound as loo paper; it’s that the vote made these hateful morons think that over half the country agreed with them," Bee said. "This is why it’s not enough for Trump to lose. It has to be a fucking landslide."