Until the Brexit, the nation woke up every day to further news of the Orlando shootings. Donald Trump’s rhetoric was picking up again, as he once again emphasized the importance of limiting Muslim immigration to the United States. Of all things, even slurs on President Obama’s ethnicity and religion came back to light through his speeches.
However, the startling British exit (shortened to the stylish ‘Brexit’) has nearly eclipsed the attention to the Orlando shootings. While public opinion may be at least sympathetic to the Trump brand of national security in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, the Brexit problem is economic. As a result, it affects each candidate differently.
First of All, What is the Brexit?
While the United Kingdom (UK) is part of the European Union (EU), it does not use the euro, or the Schengen visa (which lets holders travel around the EU freely). After the Greek debt crisis, the worth of the euro began to drop. Because the UK is part of the European Union, the worth of the British pound also began to drop.
Besides the Greek debt crisis, and the shakiness of Italy, Portugal, and Spain afterwards, the refugee crisis has also caused the EU to question its single labor market. The United Kingdom generally decided that it was too economically risky to be tied to the European Union at the moment, and the citizens voted to leave. Hence, the ‘Brexit.’
Why Does the Brexit Matter?
For each presidential candidate, whether Democratic, Republican, or independent, the Brexit displays or picks out a particular part of each one’s platform. As a litmus test for presidential platforms, the Brexit is possibly one of the best.
The Democratic Party: Hillary Clinton
Until recently, Hillary Clinton limited her discussion of economics to social issues. She promises tax relief for working families to have more disposable income, investments in energy and infrastructure, and an increase in corporate tax compliance. A large part of her national economic plan is in investments.
Because the Brexit has caused great uncertainty in the UK markets, and even more in the EU markets, firms and traders have been transferring currency to the US. This has steadily strengthened the dollar. This means that there is a lot more capital for investments, and interest will be cheap. This is perfect for getting loans for small and medium enterprises in the US.
The Democratic Party: Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders’ economic platform focuses on reducing income inequality and increasing overall wealth, especially for the working people. Sanders points out how the millionaires and billionaires are even growing their wealth, while the working class struggles with making ends meet. He is most famous for planning free college tuition and the break-up of large financial institutions.
This being the case, the Brexit might not have as much of an effect on the United States under this platform. The break-up of large financial institutions might signal less stability to the EU, and cause slow capital inflow. The social programs of Sanders and his emphasis on fairer wages and so forth would also lower the effect of the Brexit.
The Republican Party: Donald Trump
Unsurprisingly, the strongest link between Donald Trump and the Brexit is the right-leaning mentality they both reflect. An undeniable part of the Brexit is the refugee crisis. Even if the UK has a separate visa from the Schengen one, the refugee crisis is pressuring the EU and the euro. To protect itself from the perceived negative economic possibilities, and of course possible negative social effects, the UK left the EU.
If Trump can use both the Orlando shootings and the Brexit to his advantage, he can easily point out the wisdom of this possibly ‘isolationist’ move by the UK. However, as the British pound continues to plummet, Trump might not be able to use it as support for his economic platform. It will probably enter his national security rhetoric instead.
The Libertarian Party: Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson is a presidential candidate with a straightforward economic platform. Johnson is a strong believer in the free market system and has few complaints about free trade and business process outsourcing. This means he is unlikely to be very affected by the changes of the Brexit.
For sure, the Brexit will reduce the economic power of the European Union. Under a free market system, with economic policies encouraging growth, Johnson could lead the US economy to a thriving state. However, he would also have to pay attention to possible investment bubbles as capital pours into the US.
The Brexit: A Litmus Test of Presidential Economic Platforms
Any other issue between now and November can kick one or another of presidential platforms into the spotlight. However, it is rare to get an issue that so clearly shines a light on how the presidential candidates’ economic platforms would work in real-time and in real-life situations. The Brexit is a unique chance to seriously observe and dissect each candidate’s economic platform for the upcoming 2016 elections.