In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, many pundits, politicians and reporters have blamed the vote to leave the EU on xenophobia and racism. These are the same people who are losing public credibility, elections and viewers/page views. For some, there is no way to see the world without a primary filter of racism. Of course immigration was an issue with the Brexit vote. Of course it has to do with foreign cultures pouring in to Europe. But half of the Brits are not racists. There is much more at stake here.
Let’s look at a common theme- No one thought Donald Trump had a chance at the Republican Nomination, no one thought Bernie Sanders would do anywhere near as well as he did, no one thought the first female mayor of Rome would be a populist and all polls predicted that the Brexit vote would keep the UK in the EU. Something is happening and those in the ‘establishment’ circles haven’t sensed that the wind is changing.
What is the shift?
The primary drivers are reactions to decades of elitist groups within the media, elected office, and large corporations and a sense by citizens that their interests are falling well behind. Add in immigration and a threat to a country’s culture and people are going to speak up.
Mass immigration always changes the world. These are the ‘axial’ times of history and we are living through such an ‘axial’ time now. But there has never been a time with so many developed democracies that encounter such change and citizenries that have their own voice apart from the elitist who always look to benefit from such changes. It will be fascinating to see how these democracies react.