Social media is full of Americans sighing that “fear won” in the Brexit vote. “They voted against their best interests.”
It’s true, but a vote is a vote. The same can be said of Trump voters (and to an extent Sanders voters). Fear about trade deals and immigration doesn’t disqualify you from a vote.
The British reaction from Remain folks (noticeably absent of claims of it being “rigged”) along the lines of “old people shouldn’t vote” betrays the totalitarianism lying beneath people who think they are “right.”
The problem with Brexit isn’t that it will destroy the world order the way an article in Vox claims; rather, that it’s likely a fraud, at least partially. To the extent it was driven by resentment of Intra-European immigration, the most likely outcome is that the UK, as part of the EFTA or EEZ will still have intra-European free movement of peoples. Of course not everyone voted on that issue alone, but maybe 3.8% did.
In other words, I’m skeptical much will change for a UK already not in the Eurozone or part of the Schengen agreement.
However, I must say I think that the EU is a failed institution and its imposition of austerity post 2008-crisis is what drove this at its core—along with the refugee crisis.
Anyway, the lesson is, you can be “right” but still lose elections. You could be “right” about refugees and the people who are “wrong” will still vote. Too much immigration is always going to spawn nativist resentment. Americans retain their complaint about Latinos, but Latinos have always been here and already have established communities that aren’t shocking the conscience the way Muslim immigrants are. Granting, of course, that most Muslims are closer to “model minorities” than it appears, fears are irrational and as long as they are there they will create votes.
Going forward, Hillary must be very careful to understand the difference between being “right” and winning or else UK out will pale in comparison to Trump in.