Time to get away. After the exhausting US General Election, somehow I ended up in Bucharest, Romania. Actually, not really “somehow” as I already had this trip planned, but it is a good time to get away for a week or so. It is my intention to ask the locals their views on two recent events. Brexit and Trumps win, although I already think I know what they will say. With regards to Brexit which does affect Romanians directly as many of them have already gone to the UK to work, I am sure the overall theme will be one of concern and freedom of movement, As for Trumps win, I expect, well I suppose it will be the same response actually. Along with “What the hell have you done?”
I would like to remind the casual reader of my columns that as a dual national, I get to vote in both the UK and the US. And I did vote for Brexit, although I could not bring myself to vote for Trump. This despite the fact that within the last few years, I have talked to Republican friends of mine about the type of voter who seems to have gone all in for Trump. And that is, why would a working class person, or should we say, lower income, or whatever, vote for the GOP? In fact the GOP is far worse for the average worker than the Democrats. They are definitely pro Wall Street. Pro big banks. Pro less regulation that actually helps the little guy. Anti Obamacare which has covered millions, many low income, but have yet to explain what they would replace it with. And of course the GOP is pro-free trade, The Dems are culpable in some of these also, but the list is a lot shorter. In summary then, I could never understand why anyone who has seen his factory job move overseas, would vote GOP. Especially after the last Bush administration when millions lost jobs, and their homes.
But here is the massive irony of course. Trump is not really a Republican in the “conservative” sense. Or in any sense for that matter. He doesn’t seem to care about social issues, He has not spoken word one about the deficit. He wants to invest in infrastructure which the GOP has steadfastly refused to do. Of course he intends to cut taxes, with most of the gains going to the top earners. And this will increase the deficit. But GOPers don’t seem to care. (More of the hypocrisy next time), So not sure how that helps the working man. Same for repealing Obamacare, but at least he has said he wants to keep a few of the key elements; you cannot be refused for pre-existing conditions, and your kids can stay on your insurance until they’re twenty six.
I have said it before, any Democrat or Republican (a real one, not Trump) who had campaigned on a mix of these issues, would have won in a landslide. Invest in infrastructure. Free, but fair trade. Jobs for Americans. Sensible immigration policies (remember the GOP does not have an immigration policy). Reform Obamacare but keep the best bits. Present that in a sensible package and you have a winner. The problem is we do not have a sensible person on his way to the White House.
So why did I vote for Brexit and not Trump? After all they have a lot in common, In particular it will take years to understand what the votes mean. But I voted for Brexit as I was ready to kick Brussels bureaucrats in the teeth, and I knew Britain will do just fine. Plus I had faith in the system, That we would have a qualified Prime Minister. I could not vote for Trump, even though some (not all) of his positions are ones I agree with, because I believe he is solely unqualified by his temperament. I hope I am wrong.