Why the US election is basically Brexit all over again


If the US election and all the drama, confusion and outrage that comes with it feels strangely familiar, there's a valid reason for it.

It draws many spooky parallels to what happened on this side of the Atlantic back in June. The EU referendum - you might remember it.

Here's why these elections are basically Brexit 2.0:

Both involve prominent controversial characters

donald trump and nigel farage (Gerald Herbert/AP)
(Gerald Herbert/AP)

First of all it's necessary to point out that Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are actually quite different people. Trump's never touched a drop of alcohol in his life, while Farage has been pictured with a pint in the pub more times than you could probably count.

Also, you just can't picture Farage stepping out with a carefully coiffed 'do and a freshly sprayed tan, can you? (Not necessarily a bad thing).

But then come the similarities - they're loud, indiscreet, not afraid of causing offence, and certainly not fans of political correctness. They pride themselves on being the bastions of the working class, despite coming from wealthy backgrounds.

There's also one other whopping similarity which brings us nicely on to the next point ...

They're both a very clear (and rude) gesture towards the establishment

a cyclist swears at boris johnson (John Stillwell/PA)
(John Stillwell/PA)

Nothing quite says *up yours* to the bureaucrats in Washington (or Brussels) like a businessman turned "non-politician" coming in and, ahem, trumping all over the established and experienced officials.

Regardless of whether Trump wins, he still beat 16 other contenders - including senators and governors - for the Republican nomination. Farage was the one with the last laugh as his winning Leave campaign triumphed in the face of the leaders of all the major UK political parties.

Over in America and here in the UK, the message from the public is clear: the political class has left them disillusioned, disconnected and desperate for change.

There's a huge focus on immigration (or the desired reduction of it)

protesters erect a trump wall (Geoff Crimmins/AP)
(Geoff Crimmins/AP)

For Trump and America, this discussion has been all about Mexicans, who he believes need keeping out at all costs - specifically by building a huge wall along the border.

For Farage and the UK, it's eastern Europeans who some want to turn away at our borders.

Trump's rhetoric is that Mexicans are rapists and drug lords, while Farage's focus is on how the Poles are coming over and stealing our jobs and how the Romanians are moving in next door and making everyone concerned.

Hate crime went up after the EU referendum and it begs the question whether a similar vote in the US would have similar repercussions.

It shows how divided the country really is

boxes for leave and remain votes (Anthony Devlin/PA)
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

When you break down the demographics of the supporters, clear and parallel divisions emerge in both the UK and the US electorate.

Young people overwhelmingly wanted to stay in the EU, while the majority of the over 65s wanted out. More than half of voters with a university degree backed Remain, while a similar number of white voters opted to Leave.

In the US, Trump's biggest support group by a long way is a white, older generation of voters who don't have a college degree.

The response to this on both sides of the Atlantic has been lots of angry name calling - "anyone who votes for x is stupid" - and calls for drastic action, like that the over 65s should have their voting rights taken away.

And all that bickering has only made the divides in both countries even worse.