Just as the UK’s former Remain camp was getting used to the transformation of Project Fear into Project Sigh Exaggeratedly But Put Up With It, a new version has emerged across the pond. Yes: Project Fear, Donald Trump Edition, ground into gear this week as the Democratic National Convention got into full swing – – and it stepped up a gear this week as the Democratic National Convention got into full swing.
Experts have warned of everything from turbulence in markets to the undermining of global growth if the Republican nominee triumphs in November’s US Presidential election. And yesterday Dutch investment bank ABN Amro waded into the scaremongering, warning the price of gold to rocket $500, to $1,850 per ounce, as panicked investors flee to their safe haven of choice.
Is there a glitch in the Matrix? All of this sounds eerily familiar. As with Brexit, experts have suggested there is “no chance” of a Trump victory. As with Brexit, the media is doing everything in its power to ridicule Trump. And as with Brexit, the polls are edging ever closer.
While there are, of course, many differences between the two campaigns – not least that Trump is a magnetic personality, whereas the Brexit campaign was more of a clash of ideologies – there is one powerful similarity: namely, the sense of empowerment.
Many of those chanting their enthusiastic support for Trump at last week’s GOP convention were those left behind as jobs became increasingly urbanised and industrial production moved from the US to cheaper economies. Trump’s tagline, “Make America Great Again”, offers the tantalising promise of a return to the good old days, and with it, the chance to re-empower themselves. Why listen to the economists and experts, whose lofty projections have failed to help them so far?
Thus, while economists may have been sent into a frenzied panic when Trump declared on Monday that the World Trade Organisation “is a disaster”, adding that “we’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out”, Trump voters heard a radical solution to their perceived problems.
If there is one thing the Remain camp should learn from the Brexit victory, it's that dismissing the concerns of your opponents only strengthens their resolve. Hillary Clinton, who once boasted of the number of coal miners her environmental policies would put out of work, will have a tough time diluting Trump's growing support base.