Early Thursday morning, Republican nominee Donald Trump justified campaign optimism despite his consistent polling deficit by referring to the surprising victory of #Brexit this summer.
“They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!” Trump tweeted, following up on his comment Wednesday night to Fox News: “I think I will be called Mr. Brexit.”
They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016
Trump’s comments followed a very embarrassing moment Wednesday when CNN’s Brianna Keilar interviewed the famously pugnacious Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. When Keilar suggested “you guys are down,” Cohen shot back, “Says who?” Keilar shot back, “The polls. All of them.”
The CNN fill-in anchor was entirely correct. The RealClearPolitics polling average gives Hillary Clinton a 5.8 percent lead over Trump in a two-way race, and a six-point lead in a four-way race (including Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein). FiveThirtyEight’s polls-only forecast gives Clinton an 88.5 percent chance of winning, and the polls-plus forecast gives her a 78.4 percent chance.
Nevertheless, the Brexit comparison might be particularly apt. Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney declared, “I think Donald Trump is right to call himself Mr. Brexit.” Varney explained the parallels between the November election and Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union:
There are distinct parallels between the election here in November and the Brexit vote in Britain in June. … Brexit was the vote do we stay in Europe or do we leave? Now, everybody in the establishment in Britain said, ‘oh, we’ve got to stay.’ Government, business, academics, media — universally, the establishment said, ‘we gotta stay.’ They voted to leave. … And the polls were wrong. Right up to the last minute, they were saying they would stay, the polls were wrong.
Now, Donald Trump is drawing a parallel to the election here, and rightly so, because some of the issues are the same: immigration, control your own destiny — that was the issue in Brexit, that’s to some degree the issue in America. The polls are suggesting that Trump loses in a landslide. Well, let’s see what happens in November. But the main point is that the establishment in America, universally, opposes Donald Trump, just the way they universally opposed leaving Britain.
The parallel does break down in a few key ways, however. Brexit was an entirely new phenomenon, and turnout ended up astronomically higher than expected. The November election — regardless of Trump’s uniqueness — is yet another presidential election, and pollsters know what to expect. Poll skeptics in 2012 were proven wrong by the defeat of Mitt Romney, and poll skeptics during the Republican primary (of which I most certainly was one) also expected Trump to lose, and he did not.
This does not mean polls are perfect, and elections are impossible to predict, but there is good reason for skepticism when it comes to Brexit-November comparisons. Then again, this is 2016, and anything could happen.
Catch the video of Stuart Varney, and the Twitter reaction to “Mr. Brexit,” on the next page!
Here’s Stuart Varney on “Mr. Brexit.”
But not everyone thinks the comparison is flattering to Trump.
Trump wants to be called Mr. Brexit because Mr. Racist Sexist Alleged Rapist Pig would be too on the nose.
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) August 18, 2016
Actually, Mr. Brexit was the scientist. You’re thinking of Brexit’s monster. — not all men’s sky (@kamilumin) August 18, 2016
Congrats on the UK recession, Mr. Brexit!! https://t.co/BTE4BJYwDH
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) August 18, 2016
And, of course, one man deserves the title way more than Trump.
Then again, Trump supporters loved it.
This election is not about left vs right, its about taking back control, its about putting America first! Mr Brexit pic.twitter.com/685ddLSaUb
— John P. Acquaviva (@IAm2skilled) August 18, 2016
And this is just funny.