As we noted in this space in March, events will play a key role in the 2016 presidential election and this political season, there is no shortage of events.
Two come immediately to mind.
Since our last post, the citizens of the United Kingdom have shaken the financial and political order of Europe by voting to leave the European Union. The EU began taking shape in the 1950s as an antidote to the extreme nationalism that had devastated the continent in two world wars. As the EU evolved, it came to be seen as a way for European countries to collectively match the economic clout of the United States and Asia.
But another product of its evolution was bureaucratic sclerosis and regulatory overreach. The unelected leaders of the EU – headquartered in Brussels – arrogated to themselves more and more power over the economic and political lives or ordinary citizens.
A sizable number of Brits got a snoot full and began agitating to leave the EU. British Prime Minister David Cameron called a referendum on the matter. He believed that the British people would vote to remain in the EU and that the vote would put the matter to rest and silence the eurosceptics. His strategy backfired.
Cameron, top European leaders and the vast majority of the media are gobsmacked. More than a few are looking for ways to overturn the vote. The ruling elites in Britain and Europe are on their heels.
Yesterday, there was yet another terrorist attack on innocent civilians – this time at the large and very busy international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. At this writing, 41 are said to be dead and 239 are injured. The attack was either organized by ISIS or inspired by ISIS. It comes close on the heels of the ISIS-inspired attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 and injured 50 more.
Unavoidably, everything that happens in a political year gets politicized and the politics of both events would seem to favor Donald Trump.
But for growing disdain by millions of middle class voters for what they perceive to be an out-of-touch elitist ruling class, Donald Trump’s candidacy would never have happened. The parallels between our Northeast Corridor, Ivy league-educated leaders and the wealthy, well-connected leaders in Europe are impossible to ignore. Much of the same sentiment that drove Brexit is propelling the Trump campaign.
The almost weekly atrocities carried out by radical Islamists flies directly in the face of assurances by Barack Obama that, with respect to stopping ISIS, “…we have momentum and we intend to keep that momentum.” If polls are to be believed, Americans believe by an overwhelming majority that the United States is in ever-increasing danger of terrorist attacks.
Having been his Secretary of State for four years, Hillary Clinton is inextricably tied to Obama foreign policy and to the Obama administration’s handling of Islamic terrorism.
For all of this, Hillary Clinton yet maintains a lead in many polls. But events aren’t helping her.
Events are helping Donald Trump.