Donald Trump’s win will make Brexit more painful

“BREXIT-plus-plus-plus” was how Donald Trump—who also called himself “Mr Brexit”—termed his pitch to voters during his successful presidential campaign. Sure enough, many Americans will soon be waking up soon to a feeling similar to the one Remainers in Britain experienced on the morning of June 24th: bafflement at the failure of so many polls to predict the result, shock at the electorate’s defiance of expert opinion, concern for liberal values. If Mr Trump relishes the comparisons it is because he identifies with the architects of Britain’s departure from the European Union: like him, privileged demagogues deft at manipulating the public’s worst fears and instincts.

Yet these affinities confer few obvious advantages on Britain. Mr Trump may admire the country’s recent decision, but he will make an unpredictable, unfamiliar partner—especially compared with Hillary Clinton, an instinctive Anglophile. It says something about the immediate future of the “special relationship” so revered in London that the British politicians most experienced in dealing with America’s president-elect are Nigel Farage, a Brexiteering rabble-rouser (who stumped for him and is currently flying to Washington, DC to ingratiate himself further with the incoming administration) and Alex Salmond, a former first minister of Scotland (whom Mr Trump branded “a has-been and totally irrelevant” in a tiff over a Scottish golf resort).

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