Trump ran on the same things that Brexit was about: It was about globalization and it was about immigration.
Before the GFC, globalization was widely viewed as a good thing:
The bull market of the last 30 plus years was built on globalization. People and products moved around the world in search of efficiency and lower costs.
Until the financial crisis we only saw isolated instances of unhappiness with globalization…. Even though globalization shipped many unskilled jobs to lower-cost countries, its march continued. Everyone assumed the governments and organizations promoting globalization were fair. It was perceived to be good for the greater whole.
During previous recessions no one got a special treatment. For instance, consider the recession of 2001. People lost their jobs and opportunities failed. It created unhappiness. But when surveying the situation, everyone saw Enron executives go to jail, Arthur Andersen get liquidated as punishment and many of the dotcom billionaires lose everything. In other words: The recession of 2001, like all recessions that came before it, was equally unfair to all.
The unfairness of the GFC response triggered populism:
Since the beginning of time there has always been a populist undertone to our politics: the rich against the poor, the elites against the non-elites. There has always been a distrust of government. There’s always been an undertone of skepticism.
But we needed a trigger to push us back into a populist mode. I believe that this trigger was the bailouts of 2008: We gave the banks billions of dollars of money to bail them out and the public was stuck with seven million unemployed people and countless home foreclosures and all the pain and misery that came from that. Let me be clear: The bailouts were necessary. The financial system was teetering on the edge. But from a regular person’s standpoint it looked like rich bankers got to remain rich and they got punished. And that is the impression around the world.
The GFC led to to the Tea Party which led to Trump:
We have to realize that there is a lot of distrust in the system. That gave rise to populist movements around the world. In the United States it was the Tea Party movement on the right and Occupy Wall Street on the left. That [led to] Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
The thing that was really telling about this election was that only two newspapers in the United States out of hundreds endorsed Trump. He was fought against by the Republican Party and the Democrat Party and the news media was very biased against him. Yet, he won the election and the reason he won is that people looked through it. The elite opinion does not count anymore. And because of that the pollsters had their models wrong. They had their models wrong with Brexit, they had their models wrong with this election and they had their models wrong with other elections as well.