Globalization Fears Bolster Fringe Campaigns in U.S. and Britain

Jul 7, 2016

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Political analysts around the world are trying to make sense of three ongoing phenomena: the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the adamancy of Bernie Sanders and his supporters, and the Brexit vote in the UK.

There are obviously some key differences between these issues, but writer and Milwaukee native Sandy Tolan thinks there is one major factor at work in nearly all the stories of voter dissatisfaction around the world.  That factor, he says, is globalization. 

"It's often the case that people are not at all helped by globalization," said Tolan. "If anything, they're hurt."

According to Tolan, many of the worlds poor have begun noticing that the rising tide is not raising all ships, and he thinks their dissatisfaction is making them question their faith in traditional institutions and political parties.

Within the United States and the UK, Tolan sees this shift away from the status quo manifesting itself the in current popularity of unconventional candidates like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, as well as the results of the Brexit vote.

"Globalization has basically benefited the wealthy. It is sort of written and advertised as something that's beneficial for all," he says. "But as you're beginning to see, both in the United States and in terms of the people who've been supporting both Trump and Sanders, and what you're seeing in the vote from Brexit, is people aren't just buying that."

Sandy Tolan has written several books and covered world affairs for more than three decades and originally published his essay on the pitfalls of globalization on the website The Daily Beast.