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Brexit bodes ill for US Presidential Elections June 29, 2016

Uninformed decisions tend to have unpredictable outcomes. Few foresaw the Brexit referendum results which have divided a nation along not only national lines but also demographic lines.

With most Brits ill-informed about the real impact of leaving the EU, most voted according to self-interest rather than national-interest priorities. Higher educated, higher income, younger, unmarried, foreign-born Brits voted to remain in the EU, while older, poorer, married and the less educated voted for perceived changes in leaving the EU.

Sadly the 48- to 52-percent vote split has further divided the nation.  And in line with recent trends, the losers appear less-inclined to accept the democratic process than they would if they were the winners. Scotland is considering a second independence referendum and there are rumblings about Northern Ireland breaking away and joining the Republic of Ireland. Canada and Ireland are seeing a noticeable increase in immigration applications from the UK.  Apparently gone are the days of agreeing to disagree but abiding by the democratic process.

Over the pond, we've witnessed the impact of a divided nation with Republicans and Democrats so far apart that we've seen almost 8 years of broken dysfunctional government and a president resorting to executive action to get anything done. And if the vitriol between the presidential candidates is anything to go by, the chasm appears to be widening. Far too many voters are ill-informed about the issues facing this nation and will most likely vote along party lines or motivated by last night's news sound-bite. 

While both parties howl about the sins, alleged sins and suspected sins of each candidate, it's the overseas media like IrishCentral that belie the value of the democratic process with headlines "Fears of Trump win sees wealthy Americans snapping up Irish property".

Sadly, until we view our vote as a privilege rather than a right, and until we start making informed decisions based on knowledge rather than ignorance, we will probably get the president (and the government) we deserve. And perhaps also some unforeseen and unexpected consequences. 

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