There are fewer than 30 days to go before the US presidential election. It is a campaign which mirrors many of the arguments and conflicts that we have seen recently in British politics, especially during the recent referendum campaign. Essentially, this election is about continuity versus change, with huge doses of personal vitriol thrown in.
When I arrived at the Republican Party convention in Cleveland, Ohio, back in July, I was amazed at the reaction to me over the Brexit result. Normally we follow trends in America, not the other way round, but it was clear that many of the delegates saw Brexit as an aspiration for what they see as the Trump “revolution” against the Establishment. I met many others who were not delegates or political anoraks, who were also keen to talk about Brexit. A group of retired US Navy veterans told me we should have done it years ago. Others were less impressed and shouted at me in the streets. Indeed, this weekend while I was in St Louis, I received some proper abuse on the Washington University campus.
One thing is for certain: our referendum is being talked about the world over and it may well be the first kick-back against the status quo that leads to a popular revolt across the West. While Trump and Clinton may be the most unpopular presidential candidates ever, there has been a growing distrust of the political class. Just as in the UK, where cash for questions and the MPs’ expenses scandals lead to a chorus of uproar, the elites in Washington are seen as remote and detached.
Many TV campaign adverts pointed to the fact that various incumbents defending their seats on Capitol Hill are in it for themselves, their families and for the money. In America today there is a strong element of the hereditary principle, with Bushes and Clintons setting down their own dynasties. But one of the reasons that Ukip went from being an insignificant political party to winning the 2014 European elections is that we spoke about issues in a language that resonated with ordinary people.