Hours after Britons voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was coincidentally — or conveniently — in Scotland to talk about the Brexit. Donning a white "Make America Great Again" ballcap at a press conference at his Ayrshire golf course, the presumptive Republican nominee told reporters he not only approved of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union but also saw parallels in it to his presidential campaign.
“A lot has to do with immigration; a lot has to do with the fact that they want to be independent,” Trump said Friday. “They are tired of seeing stupid decisions, just like in the U.S. ... People want to take their country back.”
The candidate said he hoped voters in his own country were watching the U.K. "Come November, the American people will have the chance to redeclare their independence," he said. From what, he didn't specify.
Trump may be right: The Brexit vote and his White House bid are more similar than they may initially seem and the results of the EU referendum could bode well for Trump's chances in the general election against Hillary Clinton this fall. Here are five parallels between Trump and the Brexit:
1. The polls were close and the predictions were off.
For months, pundits discussed the Brexit vote as if leaving were a political impossibility. The U.K. had been in the EU for more than 40 years — surely Britons wouldn't choose to buck the status quo. Even as late as Thursday night, news outlets and surveys were projecting a victory for the "remain" camp by about 4 percentage points.
This should sound familiar to Americans. Last June, when Trump launched his campaign, reporters and voters scrambled to discount him. "Trump won't win, but yes, he matters," declared CNBC. "President Trump? Not Just a Joke, a Bad Joke," said a U.S. News and World Report headline. "Donald Trump is surging in the polls. Here's why he won't win," Vox insisted in one of its famous explainers.
Fast-forward a year, and the billionaire has all but wrapped up the Republican party's nomination for president. As of Friday morning, RealClearPolitics posted that the average poll showed Trump had about 39 percent of the vote in a November general election. His rival, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, had 45 percent.
2. They're fueled by a particular type of voter.
The people who supported the Brexit are similar to the voters who back Trump: white, old and not affluent, Reuters reported.
When Trump won the Nevada caucuses, he infamously celebrated by declaring, "I love the poorly educated." About 57 percent of people with a high school diploma or less education supported him, according to Yahoo. We can compare this to Brexit too: The more education a voter had, the more likely they were to support staying in the EU, according to the Telegraph.
Immigrants largely wanted to remain in the EU, which promotes open borders. Trump. meanwhile, has repeated his promise to "build a beautiful wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border and has alienated Latino voters by suggesting Mexicans coming into the U.S. were rapists and criminals.
But one of the starkest comparisons comes with voters' age. The Mirror reported that 72 percent of 18- to-24-year-olds wanted to stay in the EU. Young Americans don't love Trump, either: A Harvard survey from April found that only 25 percent of voters under 30 said they would choose Trump if he went up against Clinton in November. Nearly three-quarters of millennials said they had an unfavorable opinion of the real estate mogul.
3. The majority feels like the establishment is out of touch.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who revealed his plans to resign after the referendum results came out early Friday morning, had promised voters in the last general election that he'd hold a Brexit vote if the Tories had a majority, the Wall Street Journal reported. He was also a key figure in the "remain" movement. Nearly 1,300 business leaders supported the "remain" campaign, as well, suggesting in a letter that the U.K.'s exit from the EU could hurt trade and jobs, according to the Guardian.
The general public apparently disagreed, suggesting that the EU restricted their freedoms.
"The rules flowing out of Brussels are in no way the source of all of Britain’s economic and social challenges, but when diktats come down about everything from the proper curvature of bananas to age requirements for the usage of balloons, you can understand why some Brits might be tempted to have their own version of a Boston Tea Party," the National Review wrote.
This, of course, mirrors political sentiment in the U.S., the Washington Post reported. Outsider candidates like Trump and Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders have capitalized on voters' anger at a suspected "rigged" system run by corrupt career politicians.
4. Concerns were largely fueled by the state of the economy.
The 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the burst of the American housing bubble not only kickstarted the Great Recession in the U.S. but also sent waves throughout Europe. It caused a recession in Britain that didn't end until 2014.
In the U.K., the unemployment rate is now falling, hitting about 5.1 percent in April, according to tradingeconomics.com. The American unemployment situation has also improved, decreasing from 10 percent in October 2009 to 4.7 percent this past May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But voters are still recovering, and many don't believe the statistics accurately reflect the national economic state. In the U.S., for example, the unemployment rate may be down, but so is participation in the labor force. Only about 63 percent of people are working, in part because some Americans have simply stopped looking for jobs, CNN reported earlier this year.
In the U.K., wage growth has been slow to pick up, according to Reuters.
Both countries are worried new recessions might be on the horizon.
5. Boris Johnson has his own #TrumpTrain.
Former London Mayor Johnson led the "leave" charge during the Brexit campaign, and now he's emerging as a favorite to replace Cameron when he steps down as prime minister. The flamboyant Johnson once said the probability of him becoming the leader of Britain was "about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars or my being reincarnated as an olive," Time reported, but he's proven to be an extremely popular politician.
Sounds a lot like Trump, who got more GOP primary votes than any other Republican presidential candidate in history.
Oh, and they've both landed in hot water for making controversial comments about U.S. President Barack Obama. Trump has suggested Obama is a Muslim who was not born in the U.S., while Johnson once said the president likely had an "ancestral dislike" for the U.K. because he's "part Kenyan," according to Al Jazeera.