Brexit Showed Why Trump Could Win

27/07/2016 13:02 | Updated 27 July 2016

I've read thousands of words about why Donald Trump won't be President. Surely, he can't. Really, he mustn't. Honestly, he shouldn't. But the intellect of these highly paid and pleading columnists is nowhere near as revealing as the extraordinary conversation I heard the other day in one of New York's most exclusive areas.

After ten minutes listening to them argue over breakfast, I became convinced that, if luck is on his side and he doesn't do anything too stupid (no guarantee), Donald Trump will win. I hope he doesn't but I think he might.

I've been criss-crossing America and in every city I've asked my hosts about his chances. Nobody in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York said they'd vote for him but none was confident he'd lose.

Anyway, on a day off I decided to live as New Yorkers do. I ran around the Central Park lake a couple of times and then sought out a fabled deli on the Upper West Side for wonderful bagels and terrible coffee.
I heard a bickering couple settle in behind me. Imagine Woody Allen and Diane Keaton circa Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993). Honestly, being in New York is like being in a film. Anyway, the conversation went like this:

Woody: 'I don't care what you say, he's dangerous. He's a moron. It's a joke. The sooner we get to November the better.'

Diane: 'Well, I don't know.'

Woody: 'What? 'What da ya mean you don't know?'

Diane: 'They say things about him but I don't know.'

Woody: 'You don't know! You don't know! What is there to know? He's a monster.'

Diane: 'And she isn't?'

Woody: 'She's not him.'

Diane: 'Well I just think maybe he'll be different, he's got a point, maybe he'll...'

Woody: 'Do you mind doing me a favour. First, I'm trying to eat and you're making me feel sick. And second, you do whatever you want to do but for God's sake don't tell anyone we know.'

And there's the nub of it. If you're going to vote for the person seemingly opposed to everything a wealthy, liberal, smart Upper West Sider is meant to stand for, keep quiet. People will say one thing and then do another. They'll pretend to be the person their colleagues, family and friendly pollsters think they are and then do the opposite in the voting booth.

It's what happened in two successive British votes in just over a year and points to a shift in how we vote - or say we vote - and why we shouldn't trust polls.

First, in the 2015 General Election in which David Cameron benefited from the 'shy Tories'. They told pollsters they'd vote for Labour and hapless Ed Miliband (partly out of loathing for the elite posh boys club Cameron chose to run the country). But when faced with the prospect of 'Red Ed' in the voting booth, they chose Cameron, hoping no one would ask or notice.

That's why Cameron benefited from an unlikely majority and also why he recently lost his job. Nobody sane would vote Brexit in the EU referendum he surmised. Who'd be so irresponsible to willingly spark chaos?

And everyone dutifully nodded their head yet hid their true feelings. So the polling gurus became convinced Britons would vote 'in' and, a few hours before the results were known, they foolishly told Cameron he'd secured 60 per cent of the vote.

A large section of the population has been marginalised and taken for granted by politicians and the media for years, and now they've had enough. But they're not brave enough to admit they'd push the 'emergency' button to burst the establishment's self-satisfied bubble.

The media is as much to blame as politicians, dedicating acres of space to those who see things through an intellectual and rational prism. Emotionally, however, they are far removed from uncomfortable realities people face. Fear, envy, hatred, abandonment, loss.

People are often not rational, intellectual or well-informed. Or, if they are, they are not the predictable voters of the past, a lesson the discredited polling companies - fooled by respondents' dishonesty - are learning.

This is a Presidential election like no other because masses of voters won't admit the unpalatable truth - they're going to pinch their nose and vote not for Hillary Clinton but the person who'll collapse the unedifying house of cards. Just like the Brexiteers who wanted to give the establishment a kick without regard for the perilous long-term consequences, so Trump will benefit from the disillusionment of a Disunited States of America.

So ignore the polls because it doesn't matter that Trump is loathed, shambolic and mistrusted. If the bickering customers of Barney Greengrass think he may have a point, he really could win.