But if there are any architects of Project Fear who are now expressing regret or apologizing for their error, their voices are barely above a whisper. Far more common are the likes of James Moore of the Independent newspaper who wrote this week that “there is a reason that almost every respected economist supported Remain, with only the neo-Thatcherites, nobodies, and right-wing nodding dogs who make up the membership of Economists for Brexit speaking up for Leave.” While conceding that “things have stabilised since the initial panic,” he insists, without presenting any evidence, that “the UK is still in the midst of suffering an economic shock.” For drama, he adds: “The fear has become our reality.”
Over the next ten weeks, we will no doubt see a domestic version of Project Fear accelerate in the presidential race. As in Britain, the liberal establishment and its media allies will paint a dystopian vision of what America would be like under President Trump. As my readers know, I am no fan of Donald Trump, who is neither a conservative nor a truth-teller. But I am confident that the attack on him will be well over the top, and it could easily backfire.
In Britain, anti-Brexiters’ predictions of economic disaster didn’t persuade a majority of voters because only two regions of the country — London and the southeast — had seen average incomes rise above the levels they were before the 2008 recession. As Larry Elliott, the economics editor of the Guardian noted this week: “After weighing up the pros and cons, plenty of voters didn’t think they were risking all that much.”
A dynamic similar to what we saw in Britain could happen in the United States.