Britain’s Brexit: What Does it Mean for US Relations?

By Jessie Baker

Back in June, the unthinkable in European politics happened—Great Britain formally voted to exit the European Union. What was once considered a fantastical idea soon became reality and threw the European Union and the international economy into a tailspin. The question on everyone’s mind was a simple one: what now? This question takes on special significance here in the United States. The two nations have always had a “special relationship,” but how, if at all, would that special relationship be altered by this world-shifting event? Below is a brief overview of what America has experienced thus far and will likely see moving forward.

The Economic Impact:

Immediately after the historical vote, international markets plummeted. Within just two trading days, world markets lost a total of $3 trillion.[1] Uncertain of what impact Brexit would have, investors lost faith in the market and sold. The effects were wide reaching, with the US being hard hit on both the Dow and the NasDaq. Yet, what seemed like the next world recession had a quick and surprising rebound.  The United States surged the most it had in the four months leading up to the vote just three days after the vote.[2] Further, international banks had their largest rally in more than six weeks.[3] What was once considered a serious threat to the wellbeing of our international economy, and, in turn, the United States’ economy has quickly been brushed aside as just a bump in the road. However, there are still questions that lay ahead. Many point to Brexit as a reason the US has still not raised interest rates, while others believe that the uncertainty of this event will create volatility in an already unpredictable market.[4] With global markets that shift together, stabilizing Britain after Brexit is crucial to US economic vitality. Fortunately, it appears as if the markets are moving in that direction quicker than anticipated.

The Political Impact:

With Great Britain no longer in the European bloc, America will lose its closest ally and ideological partner when it comes to major votes. This could have major implications for both social and political considerations that may come up for a vote to the bloc. Whether it deals with whether to enter into certain wars or questions of how many Syrian refugees are allowed to cross the borders, these decisions will impact the United States and now the US no longer has a player in the game.  Many view this vote as a signaling of diminishing American influence amongst all European Union allies because Britain was always America’s voice when it came to member meetings.[5]  If anything, this vote has created a pressing need for America to find new allies that will keep their voice present in the bloc, how they go about this, whether diplomatically or through other means is yet to be seen.

The Presidential Race Impact:

While America may have potentially lost their voice in the bloc, what does it mean moving forward for strictly American politics? With this being a presidential election year, the impact of Brexit could influence whether Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump take the White House. Brexit was the culmination of conservative ideology reaching its way across Britain; the desire to focus inwardly on a thriving Britain and less on what Britain can do to work positively with the European Union was a driving force behind Brexit. Many have compared the Brexit vote with the views of Donald Trump and some of the Republican Party: it is time to put your own country first. The Brexit vote clearly looked like a victory for conservative political ideology.

However, after watching the backlash of what Brexit brought—volatility in the markets, international security uncertainty, and political uneasiness across the globe—what was once considered a victory, is quickly becoming an example of how what many consider is a good idea, could quickly go wrong. The world is interconnected and no two countries exemplify this more so than the United Stated and Great Britain.  The rise of conservative politics is likely on its way back down, the way everything in the political realm ebbs and flows. It is not new that Americans often go back and forth between political parties leading the country—once Americans are sick of Republican, Democrats come in, and vice versa. What was once seen as a certain Republican victory in the 2016 election is no longer. While America is still controlled by a Democratic president, our close ties to Great Britain likely expedited our uncertainty of the other party, even if there is not an official connection. 


Brexit has created waves across the world and America was no different. The close ties between these countries do not seem to be withering; rather, the two countries are learning and reacting to one another in a way that has not been seen before. How Brexit will continue to impact the United States as it severs its ties to the European Union will be a long, interesting experience.

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[1] World Market Loses $3 Trillion After Brexit Vote, AOL News Online, June 28, 2016, (accessed Aug. 17, 2016).

[2] US Stocks Index Futures Rise for First Time After Brexit Vote, Bloomberg News, June 29, 2016, (accessed Aug. 16, 2016).

[3] Id.

[4] What Crash?, The Blaze,  June 29, 2016, (accessed August 17, 2016).

[5] Brexit’s US Effects, Washington Times, July 3, 2016, (accessed August 19, 2016).