The United Kingdom’s decision last month to leave the European Union – commonly known as ‘Brexit’ – stunned the world. Brought to a referendum by former Prime Minister David Cameron as a political maneuver to counter the anti-E.U. sentiments threatening his leadership in the Conservative Party, political leaders from across the globe expected U.K. voters to choose to remain a part of the European Union.
However, there were many critical factors that hinted at the opposite – and eventual – outcome. To understand the complex realities of the ‘Brexit’ vote and the roots of the discontentment that led to a populist campaign demanding that the U.K. delink itself from the political and economic ties to the European Union, Roosevelt House invited experts from Hunter College to provide short commentaries on the referendum and its outcome. Below are opinions submitted by Hunter College faculty Shyama Venkateswar (Public Policy), Howard Chernick (Economics), Michael Lee (Political Science), Elidor Mëhilli (History) and Sanford Schram (Political Science).