As Britain reels from a shock vote to leave the European Union, Donald Trump sees a model he hopes to replicate in the United States: Ride the wave of voter anger, anti-establishment sentiment and anxieties over immigration to a surprise White House win.
Just as Britons took back their country, so, too, will Americans, according to Mr. Trump. "Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence," the presumptive Republican nominee said in statement during a visit to Scotland to open a new golf course on the morning of the referendum results.
"They will have the chance to reject today's rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people," he added.
The Brexit vote provides a critical clue of what can happen when politicians underestimate voter discontent. For the Trump campaign, it also offers hope.
"I think Mr. Trump will probably take some satisfaction from today's vote, not simply because he favoured Brexit, but because the political, social, economic forces that put Leave over the top, he will see as forces that are very close to his … base," said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The U.S. presidential election is taking place at a critical moment when voters are deeply unhappy about Washington politicians, the direction of the country and the impact of free trade and immigration. But turning the gloomy mood of the electorate into a Trump win remains an uphill climb that could be upended by the Brexit global economic fallout.
For one, U.S. voters are choosing their next president – and not voting on the country's relationship within a union of 28 members states.
On this point, the Trump campaign is floundering: 65 per cent of surveyed voters view Mr. Trump unfavourably, he trails presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by double-digits in some polls and he is losing the money race and the TV-ad war.
Earlier this week, the Trump campaign coffers revealed a paltry $1.3-million (U.S.). The Clinton campaign has $41-million.
Where Ms. Clinton is spending $23-million on ads in battleground states, Mr. Trump has spent nothing so far.
For a businessman who touts his ability to run companies and the art of the deal, Mr. Trump's pivot to the general election has been clumsy, disorganized and undersized. He has fired his campaign manager and failed to grow his campaign staff into a robust national team. He currently has 66 staffers. Ms. Clinton has a national team of 684.
There is also the question of the global economic fallout from Brexit and how it affects the presidential campaign. The coming weeks and months will reveal whether the economic impact extends beyond Britain to include other industrialized countries.
Polls generally show that voters see Mr. Trump as better positioned to steer the U.S. economy.
But that could easily change. Even prior to Brexit, Ms. Clinton has been strident in her attacks – questioning not just the Trump temperament, but also his business record.
"Just like he shouldn't have his finger on the button, he shouldn't have his hands on our economy," she said in a speech this week. "We can't let him bankrupt our economy like one of his casinos."
If the ripple effects of the Brexit vote extend into the summer and political uncertainty fuels prolonged market turmoil and talk of a global economic downturn, Ms. Clinton could put a simple question to voters: Whom do you trust more to protect American jobs and prosperity?
On Friday, hours after the momentous British vote, Ms. Clinton weighed in on the Brexit aftermath.
"This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans' pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests," she said in statement.
"It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down," she added.
In the Brexit vote, there is also a cautionary tale for the Clinton camp.
"I think for the Hillary Clinton campaign, this is something of a warning – not to underestimate the disaffection, not to underestimate also the political and economic nationalism," said Mr. Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The challenge for the Clinton campaign is going to be how to deal effectively with those kinds of populist and nationalist concerns and I think the next four and half months in the United States are going to be informed by the perceived lessons and the perceived messages coming out of the Brexit vote," he added.