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Threatening to Leave the Country if Your Candidate Loses is Stupid


With Election Day rapidly approaching, some people are losing sleep and going bananas worrying about who will win.  Whether its collapse of the economy, ethnic cleansing, the rise of socialism, imminent nuclear war, confiscations of guns, appropriation of businesses, the collapse of the health care system, hyperinflation the president selling access to the Oval Office to the highest bidder, there seems to be a belief among some that something terrible is about to happen.  As a last straw, people that the media is willing to cover, be it celebrities, other media members, sports stars, captains of industry or others, will throw down the final gauntlet: “if the other candidate wins, I am moving out of the US.”

The Problems with this Approach

Generally speaking, threatening to leave the country does nothing but help the other candidate.  It shows that you are self-interested and when the going gets tough, you will get going.  Since most people don’t plan on leaving the country or probably making any immediate major changes in their lives based on the outcome of the election, they feel a sense that you think you are better than them.  They feel like you are leaving the behind.

Additionally, many of the people making these threats are Hollywood celebrities.  Hollywood celebrities are generally perceived as stupid people that are out-of-touch with everyday society.  Many Hollywood celebrities have made terrible choices in their personal lives and this ends up painting them all with a broad negative brush.

Beyond people feeling like you don’t deserve to tell other people how to behave, another major problem with this approach is that many people WANT you to leave the country.  It might be because they are sick of you running your mouth to the media on issues they think you can’t possibly understand.  Or it might be because they think your acting skills are terrible and they are sick of watching your movies, TV shows, or commercials. They were already inclined to vote for one candidate, and you leaving the country is like icing on the cake.

A Better Strategy if You Really Are Serious

What if you really think that the US is going to hell in a hand basket if the other candidate wins?  You really think that your wealth will be confiscated or you think the other candidate will start us down a slippery slope that will end with you and your family in an internment camp. The better strategy than winning is to quietly plan to leave the country for a little while or possibly forever. This involves buying physical foreign currency or opening bank accounts in the countries that you might have to reside in temporarily or move to if things get really bad.

Some of the popular countries where you could either open a bank account or hold the paper currency would include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden.  The best approach is to have your physical foreign currency stored in a safe deposit box abroad.  Don’t forget to declare your foreign currency on IRS Tax Form 8938.  If all hell does not break lose, you don’t want to end up in jail because you forgot to declare it at tax time.

Buying physical foreign currency (bills and coins) and opening bank accounts is not the same thing as trading in Forex with a US-based broker, investing in foreign currency ETFs, ETNs or foreign stocks or bonds in your Schwab account, or opening foreign currency-denominated FDIC-insured savings account with EverBank.  If you really think that all hell will brake lose, your US-based accounts could be frozen or confiscated by the government.

The other thing  you need to do is make sure you and your family member’s passports are up-to-date.  You will obviously need it if you plan on traveling outside of the country.  Also, check different country’s rules on temporary stays.  Generally tourists can only stay 90 to 180 days in a country.  Of course if you have been bragging to everyone about how you are defecting from the US, it is possible the new country will not consider you a tourist and may not let you in at all.

The Truth Behind the Threats

I think most celebrities make threats to leave the country for one of three reasons.  They are extremely partisan and they think that their threat will help their candidate even though it is a hollow threat and they will not really leave.  They have done zero actual planning for leaving.  They probably have been told how great they are and are a bit out-of-touch with ordinary voters.

The second reason is that they are probably surrounded and engulfed by people who all think alike.  They know what the people around them like to hear, and they decide they will scream it from the tree tops.  They will probably become more well-liked, get retweets, maybe become more attractive at cocktail parties, and it certainly should help their career since those making the hiring decisions think the exact same way.

The third reason is that they were leaning toward moving to another country, say New Zealand, anyway and this is something they could use either as an excuse or as an additional opportunity to gain praise or fame as they do it.  New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country by the way.


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