Schadenfreude was always the best reason to vote for Donald Trump—even better than the Supreme Court. Even those of us who didn’t vote for him have enjoyed the guilty pleasure of watching social justice warriors’ heads explode, Millennial snowflakes hold collegiate cry-ins, and media personalities go crazy. It’s the gift that keeps on giving into the holiday season!
But the most delicious pleasure-from-others’-pain has come from entertainment celebrities, the most vapid people whose political views and endorsements we nevertheless can’t go a campaign season without hearing.
Like clockwork, every four years, in addition to hearing about how it’s “the most important election of our lifetimes,” we learn that this-or-that comedian or starlet will move elsewhere if the Republican candidate wins. This year, of course, that angst reached Trumpian proportions.
Here were the proposed departure destinations of the celebrities I’ve heard of (afraid I’m not up on all my pop stars and B-listers):
- Bryan Cranston said he’d move to Canada, the most popular destination—and also far above the United States in the latest economic-freedom rankings.
- Raven-Symoné—whom I only knew as a Cosby kid but apparently now is some sort of impresario—said she’d move to Canada, indeed already had a ticket, “if any Republican gets nominated [did she mean elected?].”
- Neve Campbell, who’s already Canadian, would return to her (and my) home province of Ontario.
- Chloë Sevigny likewise had a particular Canadian province in mind, Nova Scotia.
- Lena Dunham was even more specific, pointing to Vancouver as her choice. “I know a lot of people have been threatening to do this, but I really will.” I can’t confirm reports that Dunham is being sued for not doing so by the not-insignificant number of people who voted for Trump on this basis alone.
- Barbra Streisand was picking between Canada and Australia (which is also freer than America).
- Chelsea Handler has a house in Spain already, and threatened to move there permanently.
- Amy Schumer also promised to move to Spain “or somewhere.”
- George Lopez said he’d go back to Mexico.
- Samuel L. Jackson had perhaps the most original choice: South Africa.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a celebrity in my circles—joked about moving to New Zealand in a New York Times interview that may yet get her into more trouble.
- Billy Crystal had the same Kiwi idea.
- Miley Cyrus, Al Sharpton, and Whoopi Goldberg would exile themselves to some
- unspecified country.
- Spike Lee, perhaps misunderstanding the concept of leaving the country, said he’d move to the “Republic of Brooklyn.”
- Cher, apparently feeling that the Earth was too small for her to share with a President Trump, promised to move to Jupiter—where she’d possibly be joined by
- Jon Stewart, who “would consider getting in a rocket and going to another planet, because clearly this planet’s gone bonkers.”
Yet they never leave, do they? Granted, Canada’s immigration website crashed the night of the election—now we know where the original healthcare.gov coders went—and the Mounties have long been manning a wall paid for by tariffs on American soft-lumber exporters. But still, you’d think that there’d be at least one huffy public exit (please, can it be Lena Dunham?).
Probably Not Gonna Happen. Alec Baldwin Is Still Here
All this reminds me of one of the more curious episodes in my life, which took place right around this time 16 years ago—yes, another election year. Soon after the Supreme Court had decided Bush v. Gore (December 12, 2000) and thus confirmed George W. Bush’s win, I was in New York taking in a Broadway show. My date and I had secured some sort of rush or student tickets and so were in the best seats I’ve ever had for a major production, in the first few rows towards the middle.
Before the show started, I noticed that Alec Baldwin was sitting right behind me. Mind you, this was before “30 Rock” and assorted TV success, when he was best known for “The Hunt for Red October” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
I turned around and said, “Oh, Mr. Baldwin!”
“Yes,” the oldest Baldwin brother smiled, assuming I’d ask for an autograph.
“Why aren’t you in France?”
“Excuse me?” he asked, puzzled, dropping most but not all of his smile.
“You said that if Bush won, you’d move to France. So why aren’t you in France?”
Baldwin’s face became stone-serious and his regard lost its twinkle. He lifted both middle fingers at me and spit out, “Fuck you!”
I sat back in my seat, enjoyed the show, and never once turned back around to face the future Jack Donaghy—though I could feel his eyes boring holes in the back of my head the rest of the evening.
So Much for That
Perhaps it’s just as well that these folks stay, because the backlash against their foolish preening surely redounds against their preferred interest anyway. Which swing voter has ever thought, “Gosh, I don’t know who to vote for, but I’d follow that Amy Schumer wherever she leads?”
This way they can all agitate for Calexit, whereby the Bear Republic—which provided Hillary Clinton’s entire popular-vote margin—can attain its politically correct socialist glory while leaving the rest of us alone. (Is that what Spike Lee meant, too?)
Hey, celebrities, check your privilege!