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  Comments (3) Total Saturday Apr. 19, 2014
Election Protection
Like I Was Sayin...
JetBlue is offering a curious promotion to its customers. If your presidential candidate of choice loses the election, you could win a free plane ticket to leave the country. It’s called “election protection” and it plays on Americans’ mostly bogus, and short-lived, threats to uproot when a bitterly contested vote doesn’t go their way.

The company has been conducting a poll online in the run-up to Nov. 6. You can vote for President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and, if your pick loses, you could win a trip to one of 21 international destinations, including the Bahamas, Costa Rica and St. Maarten. The airline is giving away more than 1,000 round-trip tickets, but I’m sure you could make it a one-way trip.

Americans often say they are leaving their homeland after a presidential election or policy decision, but there is less evidence that they actually do in any substantial numbers. When former President George W. Bush was reelected president in 2004, it was widely reported that U.S. citizens’ interest in moving to Canada had increased.

Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times story published in February 2005: “Many of those interviewed said the idea of moving to Canada had been simmering in the backs of their minds for years, partly as a reaction to what they saw as a rightward drift in the country.”

So what happened? Well, for one, not that many people moved to Canada. During the year after Bush was reelected, about 1,000 more Americans headed north. That’s far from a mass exodus.

Meanwhile, as Daniel Lametti at Slate pointed out, Canadians emigrate to the U.S. every year in historically larger numbers than the other way around.

“According to a report by Statistics Canada about 167,300 Canadian residents moved to the U.S. between 2001 and 2006,” Lametti wrote. “That’s about 33,000 per year. By comparison about 9,000 Americans move to Canada each year, and the U.S. has nine times as many people.”

That trend has reversed some in recent years as more Americans have looked to Canada for work. But that has a lot more to do with economics than politics, even when the latter often drives the conversation.

Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the majority of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, some Twitter users declared they were “moving to Canada.” I’m assuming most of these comments were made in jest, since our northern neighbor has a universal, single-payer health care system. As one respondent said, “Saying you’re moving to Canada cause you’re upset about Obamacare is like saying you’re moving to Hogwarts cause you’re upset about the magic.”

But threats to leave the country based wholly on politics continue, even if they are largely empty.

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder said unequivocally he was “moving to a different country” if Bush was elected in 2000. Bush was elected. Vedder stayed.

In 2010, radio personality Rush Limbaugh promised that if Obama’s health care law is implemented over the next few years, “I am leaving the country.” He said he would be heading to Costa Rica, not Canada. Whether every aspect of the law takes effect, I doubt Limbaugh leaves anytime soon, especially since his contract with Clear Channel Communications runs through 2016.

I have taken an entirely different tact. Instead of threatening to leave the country after a vote, for the last few years I have left for the two weeks before an election. No mailers. No commercials. No one telling me why they’re moving if things don’t go their way.

That’s where I am now. Out of the country. Enjoying real election protection. But I look forward to returning to my Flathead home and plan on staying there no matter how the vote comes in.
On 11-03-12, HRH Prince Michael commented....
In 2007, I moved to Vancouver, B.C. -as an “Illegal Alien”. A resident once asked:  “O.K. Yankee, what are you running from…because all the Americans that move here, are running from something.”  “I run, from nothing nor nobody” I replied. “C’mom man, give me a clue”, he…
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