Who’s Afraid of Donald Trump (And Why?)

Recently I was at a fantastic wedding (how often do you hear that? Anyway, it was true) for a really good friend of mine and Zuuko’s. We had prepared a Jesus Christ Superstar-themed song tribute to the young couple, part of which involved this “This Jesus Must Die” verse:

We dare not leave our home in the Mission
And I hear Seattle is kind of a dump
But it’s by the border, a perfect position
If we have to flee from President Trump*

This joke went over very well (some people got it early!) which made me happy. But what really surprised me is the extent to which that’s not really 100% a joke for my Canadian friends living in the US. M (a coder at Google in the Bay Area), and M (a coder at Google in New York) and M (a coder at Facebook in Seattle) — who says I have an easily stereotypable friendgroup? — and several other friends expressed the need to get out of the US soon if Trump wins. And I can’t figure out why. Donald Trump is an idiot when it comes to international relations, and also seems to be quite the jerk. Him being president of the US would be really bad. But is it going to be any worse for a smart young white professionally employed Canadian living in the US than it is going to be for a smart young white professionally employed Canadian living in Canada? Like what do they think’s gonna happen? The US will not start deporting Canadians. It will be embarrassing that Trump is the president, sure, but is that it? Or are they afraid of riots? And if they are afraid of riots, doesn’t that mean that riots are an effective anti-Trump strategy?**

*(By the way, I wanted to share: the alternate version of that verse went

We dare not leave our home in the Mission
The mere thought of moving just fills me with dread
But how can we stay here? The rent keeps increasing
Let’s go to Seattle, raise the rent there instead.)

**I am in no way advocating riots. I think political violence is evil and should be avoided on moral grounds. But kind of like this post, I think whether it’s effective and whether it should be done are different questions. Here’s an argument by Matt Yglesias for riots being ineffective, by the way. It’s convincing to me, except that the anecdotal evidence above seems to go the other way.

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