Where to move if you’re unhappy with the election
Every four years, America dives into a frenzy of rage and vitriol as it determines which of its wealthy and powerful it wants to make more wealthy and more powerful.
Accompanying the relentless political evangelism and questioning of the other party’s honor, patriotism and mental health are promises to leave the country if one’s preferred candidate loses. It was once the realm of progressives, who often threaten to flee for the social liberalism, universal healthcare and family-friendly laws of Canada should a Republican enter the White House. But some conservatives have recently jumped on the bandwagon. In 2014, Bill O’Reilly claimed he would move to Ireland if Bernie Sanders won the presidency.
O’Reilly may find Ireland an ill-suited refuge from Democrats. The Irish pay about as much in taxes as Americans do. And they have socialized medicine and tight gun laws, two liberal propositions O’Reilly apparently despises. Liberals, meanwhile, could find themselves disappointed by Canada’s often-tough prison system, some of its more draconian anti-terrorism laws and its treatment of indigenous peoples.
So where are party stalwarts to go if America lets them down? I turned to data to figure it out. I used a Pew Research Center poll from March to figure out what’s most important to supporters of each of the presidential candidates still in the race at the time. I then dug up data from the U.N., the World Bank and the International Chamber of Commerce to see how different countries perform on those criteria. Then I ranked each country based on how well it meets the needs of each set of voters, and came up with the countries those voters may find best suited to their political needs. (Yes, this is the sort of inanity that occupies my free time.)
In the following section, I describe how I came up with my rankings. If you don’t care about math, just skip to the next section to find out where you should move. Just know that it is very likely that my methodology won’t hold up to mathematical scrutiny, so you should do a lot more research before you buy any plane tickets.
So what’s the math?
This is the nerd stuff (which is very likely completely incorrect.) My process has four steps.
First, I looked at the list of issues Pew asked voters about. (You’ll find the list on page 2 of the PDF.) I used the percentage of voters that agreed with the statement in the poll as a proxy for the importance the average voter places on that issue. For example, 27 percent of Trump voters say that free trade is good for the U.S. So I assume (likely erroneously) that on a scale of zero to 100, the average Trump voter gives trade a positive score of 27. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Trump supporters said that immigrants are a burden to the U.S., so I assume that the average Trump supporter gives immigration a negative score of 69. I did the same for each issue for supporters of each of the other four candidates in the race at the time: Clinton, Cruz, Kasich and Sanders.
Second, I looked for data on how different countries perform on each of the issues Pew asked about in the poll and gave each country a score. I was able to find data on five: Immigration, trade, economic inequality, abortion and suspicion of Muslims.
To figure out how voters would react to countries based on immigration, I looked at numbers from the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs on the migrant stock in each country as a percentage of the total population of that country. The percentage of immigrants in that country is the country’s score on immigration.
On trade, I used trade in each country as a percentage of its G.D.P., as reported by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development. I then converted that percentage to a zero-to-100 scale so it is comparable to the zero-to-hundred scale I use for the other indicators.
For economic inequality, I looked at Gini indices from the World Bank. For those unfamiliar with Gini indices, they’re a measure of income distribution. A zero means a country has perfect income equality (e.g., everyone has the same income.) A 100 means a country has perfect inequality (e.g., all the wealth in the country belongs to one person.)
Pew asked people if they agree that the economic system favors powerful interests. I assumed that people who agree with the statement prefer equality (a pretty big assumption), so I inverted the Gini index so 100 is the favorable score and zero is unfavorable. The inverted Gini index is that country’s score.
On abortion, I again looked at information from the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Population Division provides information on whether each country allows abortion in seven types of situations. To convert that information into a number, I took the percentage of situations in which a country allows abortion. If it allows it in all cases, it gets a score of 100. If it allows it in none, it gets a zero.
The skepticism towards Muslims was a bit trickier and subject to my own biases. I assume that people skeptical towards Muslims tend to look at people in categories and prefer to keep religions separate. (I’m clearly trying to avoid a label here.) So I looked at each country’s Pew’s social hostility index, which measures religious persecution in different countries. The presumption here is that a person who says Muslims in the U.S. should be subject to extra scrutiny will find a lot of ideological company in country divided along religious lines. The social hostility index is on a scale of zero to 10, so I converted it to a zero-to-100 scale to make it comparable to the other indicators.
Third, I multiplied each candidate’s supporters’ score for each issue and multiplied it by each country’s score on that issue to give every country a score on that issue for that candidate’s supporters. For example, if Trump voters get a rank of 27 on trade and India has a score of 11 on trade, India gets a score of 27 x 11 = 297 on trade for Trump supporters.
Finally, I add up all the scores on each issue for each candidate’s supporters to get the country’s total score for that candidate’s supporters. The countries with the highest score for your candidate is where you should move if you’re unhappy with the election results.
Get to the point already. Where do I go?
Based on whom you supported back in March, here are your best options.
If Trump wins, pack your bags for the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Both countries end up with a total score of 15,246. Abortion is permissible in all seven cases the U.N. measures, and economic inequality is among the lowest of the countries for which the World Bank has data. And they’re among the more religiously tolerant countries as measured by the social hostilities index. Other options are in the chart below:
You should head to Luxembourg. Luxembourg’s score of zero on the social hostilities index seems to be the determining factor. But close behind Luxembourg on your list are the Czech Republic, Slovakia and five of the other countries also on the Clinton top ten. Your preferences are pretty damn close to those of Clinton supporters, which should say something about this “Bernie or bust” business.
Based purely on the numbers, your best bet is India. Immigration, trade and social hostilities seem to give India the win. A tiny 0.4 percent of the population is made up of immigrants, it has a modest 11.1 score on trade and religious intolerance is at a soaring score of 90, so there will be a lot of people with you as you rail against Muslims.
However, a solid 13.6 percent of the Indian population is Muslim, which you may not like so much. So you could try the next country down on your list: Russia. (I’m not making this up. It’s math.)
If Russia’s 10 percent of Muslims are still too much for you, try Romania, whose Muslim population is at a negligible 0.35 percent.
You’re going with the Trump folks to India or Russia. However, both those countries are pretty permissive about abortion, towards which you seem to have the greatest aversion. So you may want to head to the first country on your list with restrictive abortion policies: Pakistan. (They’re also in to God and guns there.)
You guys are pretty middle-of-the-road on all the measures I factor into this exercise in futility, so it’s hard to say which factor is leading to your decision. But India and Romania turn up at the top of your list. So if Clinton wins, you may as well work to unite the party and head for India. If the Cruz folks don’t like it, Pakistan is just one disputed border away.
Wanna check my work? You’ll find my rather messy data here.