The denouement (n. the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved) of this pandemic is starting to take shape… and it looks very different, depending where you are. We keep thinking we’re doing ok here in Canada, because we always like to compare ourselves to our neighbours to the south and, indeed, comparatively speaking, things look good here. The problem with that is how catastrophically bad they are in the U.S., and getting a lot worse before they get better. It’s too soon to know how it’ll all play out, but right around the time Trump leaves Washington, three weeks after New Year’s, the scope of how bad it can get will be clearer.
On that note, the denouement of the Trump presidency had the potential to serve up some serious craziness. To some extent, it still does, but now… we’re approaching the last few pages of the last chapter… and things are more likely to close out with a whimper than a bang.
There had been the not-so-irrelevant concern that his stacking of the Supreme Court with hard-core loyalists might actually be phase one of a complete takeover and the end of democracy. What would’ve happened if the SCOTUS had actually played into his bullshit? Thankfully, we’ll never know. They tossed out his claim quickly and firmly with zero dissents. Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania… take your pick. Throw in the other 46 states; Red or Blue, they all have something in common… certified, counted, verified, stamped-for-approval votes. From every legal point of view, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.
The only thing left in Trump’s arsenal would be a full-on civil war… call his boys on standby to take to the streets and show them who’s boss. The issue with that is that no matter what pathetic uprising he may try to instigate, it would be quickly extinguished, and then Trump would be facing one more charge to add to the wall of legal issues he’ll slam into at 100 MPH on January 20th… and that would be treason. That one doesn’t carry jail time; that one carries the death penalty.
None of that will happen. With this sort of stuff, Trump seems to be “big hat, no cattle”. He will retreat to Florida, where, at least, his home is safe. If you’ve ever wondered why criminals and mob bosses wind up in Florida, here’s why…
There exists something called Homestead Creditor Protection. Every state has a different version of it, but basically, it’s how much of your home equity is untouchable by creditors. Even if you’re bankrupt and have to liquidate everything you own to pay off your debts, if your state’s Homestead Exemption is $350,000 and your home is worth less than that, you won’t be forced to sell it. You’re allowed to keep your home, up to the value of the exemption, no matter what… no matter how bankrupt, sued, liable and/or kicked-to-the-curb you are, they can’t take your home. And Florida is the only state where that limit is… unlimited. Like Tony Montana and his mansion and pool and helicopter pad and artificial lake and flamingos and tigers, all the money tied into the primary home and property is untouchable.
Trump bought the second largest mansion in Florida, Mar-a-Lago (126 rooms, 62,500 sq. feet), for $10,000,000 back in 1985. Through property appreciation and extensive renovations, it’s now worth around $160,000,000… and the only way for it to be exempt from seizure would be that it has to be his primary residence. Accordingly, that’s where he and Melania are planning to set up shop.
There had been visions of Trump, at some point, being dragged out of the White House, kicking and screaming. That’s not likely to happen either… but, down the road, from his Mar-a-Lago…? Who knows. At least they’ll know where to find him.
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