I’ve long come to take most of what Michael Moore says as containing more than a grain of hyperbole. He’s an entertainer after all, not a politician.
- Believe me, I understand Michael’s pessimism toward America and the American people, which is undoubtedly based in his experience of growing up in the boom and bust of a prosperous and then depressed Rust Belt industrial economy. I also come from from the Rust Belt, growing up in Cleveland, which has a population largely made up of people descended from Eastern European ancestry. There is a kind of innate and culturally derived pessimism that one can sense when walking down the streets of old neighborhoods not yet gentrified. It’s an attitude of expecting the worst outcomes, one that I’ve found myself struggling with for most of my life. To project that pessimism and cynicism on the rest of the nation is probably going a bit too far.
- Yes, the angry white male is definitely a central factor here. Beneath issues like the TPP or Superdelegates or the ‘Rigged System’ is the underlying factor of a challenge to white male supremacy. At this level, ironically the only real difference between the Trump supporters and many of the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people is that one movement is spearheaded by old white guys and the other by young ones. The totally unhinged red meat rhetoric raised against Hillary Clinton from both Left and Right goes way beyond disagreements over policy. It apparently emerges out of some deep seated psychological terror topping even the guilt ridden projections that white culture has about race. The question comes down to whether a shrinking minority of frightened old white guys with their wives and spoiled children have the voting advantage to overcome all of the other rising elements in American voting culture. I was once even more skeptical than Michael, before Obama overcame two centuries of deep seated racism to win the popular vote and gain two terms as president. Yes, the middle class is angry and making a spectacle of itself. At the same time the economy is in better shape than it was in many places outside of the Rust Belt. Hell, even Cleveland is looking more prosperous and confident these days, and most of that confidence is from the younger people that are revitalizing the city’s image of itself.
- The kids. The portrait Michael paints of millennials is rather cynical and demeaning. Perhaps it’s based mostly on encounters with disappointed Bernie supporters who just can’t get over the fact that they didn’t get what they wanted. Believe it or not, I have encountered young people who are enthusiastic about electing a woman president and who actually respect Hillary Clinton. I also know young people who vote intelligently, for other reasons than that their favorite rock star candidate isn’t on the ballot, and whose motivations are less superficial than what Michael implies.
- If the results of the election depended on the millennial vote this would be a more convincing argument. While many politically active millennials may be ‘depressed’ because Bernie didn’t go the distance, they are likely to be even more depressed at the prospect of four or more years of FuckFace von Clownstick The complex maneuvering exhibited this week by Hillary and her supporters shows an understanding that in order to win one has to appeal to moderate voters as well as progressive ones. (While Tim Kaine agreed to pull back from his total support for the TPP, the progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren appeared with President Obama in the weekly White House Briefing talking about defending consumer rights. Both popular politicians are supporting Clinton.)
- Again, Michael presumes that the past eight years of an improving economy under a still very popular Democratic president will drive a majority of voters into a mindset of disruptive anarchy that will motivate them to vote solely for the purpose of ‘upsetting the apple cart’ and ‘making mommy and daddy mad.’ For those represented by the Republican Convention this is undoubtedly true. To extend this expectation to the whole country, it seems to me, requires an extremely cynical view of the larger voting public. This year the Republican Convention, in spite of being hyped as the greatest political show “ever,” had lower ratings than the one that nominated Romney. If the country was as ready for a disruptive revolution as Mr. Moore, the Bernie Bern and the Trump people anticipate, I suspect that it would have done much better.
5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, cause youll be saying them for the next four years: PRESIDENT TRUMP.
Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now.
I can see what youre doing right now. Youre shaking your head wildly No, Mike, this wont happen! Unfortunately, you are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president. You alternate between being appalled at him and laughing at him because of his latest crazy comment or his embarrassingly narcissistic stance on everything because everything is about him. And then you listen to Hillary and you behold our very first female president, someone the world respects, someone who is whip-smart and cares about kids, who will continue the Obama legacy because that is what the American people clearly want! Yes! Four more years of this!
You need to exit that bubble right now. You need to stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real. Trying to soothe yourself with the facts 77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump cant win a majority of any of them! or logic people arent going to vote for a buffoon or against their own best interests! is your brains way of trying to protect you from trauma. Like when you hear a loud noise on the street and you think, oh, a tire just blew out, or, wow, whos playing with firecrackers? because you dont want to think you just heard someone being shot with a gun. Its the same reason why all the initial news and eyewitness reports on 9/11 said a small plane accidentally flew into the World Trade Center. We want to we need to hope for the best because, frankly, life is already a shit show and its hard enough struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. We cant handle much more bad news. So our mental state goes to default when something scary is actually, truly happening. The first people plowed down by the truck in Nice spent their final moments on earth waving at the driver whom they thought had simply lost control of his truck, trying to tell him that he jumped the curb: Watch out!, they shouted. There are people on the sidewalk!
Well, folks, this isnt an accident. It is happening. And if you believe Hillary Clinton is going to beat Trump with facts and smarts and logic, then you obviously missed the past year of 56 primaries and caucuses where 16 Republican candidates tried that and every kitchen sink they could throw at Trump and nothing could stop his juggernaut. As of today, as things stand now, I believe this is going to happen and in order to deal with it, I need you first to acknowledge it, and then maybe, just maybe, we can find a way out of the mess were in.
Dont get me wrong. I have great hope for the country I live in. Things are better. The left has won the cultural wars. Gays and lesbians can get married. A majority of Americans now take the liberal position on just about every polling question posed to them: Equal pay for women check. Abortion should be legal check. Stronger environmental laws check. More gun control check. Legalize marijuana check. A huge shift has taken place just ask the socialist who won 22 states this year. And there is no doubt in my mind that if people could vote from their couch at home on their X-box or PlayStation, Hillary would win in a landslide.
But that is not how it works in America. People have to leave the house and get in line to vote. And if they live in poor, Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, they not only have a longer line to wait in, everything is being done to literally stop them from casting a ballot. So in most elections its hard to get even 50% to turn out to vote. And therein lies the problem for November who is going to have the most motivated, most inspired voters show up to vote? You know the answer to this question. Whos the candidate with the most rabid supporters? Whose crazed fans are going to be up at 5 AM on Election Day, kicking ass all day long, all the way until the last polling place has closed, making sure every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Bob and Joe and Billy Bob and Billy Joe and Billy Bob Joe) has cast his ballot? Thats right. Thats the high level of danger were in. And dont fool yourself no amount of compelling Hillary TV ads, or outfacting him in the debates or Libertarians siphoning votes away from Trump is going to stop his mojo.
Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:
- Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit. I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million). Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio. Tied? How can the race be this close after everything Trump has said and done? Well maybe its because hes said (correctly) that the Clintons support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states. When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich.
From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs wholl write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here. Elmer Gantry shows up looking like Boris Johnson and just says whatever shit he can make up to convince the masses that this is their chance! To stick to ALL of them, all who wrecked their American Dream! And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You dont have to agree with him! You dont even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!
And this is where the math comes in. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Its 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as hes expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states thatll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesnt need Florida. He doesnt need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.
- The Last Stand of the Angry White Man. Our male-dominated, 240-year run of the USA is coming to an end. A woman is about to take over! How did this happen?! On our watch! There were warning signs, but we ignored them. Nixon, the gender traitor, imposing Title IX on us, the rule that said girls in school should get an equal chance at playing sports. Then they let them fly commercial jets. Before we knew it, Beyoncé stormed on the field at this years Super Bowl (our game!) with an army of Black Women, fists raised, declaring that our domination was hereby terminated! Oh, the humanity!
Thats a small peek into the mind of the Endangered White Male. There is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done. This monster, the Feminazi,the thing that as Trump says, bleeds through her eyes or wherever she bleeds, has conquered us and now, after having had to endure eight years of a black man telling us what to do, were supposed to just sit back and take eight years of a woman bossing us around? After that itll be eight years of the gays in the White House! Then the transgenders! You can see where this is going. By then animals will have been granted human rights and a fuckin hamster is going to be running the country. This has to stop!
- The Hillary Problem. Can we speak honestly, just among ourselves? And before we do, let me state, I actually like Hillary a lot and I think she has been given a bad rap she doesnt deserve. But her vote for the Iraq War made me promise her that I would never vote for her again. To date, I havent broken that promise. For the sake of preventing a proto-fascist from becoming our commander-in-chief, Im breaking that promise. I sadly believe Clinton will find a way to get us in some kind of military action. Shes a hawk, to the right of Obama. But Trumps psycho finger will be on The Button, and that is that. Done and done.
Lets face it: Our biggest problem here isnt Trump its Hillary. She is hugely unpopular nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. Thats why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next shes officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering its the sacrifices and the battles that Hillary and other women of her generation endured so that this younger generation would never have to be told by the Barbara Bushes of the world that they should just shut up and go bake some cookies. But the kids dont like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesnt tell me they arent voting for her. No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isnt there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls Trump right now is in the catbird seat.
- The Depressed Sanders Vote. Stop fretting about Bernies supporters not voting for Clinton were voting for Clinton! The polls already show that more Sanders voters will vote for Hillary this year than the number of Hillary primary voters in 08 who then voted for Obama. This is not the problem. The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be whats called a depressed vote meaning the voter doesnt bring five people to vote with her. He doesnt volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why shes voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when youre young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones. Theyre not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home. Hillary Clinton is going to have to do something to give them a reason to support her and picking a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy as her running mate is not the kind of edgy move that tells millenials that their vote is important to Hillary. Having two women on the ticket that was an exciting idea. But then Hillary got scared and has decided to play it safe. This is just one example of how she is killing the youth vote.
- The Jesse Ventura Effect. Finally, do not discount the electorates ability to be mischievous or underestimate how any millions fancy themselves as closet anarchists once they draw the curtain and are all alone in the voting booth. Its one of the few places left in society where there are no security cameras, no listening devices, no spouses, no kids, no boss, no cops, theres not even a friggin time limit. You can take as long as you need in there and no one can make you do anything. You can push the button and vote a straight party line, or you can write in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There are no rules. And because of that, and the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad. And in the same way like when youre standing on the edge of Niagara Falls and your mind wonders for a moment what would that feel like to go over that thing, a lot of people are going to love being in the position of puppetmaster and plunking down for Trump just to see what that might look like. Remember back in the 90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor? They didnt do this because theyre stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual. They did so just because they could. Minnesota is one of the smartest states in the country. It is also filled with people who have a dark sense of humor and voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system. This is going to happen again with Trump.
Coming back to the hotel after appearing on Bill Mahers Republican Convention special this week on HBO, a man stopped me. Mike, he said, we have to vote for Trump. We HAVE to shake things up. That was it. That was enough for him. To shake things up. President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.
(Next week I will post my thoughts on Trumps Achilles Heel and how I think he can be beat.)