The GOP Nominee is Good for the Michigan Liberal’s Business
If there’s one thing Michael Moore knows, it’s that Donald Trump is going to be president. In fact, the only person who seems more confident of that prospect is Trump himself.
At first blush, it may seem odd that the lefty filmmaker best known for eviscerating GM for downsizing in his 1989 film, “Roger & Me,” would be grabbing pro-Trump headlines.
But given Moore’s poor track record of predicting elections and his insatiable need for media attention, this actually makes a lot of sense.
The Michigan native (unsurprisingly) endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, but not before reminding us on MSNBC of a creepy chapter he wrote in his 1996 book, “Downsize This,” on his “forbidden love for Hillary Clinton” (yes, he called her “one hot shitkickin’ feminist babe.”)
In July, he released his rambling letter to fans, titled, “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win,” which sounded awfully similar to his pronouncement that Mitt Romney would triumph in 2012 (spoiler alert: he didn’t). The letter is chock full of the sort unsophisticated observations that pass for political analysis on cable TV, replete with a fairly insulting depiction of Trump supporters (the “last stand of the angry white men”) and a reminder that pro-wrestler-turned-governor Jesse Ventura was a thing a couple decades ago.
Moore’s biggest point is that Trump will ride the wave of a “Rust Belt Brexit” in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He never really explains how a British referendum on the European Union is a good predictor of the American presidential election, but he does know TPP is evil. Plus, those states have had GOP governors (federal election voting patterns are different, especially in Michigan, but no matter). It’s also somewhat amusing that polls have only been promising for Trump in the Buckeye State.
Then came Moore’s follow-up column, “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Lose,” which started out declaring that Clinton will continue lead in polls but “IT DOESN’T MATTER” (his emphasis) because polls are wrong (“Stop the early celebrating and the gloating over Trump’s Bad Week,” he admonishes Democrats). Only then did he launch into some mundane GOTV tips.
Moore hasn’t let up, declaring Trump won the first debate on Sept. 28: “It’s over. Trump, the egoist, the racist, the narcissist, the liar, ‘won.’ We all lost. His numbers will go up. She told the truth. So what.” Fun fact: Clinton’s poll numbers have jumped since then. But, of course, Moore warned us that the polls are skewed (the man has an answer for everything).
Undeterred, Moore swung for the fences in a “Meet the Press” interview this week, declaring Trump to be a “human Molotov cocktail” who will, of course, win.
The interesting thing is that both Trump and Moore are selling pessimism to the American public to boost their brands. If you listen to either of them, you wouldn’t know the unemployment rate is 5.1 percent or that we’re living in the most peaceful time in human history.
Consider this doozy from Moore:
“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 who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room.”
I suspect Trump’s knock on our dystopian hellscape is more appealing, because at least he’s promising to make it all great again. All Moore is promising to do is write more overwrought columns.
Moore still has has diehard liberal followers, but he’s slipped in relevance and his image has taken a beating with a messy divorce (one of the flashpoints was his tony mansion on Torch Lake). Let’s face it, most of his natural audience of young Sanders supporters were born after “Roger & Me” and probably have no idea who Moore is. So he has to keep upping the ante with over-the-top antics.
Moore’s frequent pro-Trump declarations have made a splash in the conservative media, particularly in the far right/alt-right haven of Breitbart News, whose publisher, Steve Bannon, just happens to be on loan to the Trump campaign.
But that’s the point, right? One of the surefire ways of nabbing media attention is for liberals to break with Democrats (and conservatives to bash the GOP). And Moore does it with his trademark bombast, unloading cringeworthy zingers made for TV.
We saw this with the Flint water crisis. Moore has been a loud and frequent critic of President Obama –– even irresponsibly suggesting in April that the city would “riot” soon (it didn’t) and he should “arrest” Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette (he can’t). Moore actually wrote a column, “Don’t Send Bottled Water to Flint” and told people to “revolt.”
When you’re dealing with the unspeakable human tragedy of children being poisoned by the water supply, Moore’s clown act suddenly isn’t funny anymore. It’s wrong-headed and deeply irresponsible.
It’s a stark reminder that those of us in Michigan deserve better.
Susan J. Demas is Publisher and Editor of Inside Michigan Politics, a nationally acclaimed, biweekly political newsletter. Her political columns can be found at SusanJDemas.com. Follow her on Twitter here.