Michael Moore is one of our generations great American documentary makers. Academy Award winning Fahrenheit 9/11 remains one of the top grossing docos of all time so when one of the first pundits to predict Trump would win makes a new documentary on why Trump won, it becomes necessary viewing for anyone who cares about American politics.
The shit storm blizzard that is Trump creates a media environment where we can barely take breath and account for what the hell is going on so this serves as a moment of reflection on the train wreck that has become American democracy.
It opens, as Fahrenheit 9/11 does, looking at election night. We forget the total denial CNN and even Fox were at Trump even getting close to winning. So certain was everyone that Hillary would win, Fox News anchors were laughing on screen about the bullet everyone had dodged by Trump losing.
And then it happens.
State after State after State turned to Trump and the absolute disbelief and shock that breaks out is as painful as it is fascinating to watch.
I always believed Trump would win, he had channeled a resentment that touched deeply into the white working classes who had been left behind by the free market globalization that the Dems & Republicans championed. In this documentary, Moore tries to delve into why that happened and he makes a compelling case.
Two things stood out to me, the first is Trump winning 62 million votes, Hillary winning 65 million and 100 million didn’t bother to vote.
The second was how the electoral college, a throw back relic to the compromises required to mend the Civil War, gives enormous democratic weighting to poor white rural states while the vast majority coasts get so sweet fuck all.
Moore holds up the outrageous water crisis at Flint as a microcosm of how neoliberal public policy has hurt, robbed and ultimately warped poor working people, the truth of how a large city was allowed to have their water poisoned is almost a documentary in its own right and the pathetic response by Obama and the Democrats casts a shadow over his already problematic legacy.
Moore also looks at the way the Dems robbed Sanders of the nomination during their rugged primary as another example as to why people walked away and disconnected with politics.
Moore tries to end on a hopeful message but the bleakness of where America really is under Trump makes it more likely not less likely that this orange tumour will win 2020.