I have been really depressed about the election. So when Will came by with Michael Moore in TrumpLand, I really didn’t want to watch it. Even talking about politics is depressing. It isn’t that I think Trump is going to become the next president. It is that Trump has a decent chance of becoming president. And I’m embarrassed — for the whole country. And so even reading about politics fills me with dread. So I didn’t want to watch the film — even highlights. But Will was a very persistent. And after half a beer, I found his laptop set up and we’re watching the film.
But what they always say is true: misery does love company. Of course, Will isn’t miserable. He’s just waiting for the election. I’m the idiot who is addicted to following politics. I’m the idiot who knows that the Real Clear Politics polling average has Clinton up by 1.9 percentage points. And that FiveThirtyEight now gives Trump over a 30 percent chance of becoming president and that Clinton is now losing in Florida and North Carolina.
It’s madness! Why do I know these things? The truth is that most likely Hillary Clinton will be the 45th president of the United States and that she will have a Democratic Senate. All this stress is for nothing. But it is there nonetheless. I’d like to not care. I’d like to not check FiveThirtyEight a dozen times per day, but I can’t stop myself. So I didn’t want to watch the movie.
A Surprising Pleasant Time
But it turned out to be pleasant. Michael Moore in TrumpLand is really just a filmed performance. And it is usually nice to listen to what Moore has to say. But more than that, it was nice to watch it will Will. It reminded me of 1988, when I was incredibly depressed about Michael Dukakis’ impending defeat to George HW Bush. Will and I went to the Plaza theater in Petaluma to watch a documentary about Bush’s evil past. After all, by that time, we knew who he was. And watching the film with Will and other like-minded liberals really did make the coming doom easier to handle.
Michael Moore in TrumpLand has a lot of great moments. And they aren’t usually the funny ones. Much of it is very tender. There’s a point at which he sits down and reads from his notebook. He talks about all the working class people who have suffered and have a right to be angry. Of course, they aren’t Trump’s base. Trump’s base is made up of people who will vote out of racial resentment. Check out this graph from Jonathan Chait:
Trump’s Base Is Not Open to Argument
So Moore is going out of his way to court these voters — giving them every benefit of the doubt. And you could tell that his act wasn’t really working for the Trump supporters. But that’s hardly surprising. I know there are a lot of people who support Trump because he is the Republican nominee. But true Trump supporters — the ones who voted for him in the primary — are beyond thinking. Really: it’s scary. It is something akin to pure rage. I’ve always been proud that I could find common ground with conservatives. But with Trump supporters, there is no ground to find.
But it was nice to sit there with Will and watch it. We were both Bernie Sanders supporters in the primary. But it wasn’t an emotional decision. Bernie was just a better fit to our hard left economic beliefs. It was never about us sending a message that we were mad as hell. Bernie would have led the country in a positive direction and so will Hillary. Will and I could have a conversation about whether Trump would lead the nation in a positive direction. The trump supporters I know can’t. They are voting out of fear and hatred.
Sharing Michael Moore in TrumpLand
So it was nice to watch Michael Moore in TrumpLand with someone who is like-minded. I firmly believe that if PJ O’Rourke (who is actually a Clinton supporter because he isn’t a vile idiot) had done a similar film making the case for Trump, Will and I would have been open to it. That’s not to say we would have been convinced. And maybe that’s why this kind of social approach to politics helps to calm me down. It’s just nice to know that there are sane people in the world. Not that Will is all that sane…