Back in July, Michael Moore appeared on Bill Maher’s show and made a bold prediction that at the time made some waves, though it was dismissed by many as the sour grapes opinion of a Bernie Sanders supporter: Donald Trump would win the presidential election. Beyond his appearance on Maher’s show, Moore laid out in great detail the reasons why he felt the way that he did on his website. Looking back now on what he clearly spelled out, it’s clear that Moore was pretty spot-on, arguably much more than any prominent political pundit who covered the campaign.
For instance, Moore was eerily right about the ways Trump would appeal in the Midwestern/rust belt swing states that he swept on Election Day, much to the shock of all the experts. Most polls, and conventional wisdom, indicated that Michigan and Wisconsin were highly probable to go for Clinton. In fact, not one single poll conducted in Wisconsin ever showed Trump winning the state. A week before the election, at a time when the Trump campaign had been flooding the Michigan and Wisconsin with campaign appearances and TV ads, the New Yorker openly wondered, “Why Is Donald Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin?” instead of a state like Florida, which was believed to present a much more realistic chance for him to win. Well, now we know! Moore called it; the rust belt states were much more vulnerable for Democrats than most people suspected, and the Trump team apparently knew it (or just guessed right).
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).
In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t 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.
Moore also expressed fear that Democratic voters would not get out to vote for Clinton, a fear which the raw numbers from Tuesday now seem to vindicate. As we noted yesterday, Clinton was done in largely by low turnout from traditionally Democratic voting blocs. Moore correctly predicted that most Dems would vote for Hillary, but that they wouldn’t do so enthusiastically, meaning that they wouldn’t do much more than cast a vote for her. In other words, they wouldn’t go the extra mile for Hillary; they wouldn’t drag friends to the polls, volunteer to work phone banks, go knocking on doors in their neighborhoods, etc. He termed these Democratic voters “depressed voters,” voters who were, well, feeling kind of dead inside about their candidate. In order to inspire some enthusiasm, Moore felt that Clinton needed to pick a running mate who got young voters and the party’s liberal base people fired up. Instead she went with Tim Kaine, arguably the safest choice Clinton could possibly make, a moderate, non-controversial — and, let’s face it, exceedingly boring — white male she hoped would appeal to moderate Republicans who were uneasy about voting for Trump.
Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s 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. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering it’s 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 don’t like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t 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 isn’t 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.
Stop fretting about Bernie’s supporters not voting for Clinton – we’re 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 what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re 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. They’re 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.
Again, the numbers back Moore up. As of last night, Clinton logged 59,814,018 votes, considerably less than the 69,498,516 Obama got in 2008, and the 65,915,795 he received in 2012. In Michigan, Clinton got 13 percent fewer votes than Obama did. These vote deficits proved to be the reason she lost those states. They gave Trump, who tallied less votes nationally than McCain did in ’08 and Romney did in ’12, the margin he needed for victory in those crucial states.
Yesterday, Moore posted a post-mortem of sorts to his Facebook page laying out a list of things he believes the Democrats need to do now that Trump has won. Perhaps they’ll now listen to him — as well as others who have insight and perspective to offer about working class voters — a little closer?