Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” reminds Democrats they are deeply divided
By Kent R. Kroeger (September 20, 2018)
Thanks Michael Moore.
It is not like Democrats don’t know how divided their party is and how increasingly intractable this split has become. Nonetheless, Moore had to make a movie about it under the guise of warning us how dangerous Donald Trump is to the American democracy.
Moore’s newest documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 takes predictable swipes at Donald Trump — he’s a serial philanderer, a liar, a racist, a lousy businessman, and probably a Russian stooge — all of which we can hear on CNN and MSNBC on any given night.
What is truly shocking about Moore’s newest film is that he has not forgiven the establishment wing of the Democratic Party (‘the corporatist wing’ as many progressives call it) for their culpability in getting Trump elected. The Russians get off easy in comparison.
Just as Moore warned before the 2016 election through his one-man show “October Surprise,” Fahrenheit 11/9 diagrams the fundamental reason why Donald Trump was (and is) attractive to Middle America —particularly people in the Brexit states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania).
Before you have a chance to dig into your popcorn, Fahrenheit 11/9 describes Bill Clinton as a lying cad (which he is), Hillary Clinton as a warmonger and tool of Wall Street and Big Pharma interests (which she is), and laments that Barack Obama’s presidency was more style than substance (which it was).
Moore’s attack on Obama was particularly pointed as he castigated him for failing to do enough during the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Flint, of course, is Moore’ hometown and its contaminated water occurred during the Obama administration, though it was a Republican governor’s effort to cut local government costs that precipitated the crisis.
In Moore’s opinion, the Clintons, Obama and the current leadership of the Democratic Party, are defenders of the status quo, occasionally offering tepid support for progressive ideas such as universal health care and consumer debt relief, only to abandon them or water them down once in power.
Why did Trump win according to Moore?
“Because (Trump) said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest,” Moore wrote in a letter posted on his website a few months before the 2016 election. “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.”
Moore, without apology, is a New Deal Democrat patterned after the party’s mandate under FDR as a workers rights party, which remained the party’s banner through Walter Mondale’s 1984 run for president.
Today we call such Democrats “progressives,” who are effectively marginalized by the centrist neoliberals (led by Bill Clinton in 1992) that now control the party. If the Democratic primary votes in 2016 are an indication, progressives constitute roughly 40 percent of current Democrats.
And the issue that best demarcates the Democratic Party’s two factions is Medicare-for-All (MFA), the universal health care system, most often proposed by progressives, and is basically an expansion of the current Medicare system to cover all citizens.
The neoliberal-progressive split on MFA was on vivid display during the recent New York Governor’s race for the Democratic nomination, with the incumbent, Governor Andrew Cuomo, indicating MFA was an “exciting possibility” for New York, while his opponent, Cynthia Nixon, a progressive, accused Cuomo of allowing the New York Health Act, which would have implemented a single-payer system in New York, to die in the New York State Senate.
Moore even weighed in on that race by endorsing Cynthia Nixon in a tweet:
That race, won by Cuomo by a large margin, was bitter and ugly, though many New York progressives, such as their brightest star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have ended up endorsing Cuomo in the general election.
And what do progressives get in return when they endorse “pragmatic” Democrats like Governor Cuomo?
The one finger salute, apparently.
When asked by a reporter about Ocasio-Cortez’ upset win in a congressional primary in Queens this summer, Cuomo said it was merely “a fluke” and the result of low voter turnout. In Cuomo’s estimation, the progressive wave is “not even a ripple.”
Those are the words of a Democrat comfortable alienating 40 percent of his base, knowing he’ll get their general election vote regardless of how he belittles their movement and ideas.
Moore keeps telling progressives, “Democrats will never succeed by continuing to elect the same old party hacks.” That in fact is the real message underscoring Fahrenheit 11/9. All the negative stuff in the movie about Donald Trump seems included for entertainment purposes only.