Michael Moore Got the Last Laugh This Election Day
When filmmaker-activist Michael Moore, a Democrat, went against the conventional wisdom that was expecting a Republican “red wave” sweeping the midterm elections, I feared Moore had become unmoored.
I wasn’t alone and it wasn’t the first time that Moore had swung so drastically against the prevailing wisdom. I felt the same reaction in 2016 when Moore said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” that Donald Trump would win the presidential race.
That was a shock, since Moore is about as far-left as Trump is MAGA-right. But he’s also a realist. Unlike the stereotypical “coastal elites” who provide the core of mainstream pundits, he claims to stay close to the grassroots Midwest cultural heartbeat of working-class folks in his native Michigan.
There he picked up on the discontent that led so many other middle-class Americans, many of whom helped elect Democrat Barack Obama twice before shifting to Trump. Although the tirelessly self-promoting star of “The Apprentice” seemed to share little in common with his socially, religiously and politically conservative core supporters, the barbs he threw at the establishment in both parties gave voice to their discontent, even if his proposed solutions were, to say the least, undernourished.
Moore picked up on that and stuck his neck out far enough to predict a Trump victory and took a lot of heat for it from his own fan base.
But now, with the Democrats retaining power in the Senate and Republicans vying for a slim House majority at best, suddenly Moore was looking like a prognosticating genius.
“We were lied to for months by the pundits and pollsters and the media,” he wrote triumphantly in his Substack newsletter. “Voters had not ‘moved on’ from the Supreme Court’s (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision) to debase and humiliate women by taking federal control over their reproductive organs. Crime was not at the forefront of the voters’ ‘simple’ minds. Neither was the price of milk.”
Well, “lied” was too strong a word, in my view, since it implies the media and pollsters knew better but puffed up the “red tsunami” anyway. Don’t blame the messenger for the message, especially when the message turns out to be right.
But there’s little doubt that the pre-election airwaves and web traffic ran heavily with commentary about the falloff in backlash over the Dobbs decision and the future of democracy after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, commentary that probably led to an undercounting of the actual anti-Republican backlash.
We can expect a lot of hand-wringing and autopsies in coming months to explain why and how so many experts got it wrong — and hardly for the first time.