Michael Moore’s “To-Do List” is mostly nonsense

Michael Moore posted a Morning After To-Do List on Facebook, and it’s been making the rounds. He’s got five items on it. Because so many people seem to agree with him, I thought it was worth looking at his suggestions one at a time.

1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.

I actually do agree with this one…to a point.

Presumably he’s talking about Hillary getting the nomination rather than Bernie. Yes, the DNC did a lot of shady stuff during the primaries, and that was wrong, and it needs to be fixed. Yes, the Democrats’ primary process (and the Republicans’ too, for that matter) is byzantine and dysfunctional. Yes, voters have a right to be mad.

But let’s be real: Even if the primaries reflected voters’ desires perfectly, Hillary probably still would’ve gotten nominated. And even if Bernie had won, there’s absolutely no way to know if he would’ve beaten Trump. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. So let’s not get too terribly cranked up over this.

2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.

I keep hearing people say “The pollsters were wrong, the pollsters were wrong.” If you actually look at the data, the pollsters were pretty damn close. Polls predicted Hillary would win by an amount barely above the margin of error. Nate Silver — who I admire even more after this election — had a statistical model based mostly on the polls, and he gave Trump a 25% chance of winning, which is fairly high. (If you flipped a coin twice and got tails both times, you wouldn’t be terribly surprised.)

Also, good polling is extremely difficult to do. You have to account for a million implicit biases. To the extent that the pollsters “failed” at all, they failed at a very, very difficult job. And nobody — not Michael Moore, not Donald Trump, I mean nobody — knew who was going to win. This was a very close, very uncertain, staggeringly complex race, and the world just isn’t as predictable as we’d like it to be.

Moore says we shouldn’t try to “heal the divide” or “come together.” That’s absurd, and it’s a very Trump-like thing to say. Trump is all about us vs. them. But the whole point is that we’re supposed to be better than Trump, not just on the opposite side. And if Moore thinks that “coming together” has to mean compromising your principles, then he’s confused about what those words mean.

3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin.

So let me get this straight. For the last eight years, we (i.e., liberals) have been angry about the GOP’s knee-jerk obstructionism, and now that we’re on the other side, it’s our moral obligation to…do the exact same thing?

Of course we have to fight and resist whatever insanity is coming. But don’t sink to Trump’s level. Fight back in a way that demonstrates how we want our democracy to work.

4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.

Being shocked is not only natural, it’s reasonable. I fully understood that Trump had a decent shot at winning. But it’s one thing to know that you might get punched in the gut, and it’s quite another thing when it actually happens.

As for the media — yes, they carry some share of the blame, but only some. During the election, I saw dozens and dozens of articles and editorials that spelled out Trump’s insanity in big, clear letters. At some point, the voters themselves have to bear responsibility.

Moore’s right about one thing: Everyone, liberals and conservatives alike, tends to create a self-reinforcing opinion bubble, and we do need to fight that habit. We do need to understand the anger, the despair, and the arguments of the human beings who live outside our comfort zone.

One might almost say that we need to…come together and heal the divide?

5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote…by a margin of 0.2%. If a butterfly in Florida had flapped its wings differently, Trump might have won. The truth is, they tied.

Yes, the Electoral College needs to disappear. But let’s be honest: How many liberals would be complaining about it right now if it had gotten Hillary elected? By all means, let’s reform the system, but let’s do it for the right reasons.

Whew. Okay. That felt good.

So this has been three political posts in a row. Next post is about something else, I promise!

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3 responses to “Michael Moore’s “To-Do List” is mostly nonsense

  1. I’m too lazy to state all the statistical reasons I agree with you about polling and having a representative portion of the population in your sample size, so I’m just going to say 1) nicely stated and 2) ❤ to Betsy, you and Evan!

  2. …we’re supposed to be better than Trump.

    Exactly. The only behaviour we can potentially control is our own, so we start by making it as morally close to the behaviour we want as we can.

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