Fahrenheit 11/9

Michael Moore goes negative in Fahrenheit 11/9, attacking Donald Trump, former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and the Democratic establishment. Moore begins with the tears of Hillary Clinton supporters on election night 2016 contrasted with the sober expression of winner Donald Trump.

Bill Clinton is lambasted for privatizing prisons, cutting welfare, and deregulating banks. Obama’s campaign donation from Goldman Sacks is used to explain his timidity in dealing with Wall Street. Obama’s prosecutions of whistleblowers and massive deportations also are featured. But much of the time Snyder is front and center, especially his refusal to acknowledge lead in Flint’s drinking water because he had the water source switched from pure Lake Huron to the polluted Flint River, resulting in deaths and brain damage to a city mostly African American. Yet when he learned that the lead was endangering an auto plant, he allowed the Huron water into the auto plant, not the water for the people of Flint. Snyder’s most Hitlerite move was the “emergency” legislation that allowed him to take control of Detroit, Flint, and a few other cities to override local government. Moore implies that before the pure water was restored to the people, Obama arrived to congratulate Snyder by openly drinking Flint water. Trump almost gets off the hook, though his racial prejudice is displayed in several scenes, especially his opposition to protests by football players, taking a page from Hitler’s playbook. Scenes of Hitler also give the impression that he was Trump’s role model.

The positive message is that gun control rallies yielded a Florida law while teacher demonstrations resulted in increased pay for school workers, not just teachers, and spread to Oklahoma and elsewhere. He interviews a few candidates for office who appeal to those misled into thinking that Trump was on their side. He also pushes an agenda of Medicare for all. Although Bernie Sanders occupies little film footage, Moore is clearly his supporter, angry that the Democratic establishment, which padded convention votes with superdelegates for Clinton, is obsessed with compromise in Congress. In short, the film urges Democrats to move left. No effort is undertaken to persuade Republicans, who evidently are perceived as a lost cause. MH