"I wanted to do something subversive"

Michael Moore In TrumpLand - in his own words.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Moore: "Don't trust these polls!"
Michael Moore: "Don't trust these polls!" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

On the morning of the final presidential debate between Donald J Trump and Hillary Clinton, a press screening was held at the IFC Center of Michael Moore In TrumpLand, before the film opened in New York on Wednesday afternoon. After the screening, the director of Where To Invade Next expressed his concerns about the upcoming voter turnout.

Michael Moore: "If people could just vote at home from their remote control or their Xbox Hillary would win in a landslide."
Michael Moore: "If people could just vote at home from their remote control or their Xbox Hillary would win in a landslide." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Moore In TrumpLand is a film about his one-man show on October 6 and 7. 2016 at the Murphy Theater in Wilmington, Ohio, in Clinton County, which decidedly is not Clinton country. There he at first jokes and is self-deprecating, and then launches into a fresh approach to explain why voting for Hillary Clinton is an exciting choice and that she could very well surprise us the way Pope Francis did.

This is what he had to say following the screening:

Michael Moore: Sometimes the choir needs a song to sing. And the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary by people who are even planning on voting for her, who are not looking forward to waking up at 5 in the morning that day and go out there to vote and bringing ten people with them - that lack of enthusiasm is frightening. This is not going to be about who people like the most. If people could just vote at home from their remote control or their Xbox Hillary would win in a landslide. This is about who's going to get out people on November 8. And in Michigan, in Ohio, in Wisconsin, in Pennsylvania, that's called winter - November 8. Nearly two feet of snow.

Michael Moore's Where To Invade Next poster
Michael Moore's Where To Invade Next poster Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

We're going to have one of the lowest voter turnouts because the majority of the country hates the two choices. So who wins a low voter turnout? Usually the one with the most rabid supporters. Hillary's supporters are not rabid about her. But Trump's are. And they will get out there and they will vote. The Michigan primary in March, that morning Hillary was ahead of Bernie by 22 points in a Channel 2 News poll in Detroit. In the national poll, she was ahead by 8 to 20 points that day. 12 hours later she goes down to defeat to Bernie Sanders in Michigan. Don't trust these polls!

I wanted to do something subversive here. Something that wouldn't be expected. I of all people to be making the case for Hillary. Nobody needs a film to tell you that Donald Trump is full of shit and an awful human being. So I thought it would be interesting, what if I wrote this one-man show and then perform it in hostile territory in a Republican town. There's 26,000 voters in that county and 1,000 and something voted for the Democrat in the primary in Ohio. So it was serious Republican territory. We recruited, I wanted to make sure there were Trump people there, or people leaning towards him, people thinking of voting for him. So, of the 700 people in the theater, there probably were 150 to 200 people that were in that category. We didn't go looking for the rabid racists. There were people like me that grew up in an autoworker family in town. So we went to the unions. People that have voted Democratic in the past and are now thinking of voting for Trump.

Michael Moore with Jon Alpert and Morgan Spurlock DCTV groundbreaking
Michael Moore with Jon Alpert and Morgan Spurlock DCTV groundbreaking Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

You could make Trump jokes forever. He writes his own satire. It's a daily shit show of satire with Trump. And everybody knows all the details - from his taxes to how he treats women, to everything. So what isn't happening is - how often do you hear someone get enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton? You don't hear it. You certainly don't hear it from guys. I certainly have a lot of respect for her as a human being.

What if she turned out to surprise everybody? And she hasn't forgotten how she was treated? In a way that Pope Francis … what I know abut Argentina and he was the head of the Jesuit order there, I don't remember reading about what he had done. I didn't see a lot and he turned out to surprise everybody. And what if she does that? That's all I'm saying. I'm not trying to give false hope or optimism. I'm just saying we have to acknowledge that the possibility exists.

"I wanted to do something subversive here. Something that wouldn't be expected."
"I wanted to do something subversive here. Something that wouldn't be expected." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

The Washington Post pointed out two weeks ago, 50% of the guns in this country are owned by only 3% of the people. Which is scary enough. That's 9 million people have about 160 million guns … I just had to put this together. I've been writing this all year - I didn't know what I was going to do with it. Production started 11 days ago and we finished it 7 o'clock yesterday morning [October 18] … The Billy Bush tape was released four hours before we taped this … Just remember how you felt after he [Trump] attacked the Gold Star parents? That was the end of it, right there, right? Or he is mocking the Purple Heart? That's the end of it. Or when he starts yelling at that baby? The woman with the baby at the rally? It doesn't matter. We know this about him and none of this matters. And I'm telling you again - to the guys, where I'm from, you know, they think he is being attacked for being a normal heterosexual male. It's interesting that the poll taken two days after the Billy Bush tape, she went up like 8 points. But then in the next poll, the day after the debate, she lost four of those points.

The more I saw Hillary supporters doing their end zone dance, like it was all over, the more I kept thinking, you are electing Donald Trump! Every time you relax your shoulders and feel all gooey inside because he is such an asshole and he is imploding and the polls look so good - you are helping to possibly elect him. … I don't trust any of this. I saw the polls in Michigan be completely wrong. So I just decided I had to do it [the film].

What I hope, my sincere hope - that Trump because he is the embodiment of every disgusting male trait and everything about white privilege and the rich - it's all rolled into one disgusting person, one awful candidate. And people get to go to the polls, they get a chance on November 8 to not just vote for Hillary, but to defeat misogyny and racism and the sense of privilege that he has. The most fascinating thing about the Billy Bush bus to me was that. I will wager that was the first time Donald J Trump was ever on a bus. … Am I surprised by his misogyny? No. Am I surprised about [George] W's [Bush] cousin acting like an asshole? No. But that Trump allowed himself to actually be on a bus? … So, the humour and my sense of optimism … This is not a movie for cynics.

Michael Moore in TrumpLand began with one week exclusive runs in New York at the IFC Center and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino on Wednesday, October 19th.

Michael Moore In TrumpLand
Michael Moore In TrumpLand

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