I enjoy Michael Moore’s documentaries, but I’ve always thought they were largely unpersuasive because he preaches to the choir. He really only talks to the people who already agree with him. With Trumpland, and the stakes so high, Michael Moore finally attempts to identify with the other side, and this film is his plea to them.
Officially, Michael Moore is not exactly a Clinton supporter himself. He voted Bernie Sanders in the primary, and even voted against Bill in the 90s. But now it’s time to get real. Donald Trump was a good joke for a while, but now the threat is a little too real and he’s coming out swinging.
What this film, which is not in the normal style of a Michael Moore documentary, but more just a filmed speech that he gave in the heart of Trumpland (Ohio), gets right is that he doesn’t waste time bashing Trump. Arguably, Trump does a good enough job of that himself. Instead, Moore looks toward Hillary as not just a viable alternative, but the only real choice.
Moore tries to justify the mystifying support of Trump by
a) Identifying the disenfranchised and understanding where they’re coming from. The current system has left some people (the former middle class) without dignity, and they’re pushing back, which is a normal response.
b) Speaking up for the angry, older white men (among which he counts himself) who find themselves going extinct and will not go down without a fight.
Of course, Trump is not the answer to either of those problems. Trump is going to make sure the whole country goes down in flames, whether you voted for him or not. But some people just don’t like Hillary, and to those people, Moore says: that’s okay. It’s okay to hate Hillary. You can hate her and still vote for her, for the love of your country, because you don’t want to see it destroyed, because you’re willing to make a sacrifice for the land you call home.