According to the polls as of today, Donald Trump would lose handily to Joe Biden. But Michael Moore warns that Democrats may be getting suckered into complacency like they were in 2016, and that there is a real risk of them losing again.
The documentary film-maker Michael Moore has warned that Donald Trump appears to have such momentum in some battleground states that liberals risk a repeat of 2016 when so many wrote off Trump only to see him grab the White House.
“Sorry to have to provide the reality check again,” he said.
Moore, who was one of few political observers to predict Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, said that “enthusiasm for Trump is off the charts” in key areas compared with the Democratic party nominee, Joe Biden.
“Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to pull this off?” Moore posted on Facebook late on Friday.
Moore identified opinion polling in battleground states such as Minnesota and Michigan to make a case that the sitting president is running alongside or ahead of his rival.
“The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states – but not Michigan. Sound familiar?” Moore wrote, presumably indicating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race when she made the error of avoiding some states that then swung to Trump.
In general, when there is an election where the president is running for re-election, the strategy for the incumbent is to paint a rosy picture of the current state of things, that everything is better than it was four years before when they took office, claim credit for the improvements, and promise better things to come.
But Trump cannot do that. The stark effects of the pandemic, the mass unemployment and hardships that people are suffering, and the widespread unrest due to police brutality due to systemic racism, cannot be lied away, however much he tries. So he has taken the tack of arguing that the bad situation is due to the party not holding the White House and that if the Democrats win, things will get worse and that it is only he who can make things better. He is trying to run as a challenger, not as an incumbent. This is an implausible argument in that since he is the one in power, these bad things are all happening on his watch and if he could make things better, why hasn’t he done so already? But reason and logic have long since disappeared in the Trump era. This strategy is meant to give his supporters a reason to stick with him.
When an incumbent president runs again, the election is usually a referendum on them and people tend to vote on whether they are happy with the way things are going or unhappy. But another factor that Moore points out is enthusiasm. It has to be conceded that Trump voters, with their cult-like devotion to their Dear Leader, are probably more enthusiastic about him that Joe Biden voters are about him. But what does enthusiasm translate into in practical terms?
I think that Trump voters will vote for him and those who hate Trump will vote for Biden. Where enthusiasm plays a role in the willingness of ordinary people to actively go out and campaign among their friends and neighbors and their community. The people who are willing to do that are the ones who are enthusiastic about their candidate, not those who simply hate the opponent. This is why it is not enough to paint the opponent in a dark light. It is important to excite people about your own candidate. The wins by insurgent candidates in down-ballots races were because those candidates excited voters who were willing to put in long hours to gain the wins. It is imperative that the Biden-Harris ticket excite voters to vote for them, not just against Trump, and that means putting forward an agenda that people can get excited about.