Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky are a couple of left wingers that have received a lot of credit lately for the insight that they had to offer into American politics. Following the American presidential election last week, one that saw Donald Trump win the electoral college vote, most political commentators were shocked however Chomsky and Moore were both cited as individuals that saw the election result coming. However, I think a critical look at the two predictions shows that Moore's has a lot more of one simple thing: specifics.
What Noam Chomsky said and when
Noam Chomsky made comments on certain factors that he thought might lead to a far-right candidate winning a future election. However, he did not state that Donald Trump would win specifically. That being the case, why is there the common kind of headline regarding Chomsky like the very uncritical one that you find at DailyKos.com for example: "Noam Chomsky's spot-on prediction of a Donald Trump presidency in 2010" (Walker Einenkel/November 9th)? Calling what Chomsky said "spot-in" really bends things around.
Chomsky claimed in April of 2010 (remember that date): "If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble...What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? (In Weimar Republic Germany) it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority....I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
One important detail that is overlooked with a lot of the writers (not all of them) that are lauding this 'prediction' is the date. Chomsky said what he said in 2010 regarding "the next election" (my emphasis). His comments should therefore be taken to reflect on the 2012 election result, not the 2016 one. That election was won by Barrack Obama and the Democrats, not the "crazed Republicans" that Donald Trump is currently appointing to key positions. Those that are championing this Chomsky quote and applying it to 2016 are guilty of quoting out of context in my opinion.
Furthermore, even if we generously applied the quote to the 2016 election then the Republicans still did not "sweep" the night away. This is where some critical thought is missing. Trump won a majority of the college electoral votes, but he lost the popular vote. Clinton getting more votes than Trump hardly makes for a Republican "sweep." When I think of a "sweep" in a system with only two candidates that are taken seriously, I think of an election that is over early in the evening, not one that goes late into the night.
What Michael Moore said and when
Moore wrote in July: "I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news....Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: 'PRESIDENT TRUMP.'"
Technically right now it's president-elect Trump with the inauguration coming in January. But Moore said specifically that Trump would "win in November," something he has done. Moore listed his reasons, which are debatable.
What Moore would have said in April of 2010 is not something I know. Nor do I know who Chomsky would have suggested as the winner in the summer. But Chomsky, in April of 2010, only spoke to some forces that he was cognizant of in American society. His comments may have had some insight, but those that are writing about him predicting Donald Trump's victory are sensationalizing. Predictions are hard and I thought the Democrats would win, but if you want to be a part of a "coherent response" to Trump then that means not quoting out of context and being logical in interpretations. In conclusion, there's no shame in correcting yourselves. #DonaldTrump #MichaelMoore #NoamChomsky