Before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America, most pollsters and pundits thought it couldn't happen. In fact, those who predicted his success were openly laughed at. Among the early predictors of Trump's win was none other than Michael Moore, George W. Bush's least favorite filmmaker. Since the summer of 2016, Moore had been warning us all that Trump would win. As we got even closer to the election date, he gave us a list of reasons why Trump's victory was imminent. Sadly, he was right about almost all of them.
Best known for his award-winning documentaries like Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, you would be forgiven for not knowing Moore once made a fiction film. Released in 1995, Canadian Bacon made a total of $178,104 (on an $11 million budget) but gained a bit of cult status. Revisiting it in 2017, the movie may have been Moore's first realistic prediction of Trump as president, albeit it an unintentional one.
While Canadian Bacon hasn't aged amazingly—there's a lot of bad slapstick comedy and zany sound effects—Brooklyn-based comedian Slade Sohmer pointed out on Twitter that the film's plot is remarkably similar to what's happening with Trump's recent targeting of Canada for a trade war.
Canadian Bacon stars Alan Alda as a pretty incompetent president of the US who's not doing great in the polls. (Sound familiar?) At the suggestion of his advisers, played by Rip Torn and Kevin Pollak, the president tries to find an enemy to raise his approval rating (whoa) after a failed attempt at starting a new Cold War with Russia (I wonder why?). While watching television, the president sees an American sheriff (played by John Candy) get into a fight at a hockey game after insulting Canadian beer, which is when he gets the great idea to pick a fight with Canada. (South Park: The Movie would also mine similar territory.)
While Canadian Bacon isn't about a war that starts because of bacon (which would be totally fine, actually), it's about making Canada a real enemy of the United States. And while Canada and the US have been pretty chill neighbors over the past century, Trump has been engaging in some inflammatory rhetoric toward the country that feels alien to most Canadians.
As pointed out in Sohmer's tweet, Canadian Bacon's plot all sounds a lot like our current overly dramatic and confusing battle over softwood, lumber, and Wisconsin dairy, which seemed to blow up overnight thanks to Trump. While Alda plays the president as a lot less, uh, "evil" than Trump, he's very insecure, relying on his advisers to make decisions for him and make him look good (ahem, kind of like Trump).
Currently, Trump's approval rating is a historically low 43 percent. In fact, it's the lowest ever 100-day rating of any president in American history, lower even than that of Gerald Ford, who infamously pardoned Nixon (his approval rating after 100 days was 48 percent). In Canadian Bacon, anti-Canadian propaganda gets a few people from Niagara Falls, New York, all riled up and ready to fight. A vocal critic of NAFTA, Trump has already begun stirring the pot by saying Canada has been treating the US "unfairly," and he plans on taxing Canada up to 20 percent for softwood lumber coming out of the country.
After an emergency call with Trump, a statement from Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau's office didn't sound too reassuring about the chat with the president, while Trump somehow thought it was a super chill and "amicable" conversation.
Just recently in Wisconsin, Trump vaguely spoke of dairy policies and said he was going to call up Canada and ask what's up. He then ominously told a crowd of farmers, "They might give us an answer, but we're going to get the solution, not just the answer, OK?" Wake up people, we're next.
While I would like to go on the record saying I do not want a war between the US and Canada, maybe this whole "slowly turn regular people against Canadians" thing wouldn't be the worst idea. If all else fails, we all know that America could totally take over Canada pretty easily.
But back to Michael Moore.
Without the foil of George W., Moore really hasn't been very politically relevant since the Iraq invasion. (Fahrenheit 911 really made over $200 million at the box office.) But with Trump in office, maybe it's time to start taking him seriously as a political Nostradamus and figure out exactly how much time we have left on this planet.
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