Is The Obamas’ First Netflix Project a Swipe at Trump’s Promises on American Manufacturing and Jobs?


Higher Ground Productions, the film company headed by former first couple Barack and Michelle Obama, is one day away from releasing their first documentary in partnership with Netflix. Interestingly, between the movie’s subject matter and the current sociopolitical climate, questions are being raised about whether the Obamas meant the film to be a shot at President Donald Trump.

American Factory tells the story of an abandoned General Motors plant in Ohio that gets a new life after being purchased by a Chinese billionaire’s manufacturing company. While the situation seems promising at first when local blue-collar workers get their jobs back, problems arise when they learn that they’re no longer making as much money, that they were hired to teach Chinese workers how to do their jobs, and that they could be replaced by robots and automated machines in the near future.

Since the film captures many of struggles troubling manufacturing workers in the American midwest, Politico’s Ted Johnson wrote a piece suggesting the film is meant to be an anti-Trump statement ahead of the 2020 election. Johnson acknowledges that the film never mentions the president by name, but the key takeaway is “Trump’s promise to reinvigorate the industrial heartland is going to take a lot more than a campaign slogan.”

From the article:

“There are no easy solutions. And if some manufacturing jobs do come back, they’re going to look nothing like they used to. Americans will have to accept a new reality to stay competitive in the global marketplace—one that they might not like, and one that Trump doesn’t acknowledge.”

Johnson goes on to critique Trump’s record on manufacturing and jobs, all while saying that the administration’s policies have not been able to keep manufacturing plants competitive in the global marketplace. The overall conclusion is that blue collar workers continue to face an uncertain future between globalization and questions of how long Trump’s growth agenda can really last.

Watch above, via Netflix

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