Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump walked into Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds to Twisted Sister’s heavy-metal anthem, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
It set a fitting tone not only for the night in Raleigh but for Trump’s campaign, which is anti-political establishment to say the least.
And considering the raucous reception he received from thousands of people who attended the campaign stop, the establishment should be worried.
Trump’s rise in the polls for the Republican nod for president is a sign that the American public is fed up with politics as usual in Washington. Trump’s success with everyday folks should be a call to action for all of today’s politicians.
But whether Trump can make it better is a question voters will – and should – be asking themselves over the next few months.
“We have a movement going on,” Trump said as he greeted the crowd. “This is a movement. We’re going to take our country back. We’re going to be a smart country, not a stupid country led by stupid people.”
Trump said what his followers wanted to hear. He’s OK with waterboarding or “a couple of steps beyond.” He would stop terrorism. He would build a wall at the Mexican border (that Mexico will pay for). He will send Syrian refugees in America back to the Middle East. He would “build our military so big and so strong and so powerful that nobody, nobody, nobody is going to mess with us.”
He’s going to protect the Second Amendment. He’s going to help veterans. He’s going to cut taxes more than any other candidate, with the middle class the main beneficiary. He’s going to get rid of Common Core. And repeal Obamacare. And create jobs for college graduates.
During a question-and-answer session, a woman in the crowd, choking back tears, said: “Look around you. You’ve tapped into the American consciousness of ‘we, the people.’ You’ve reignited the fire and the hope in America. Thank you.”
During an hour-long talk interrupted a half-dozen times by hecklers and protesters, Trump also deemed President Barack Obama a “great, great divider.” “There is hatred between people,” he said. “We want to bring them together.”
But Trump didn’t offer specifics about how he’s going to do all of those things. (Yes, I know more detailed plans are on his website, DonaldJTrump.com.) He did say that he has more energy than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and GOP candidate Jeb Bush. He’s right.
But is he just another politician who says what people want to hear and makes promises, then doesn’t – or can’t – deliver? That’s the question voters should ask themselves.
Trump exited the stage to the same Twisted Sister song, which sums up his candidacy.
We’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it.
We’re not gonna take it anymore.
We’ve got the right to choose and there ain’t no way we’ll lose it.
This is our life, this is our song.
We’ll fight the powers that be just don’t pick our destiny ’cause you don’t know us, you don’t belong.
Patrick Gannon writes about state government and politics.