Trump Officially Gets His 2020 Rock-n-Roll Show on the Road
Are you ready to rock? President Trump officially launches his 2020 campaign tonight in Orlando, Florida. Usually launches this big and explosive take place down at Cape Canaveral.
Over 100,000 people have RSVP’d for the event in a venue that holds 20,000. Supporters have already been camping out for over a day in hopes of getting in. Who lines up for days to see a politician? Joe Biden couldn’t draw this if he had Elvis as his opening act. Elizabeth Warren would have to call in all her fake tribal ancestors. Mayor Bill DeBlasio? He couldn’t draw flies to a manure factory.
What’s going on with Trump in Florida? Call it Trumpapalooza. This is Bruce Springsteen, circa 1984, frenzy. Everyone wanted a ticket. You’d camp out in a monsoon just for a shot at a seat in the nose-bleed section. Like The Boss’s “Born in the U.S.A.” tour, Trump’s re-election campaign is going to be loud, long, epic, unforgettable. Your hands will be sore, your throat will be raw, and just when you think it’s over, just when you think he can’t make your jaw drop farther, he’ll kick into another number with even more energy. Love him or hate him, The Donald gives you your money’s worth.
Similar to Other Re-Elections
Interestingly, one of Springsteen’s first overt forays into politics came when Ronald Reagan cited Bruce and the song “Born in the U.S.A.” during his 1984 re-election campaign. Springsteen, a die-hard liberal, was not happy. The Boss was right. Reagan totally missed the serious message of the song. But like Trump, The Gipper didn’t dabble with verses. He sang choruses. And like Trump, Reagan’s chorus was a full-throated, fist-in-the-air as the flag waved in the background, “I’m a cool, rockin’ daddy in the USA.” And after singing the blues in the 1970s, America in 1984 sang along.
You know all these polls today showing Trump in trouble in 2020? Reagan in early 1983 had a 35% approval rate and the Harris Survey was predicting a close re-election. Yet he ended up beating Walter Mondale as soundly as the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team beat up on Thailand. It was Morning Again in America. The sun was shining.
Jump to 1995. Bill Clinton’s first two years had been a mess. The White House was so dysfunctional Time magazine actually wondered if the presidency had grown too big for one person. Clinton had handed the House of Representatives to the GOP for the first time since the birth of rock-n-roll. The conventional wisdom about his re-election chances? The sax-blowing, skirt-chasing hick was going to be sent back to Arkansas.
I knew better. First, Clinton was a smart guy willing to learn from his mistakes. Second, Clinton was an young optimistic, energetic guy whose “Bridge to the 21st Century” would capture the gravitational pull of the 2000 Millennium. His opponent was a World War II vet, whose vision worked against that pull.
Third, Clinton was a very lucky guy.
The 1996 Summer Olympics were in Atlanta. In the good ole’ U.S. of A. As Sen. Mondale discovered in 1984 with the L.A. Olympics, good luck beating an incumbent when America has spent the summer shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A! U.S.A!”
Clinton won easily. And for much the same reason as Clinton and Reagan, Trump also will coast to victory.
Proud to be American
This may not be a popular position in the newsrooms of CNN and the Washington Post, but feeling good about America feels good to us normal people. Whooping and hollering when the colors go by is in our blood.
For eight years, Obama and our television sets harped on just how bad America is. What a joy to now have a president who hugs the flag the way progressives hug trees, Mexican gang members and abortionists. A president who walks onto the world stage bearing the American swagger. The strut that comes with giving the world freedom, a flight to the moon and the Fender guitar. Add to that a booming economy and fruitful job market, and voters are entering the 2020 election feeling pretty good about themselves and the country.
Is “Don’t believe your eyes, your heart and your checkbook. Things really stink under this guy” really going to fly in 2020? Do any of the countless Democratic candidates have the American spit and spirit Trump brings to the show? Do any really seem to adore and welcome the American people? Trump is a stadium show in Middle America. Those guys and gals are coffeehouses in Greenwich Village and Georgetown. (Well, Biden may be a run-down bar in Pittsburgh.)
What Trump Has Many of His Predecessors Don’t
Trump will win big for one other reason: Unlike any of his recent predecessors, he’s got motivation. He wants to win big. He has to win big.
Presidents have a lot on their plate. Who wants to be out in Wisconsin giving stump speeches when you need to be in Washington wrestling with matters of state? Think of past incumbents. Jimmy Carter was juggling the Iranian hostage crisis, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and an anemic economy. George Bush seemed disinterested in his own campaign, only running out of a sense of duty. George W. Bush had the post 9/11 world and the Iraq War. Barack Obama acted as if he should be handed his second term as easily as he was handed his Nobel Prize.
Trump? He’s had to spend every day since November 9, 2016 being told he’s illegitimate. He’s not the real president. That he only won because of the Russians. That Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million votes.
If you’re Donald J. Trump, how badly do you want to win re-election? How badly do you want to run up the popular vote? How badly to you want to rub a landslide in the face of the media and your detractors?
You can almost hear the action movie trailer guy: “This time … it’s personal.”
Trump ran hard in 2016. Ran over the massive, talented GOP field. Ran through the GOP machine, the Bush machine, the formidable Clinton machine, the Obama machine, the media machine — and we’re learning, he ran through the DOJ, FBI, CIA, State Department and several foreign intelligence operations. Beat them all. This time he’ll be running like a man possessed.
We started off comparing Trump’s re-election campaign to a Bruce Springsteen tour. But in the end, Trump will stand with another son of Jersey. Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my wayYes, it was my way.
Note: Though Trump won’t kneel before man, we can pray he will kneel before God. And do it His Way. To that end, several faith leaders will be in Orlando tonight praying over the president before his official kick-off. We, too, pray the president finds divine guidance and wisdom, words from the better angels of his nature. We also pray for his safety and that of the those attending his rallies.
Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream and co-author, with @JZmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl. And if you aren’t already, please follow The Stream at @Streamdotorg.