Trump whips up crowd on eve of Democrats' big primary day
CHARLOTTE, USA – President Donald Trump on Monday, March 2, went on the attack against his Democratic rivals on the eve of their Super Tuesday primaries, drawing cheers at a North Carolina rally when he vowed to defeat "the radical socialists."
In a packed arena in Charlotte, Trump gleefully admitted "trolling" the Democrats ahead of their big day of nominating contests in 14 states, including North Carolina. (READ: Who's in, who's out in Democratic White House race)
Framed by a vast American flag and roaring banks of supporters, Trump delivered his trademark blend of patriotic boasts about the military, claims about his success running the economy, and insults against opponents.
Trump focused much of his assault on former vice president Joe Biden, the moderate Democrat whom polls show would stand a good chance of winning the White House in a face-off with the Republican incumbent.
Over and over, Trump mocked Biden's occasional verbal blunders, joking that former president Barack Obama's number two was so confused he was "looking forward to Super Thursday."
"Sleepy Joe doesn't even know where he is or what office he's running for," Trump said, adding that if Biden did win the election, "they're going to put him into a home."
Trump also hit out at Biden's main rival, the leftist Senator Bernie Sanders. Calling him "crazy Bernie," Trump repeated his frequent claim that the Democratic Party is trying to rob Sanders – a self-described democratic socialist – of a chance to be the nominee.
"Crazy Bernie's going to be (even) more crazy," he said to swelling laughter from the crowd.
"Eight months from now, we're going to defeat the radical socialists," Trump said.
Unlike most presidents before him, Trump has held similar rallies right from the start of his presidency – permanently running the insurgent campaign that saw him defeat Democratic heavyweight Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump clearly feeds off the cheers and sense of unity in the seething stadiums, where every one of his jokes gets laughed at and every one of his boasts gets cheered.
"We have the enthusiasm," Trump said, adding: Democrats are "fighting each other, they hate each other."
Is Trump's base enough?
But it remains to be seen whether Trump's fervent base will be enough to get him re-elected when his overall approval ratings have been below or only just at around 50% his entire time in office.
Campaign organizers say that the rallies also serve a vital purpose as data gathering machines, giving Trump a gold mine of supporters' names, emails, and telephone numbers around the country.
But the weaknesses of the Trump juggernaut are also openly on display at what he calls his Make America Great Again or Keep America Great events.
On Monday, Trump as usual made no effort to reach beyond his base, effectively preaching to the converted as he conjured dark visions of homicidal undocumented migrants, terrorists, and socialists intent on destroying the American way of life.
And, as usual, there were barely any African-Americans in the overwhelmingly white gathering.
A handful of blacks – less than half a dozen – stood directly behind the president, meaning they were in the frame of the television cameras covering the event.
"No president has done more for the black community," Trump said. – Rappler.com