“You have a movement going on like we haven’t seen, they say ever in our country,” GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told a sea of sign waving supporters from an airport hanger in New Orleans, Louisiana on the eve of the state’s presidential primary election.
Trump went on to claim future victories in states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan — Ohio and Florida being particularly notable as the home states of rival candidates Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio. Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas in the deluge of Super Tuesday contests.
Trump thanked Louisiana resident Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, then cited a CNN poll that puts the GOP frontrunner at 49 per cent in the state. He then remarked that Rubio, Cruz,and Kasich came in far behind him.
“Maine is looking really good and Louisiana is looking really good. I tell ya we have about a 20 point lead,” Trump told the exuberant crowd before urging those gathered that they must come out and vote.
Voters in four states will head to polls or caucuses on Saturday to register their vote in the GOP presidential nomination process. Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine will decide whether to support Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich in closed primaries.
“Movements are no good if you lose,” Trump declared. “We have a movement and we’ve gotta win, but we’ve gotta win big.”
“I am just the messenger. We’re in this together,” Trump said drawing on his increasing focus on painting himself as a uniter and not a divider.
On Thursday morning, 2012 failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a highly promoted, last minute speech from Utah in which he assailed frontrunner Trump on issue after issue. The speech echoed the words of Rubio with phrases like, “Here’s what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
Trump called Romney a choke artist to his Louisiana audience, a name he has also called this cycle’s establishment leader, Rubio. “He’s upset because when he sees this happening, he never had it happening with him.” Trump said of Romney’s 2012 bid. “It was a race that should’ve been won, remember that, and he gave up,” Trump added. President Barack Obama won re-election over Romney in the 2012 race.
“Millions of people are going out to vote that never gave a d**n before,” Trump went on to declare. “You look at Alabama, how do we love Alabama, alright? Tennessee.”
The primary voter turnout numbers have been remarkable, with increases in 2016 over 2012 of 386 percent in Virginia, 261 percent in Arkansas, and 154 percent in Tennessee.
Trump said, “We are going to win against Hillary Clinton so easily.” He continued speaking of the general election should he become the Republican nominee: “We’re going to win Michigan…. For the other guys, Michigan is not in play.”
“We have a shot at winning New York. Can you imagine what would happen if we won New York? Republicans do not even campaign in New York, it’s gone, it’s over, it’s done. A lot delegates obviously, it’s New York. New York loves Trump. Remember, New York values. Ted Cruz was knocking the h**l out of ‘em. It’s good stuff.”
“We’re gonna win Pennsylvania. We’re gonna win Virginia. We’re going to win Florida. We’re gonna win Ohio,” Trump predicted.
“Mississippi, do I love Mississippi? Well we’re gonna probably win Mississippi anyway, but we love Mississippi right? But you know I’m talking about places that the Republicans don’t have a chance of winning. They wouldn’t even think in terms of Michigan, they wouldn’t think in terms of New York. And you look at the kind of polling numbers. Hillary cannot even come close to me in Michigan. And in New York we’re going to give her an awfully big run.”
“New York has been let down. Ya know upstate New York, they didn’t allow them to frack. And the place loves Trump.”
Trump claimed that if fracking were allowed in New York, there would be lower taxes and no debt and the state would have made a fortune. Instead, he said, Pennsylvania took all of that money.
Trump also took the opportunity to laud some of his most conservative endorsements ahead of Saturday’s voting, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), former Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
He emphasized to the cheering crowd the opportunity to grow his volume of support. “We’re not capped, because people are coming out of the Democrats and they’re coming into our party. And they’re coming out of the independents and we’re blowing it through the lid,” he said.
There were also the regular Trump rally protest interruptions, where the GOP frontrunner throws the protester or protesters out of the rally and relishes getting press cameras to show the size of the crowd.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana