Why Did the Trump Nomination End with This Evocative Song?

The Trump nomination ended with a classic rock song that has possible political meaning.

I have not been able to watch the Republican convention live so I missed the official Donald Trump nomination and his speech. I watched this clip thinking I would listen to the analysis. A minute into it I stopped caring about the pundits. I couldn’t believe I was hearing THAT song!

That was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by the Rolling Stones.

take our poll - story continues below

Who should replace Nikki Haley as our ambassador to the U.N.?

  • Who should replace Nikki Haley as our ambassador to the U.N.?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to The Constitution updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Trending: Science is Settled

It seems many people thought this was highly ironic. Some thought that the piece was slipped in by a Ted Cruz supporter.

But Trump has played this song before. Mick Jagger sent him a cease and desist letter a couple of months ago. Unlike other letters from other artists, Donald Trump defied the letter in this case.

He must have really wanted it played.


One thing to keep in mind is that, in the chorus, which is where the title of the song comes from, it doesn’t just tell the listener that we can’t always get what he wants. “But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find you get what you need.” There’s a positive message embedded in the song.

I wonder if Trump began playing this song because of his protesters.

We went down to the demonstration
To get your fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse”

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need 

Or perhaps he chose this song because it reminded him of Hillary Clinton.

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

As an added bonus, the name Chelsea is mentioned in the lyrics.

But it could have wider significance. Before becoming a pop star, Mick Jagger was a business student at the London School of Economics. I first heard of his song (I was never a Rolling Stones fan) because it was quoted in my textbook when I took Economics 101. That still happens; here’s an example:

You will learn quickly when you examine the relationship between economics and scarcity that choices involve tradeoffs. Every choice has a cost.

In 1968, the Rolling Stones recorded “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Economists chuckled, because they had been singing a similar tune for decades. English economist Lionel Robbins (1898–1984), in his Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science in 1932, described not always getting what you want in this way:

“The time at our disposal is limited. There are only twenty-four hours in the day. We have to choose between the different uses to which they may be put. … Everywhere we turn, if we choose one thing we must relinquish others which, in different circumstances, we would wish not to have relinquished. Scarcity of means to satisfy given ends is an almost ubiquitous condition of human nature.”

Because people live in a world of scarcity, they cannot have all the time, money, possessions, and experiences they wish. Neither can society.

Donald Trump is obviously putting together a huge, diverse coalition. Perhaps he’s signaling that we can do well for all but he can’t give everyone everything.

Or maybe he is defending his nationalism against globalism. The proper duty of the government is American interests, not running the planet. That exceeds our resources and competence.

In the Fox News discussion, I was amazed that the pundits seemed oblivious to the song. It was especially ironic to hear Brit Hume complain that Trump had not tried to win over conservatives in his speech while Mick Jagger tried to tell Brit you can’t always get what you want.

Please leave your comments below

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.