Conservative author and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson officially launched his 2016 White House bid by trashing politicians from both major parties, and urged voters to trust their own judgment.
"I think it's time for the people to rise up and take the government back," he said on a stage in Detroit.
"The political class won't like me saying stuff like that," Carson said. "I'll tell you a secret, the political class comes from both parties."
Carson cited the decision by both parties to allow the national debt to rise as a chief of example of how the entrenched political class has robbed America of its future. He criticized politicians for applauding slower increases in the national debt, which is already far too high.
"They are completely out to lunch. We have got to drive that thing back down," he said.
"You need to know who your representatives are, and you need to know how they voted, not how they said they voted," he said. "And if they voted to keep raising that debt ceiling, to keep compromising the future of our children and our grandchildren, you need to throw them out of office."
Carson also warned that the modern press has played a role in selling the broken government to the public. He said politicians and the press have conspired to convince people that unemployment is not a major concern today, even though millions of people don't count as unemployed simply because they have stopped looking for work.
"Unless you understand those kinds of things, it's eminently possible for slick politicians and biased media to convince you that everything is wonderful when your eyes tell you something different," he said.
"I'm saying to people around this nation right now, stop being loyal to a party or to a man, and use your brain to think for yourself," he said.
He later delivered a special message to the press, noting that it's protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution because it was seen as an entity on the side the people.
"Our founders envisioned a press that was on side of the people, not a press that was on the side of the Democrats or the Republicans, or the Confederates or the anti-Confederates," he said.
"This is a direct appeal to media," he said. "You guys have an almost sacred position in a true democracy. Please don't abuse it."
Carson, an unabashed conservative, followed more than 30 minutes of live gospel music, and said Americans need a leader who is able to tap into the individualism of America that has been repressed by the government. He said social spending is one area he wants to fix if he were to win the White House.
"I have no desire to get rid of safety nets for people who need them. I have a strong desire to get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people," he said. "We're not doing people a favor when we pat them on the head and say, 'There there, you poor little thing, we're going to take care of all your needs.'"
He said a Carson presidency would lead to a much more efficient government, a sentiment that seems to reflect his decades of being in business, not in politics.
"We are going to change the government into something that looks more like a well-run business than a behemoth of inefficiency," he said. He also quickly dismissed the idea that he isn't qualified to be president because he hasn't worked in politics.
"I don't have a lot of experience busting budgets," he said. "I can name a lot of people in politics who've been there all their lives, and you probably wouldn't want them to polish your shoe."