April 23, 2024 4:17 PM
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Opinion: The Great, Wasted Potential of CPAC, 2024 Version – Jared Taylor

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CPAC is the great annual jamboree of official American conservatism. Nowhere else will you find such ardent devotion to God, country, and the Constitution. Nowhere else will speaker after speaker tell you that the United States is the greatest nation in history — and in the next breath tell you that it is on the very brink of destruction.

But this year, something towered over even God, country, and the Constitution: Donald John Trump. He — alone of all Americans — can and will save America from communists, Marxist, socialists, and globalists. CPAC idolizes this man, but no more than he does himself. And unlike two years ago, there were countless ringing assertions that men are not women, that Israel is our greatest ally, and that the southern border is a disgrace.

CPAC is overwhelmingly white; it is startling to see a black face, and there is only the slightest sprinkling of Asians or Hispanics. But, of course, its whiteness is accidental; regrettable, really. The audience cheers wildly for every black speaker.

There was much roaring about “invasion” and many calls for “the greatest deportation program in the history of America,” but I never heard the words “the great replacement” or even a suggestion of it. Illegal immigration is bad because it is illegal and uncontrolled; it means human trafficking and fentanyl. It overwhelms social services. But I heard not one word about the dispossession of whites or even of the displacement of Christianity, which so many speakers said is central to their own and to America’s identity.

CPAC is a tragic spectacle: thousands of earnest, patriotic white people, determined to “fight for America,” but who don’t understand — or if they do, won’t admit — that the America they think they are fighting for will die without white people. The country took that for granted until the mid-20th century, but not one word may be breathed about it at CPAC. Speakers denounce “cancel culture” and “censorship,” but “conservatives” police speech just as rigorously as YouTube. In the dim past, it was possible to ask questions from the floor; that’s now impossible. Who knows what heresies might be spoken?

In other respects, this was a surprising CPAC. Compared to the meeting in Orlando, which I attended two years ago, the crowd looked smaller, which was odd for an election year — even though registration cost just $95 rather than $290. Several people who have attended Turning Point USA events told me that they get bigger crowds and draw off many young people.

Compared to 2022, the exhibit area was small and desolate, and there was more oddball stuff for sale: woke tears to drink by the bottle, a vibrating machine you stand on to reduce stress and hop up your sex life, a Trump hammock for $545.25, even a Jan 6 insurrection pinball game you win by overturning the election.

And then there were the kooks. The Trump Tribe was very much in evidence, and a transvestite Lady MAGA flounced about every day.

Broadcasters pay to set up on-site studios, so they can grab speakers for interviews. Spanish-language Vox was there, Andrew and Jerry were saving the world, you could watch American Thought Leaders in action in person, and there was a lady to help you take back your power.

 

In the main hall, which must seat 2,000 people but was usually half empty, speakers came on and off stage to thumping disco music. There were many panels and even most individual speakers got no more than 15 minutes. Once they had finished congratulating the audience on being there and praised God and Donald Trump, there wasn’t much time for deep thought, but deep thought is not what the audience wants. It wants to shout and cheer, and goggle at celebrities — even though the speakers are so far away, most people can see them only on huge video screens. 

Black Florida Congressman Byron Donalds got what seemed to be the obligatory affirmative-action standing ovation. “The thing that is hurting us the most is that we are divided,” he said, and explained that “America being in a dominant position is the best thing for the people of the world.” “We stand with Israel, which should obliterate Hamas from the face of the earth.” He thundered against “the invasion,” and asked Joe Biden: “Which matters more to you: the borders of the United States or the border of Ukraine?” (Applause) He said if the government has to be shut down to close the border, we should shut it down.

The first thing Mark Robinson said was that he was the first-ever black lieutenant governor of North Carolina and was determined to become the first-ever black governor. (Wild applause) He said Donald Trump will save us from “wide-open borders,” that “God gave us freedom and we need to protect it,” and that “David beat Goliath because he loved God.” (Standing ovation)

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said he retired from coaching college football to run for the Senate “because our children are being indoctrinated with the gender, woke, DEI socialist agenda.” “It all goes back to Christian morality.” Democrats “hate Christianity, and if you pull out the Constitution, they run like it had a crucifix on it.” But “Donald Trump will win, and we’re going to put Christian values back in this country.” He said that sports made America the “greatest country ever,” but also said, “I haven’t voted a dime for Ukraine because I know they can’t win.” He assured us that we will succeed because “our number-one asset is our young people.” Perhaps he doesn’t know that whites are already a minority of Americans under age 18.

I paid close attention to a panel called “Trump’s Wall vs. Biden’s Gaps.” Congressman Mark Green, who is leading the impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas, said he has a “smoking-gun” document in which the DHS secretary ordered the agency not to enforce the law. He said he will put on a full case for impeachment in the Senate, but that Senator Chuck Schumer will do everything to stop that, because it will be a constant reminder of President Biden’s treason at the border. Mr. Green noted that so many Chinese and terrorists are coming in that “every one of us should be scared to death.” If we ever fight China, he said, “the Chinese will spy for China.” There was much applause when he said Mr. Trump promises mass deportations.

Tom Homan, former ICE director, echoed the promise: “You illegals, don’t get too comfortable.” He pointed out that since nine tenths of asylum applications are rejected, the law requires that they be deported, which means millions of expulsions. He called Mr. Biden “the first president who ever came into office and deliberately unsecured the border.” He was angry because “the more illegal immigrants come, the more die trying, the more Americans die of fentanyl, and the more women are raped and trafficked.” He mentioned no other reason to stop the flow.

Tom Homan being interviewed for a podcast

There was a panel called “Genesis 1:27,” the Bible verse that says, “So God created mankind in his own image, male and female he created them.” The message to “the transgender-for-profit industry” was: “Stay the hell away from our children.”

Liz Truss, who was British prime minister for 45 days in 2022, explained that the Left “and their woke agenda and DEI are aided and abetted by our enemies overseas, Russia, Iran, and especially the Chinese.” She complained about the British equivalent of RINOS or C-NOs “conservatives in name only.”

“It’s not enough to have the right ideas and to be in office,” she said. Conservatives need to be brave enough to do things that might mean “not being invited to dinner parties.” In a hostile environment of media, universities, and churches, “they need to be in power, not just hold office” — a nice turn of phrase.

To much applause, Miss Truss said Britain and the United States “are exceptional; we are great nations,” but the worrying title of her forthcoming book — which she touted vigorously — is Ten Years to Save the WestTop of the to-do list: Cut taxes, reign in the administrative state, secure our borders, and make sure people can start families.

Shortly after her talk, I slightly shocked a correspondent for the Daily Mirror by explaining to him that the Truss approach will be a complete failure because it won’t keep the West white. “Africans and Muslims don’t give a hoot about 1066 or Magna Carta,” I told him. “They hate Britain and everything the West stands for.”

Three Jews were on a panel called “Would Moses Go to Harvard?” Josh Hammer of Newsweek said he was harassed when he tried to give a talk at a university: “I saw evil, I saw absolute malice.” He then criticized his critics because “they see you as pure evil.” Brooke Goldstein founded the Lawfare Project, composed of 600 lawyers whose “sole objective is doing litigation on behalf of the Jewish community.” She explained that Jews fought for gay rights, blacks rights, and immigrant rights, “but there has never been a Jews for Jews movement . . . . Jews have never taken advantage of the legal system in our own interest.” The Lawfare Project has sued Columbia and Carnegie Mellon for letting Palestinians speak hate and persecute Jews. “Antisemitism is a civil rights issue,” she said, and “we will continue to file these seminal civil-rights cases until we end Jew-hatred in our lifetimes.”

I learned that there are pro-Palestine rallies with swastikas. As for whether Moses would attend Harvard, “Would he even be admitted to Harvard? He might even be assaulted.” A Jewish student at UC Santa Barbara said that “Academia has been infected with horrific antisemitism” and that “publicly visible Jews face hatred.”

A panel called “Babies are Us” emphasized that “explaining fetal development” is the key to ending abortion. “We defend life from conception to natural death” because “God created every one of us.”

I wanted to hear Tulsi Gabbard but before her talk, I was recognized and interviewed by an independent film crew making a documentary about Donald Trump’s 2024 run for a second term.

Nayib Bukele, the 43rd president of El Salvador, is famous for cutting crime by locking up tens of thousands of criminals. He seemed almost bewildered by rapturous standing ovation even before he began to speak — in surprisingly good English.

He noted the conference’s motto for 2024: “CPAC is where globalism comes to die.” In El Salvador,” he said, “it’s already dead.” He explained that the process took two civil wars and 250,000 dead, and that “you don’t want to wait 50 years.” “Look at Baltimore, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco. Crime and drugs everywhere because police are afraid to do their job. That is what we had.” “Look at the people who are supporting this. Is it by ignorance or by design?” “We had to remove corrupt judges, attorneys, prosecutors.” (Thunderous applause) We went from the most dangerous country in the world to the safest country in the Western Hemisphere.” (More thunderous applause) “We do not politicize our judiciary or prosecute our opponents.”

“The people of El Salvador have woken up, and so can you.” “Institutions are created to serve the people, not the other way around . . . Don’t defend institutions; defend the principles that created them.”

Mr. Bukele gave fiscal advice. “The American monetary system is paper backed by paper. The US national debt is a bubble that will inevitably burst.” Unless Americans “change government top to bottom” and control debt, “the dollar will fall, and it will take civilization down with it.”

“God bless El Salvador. God bless the United States. God bless our countries.” He walked off the stage to another roaring ovation. I never thought I would see a hall full of white Americans shout themselves hoarse over a Palestinian-Salvadoran (rightly) telling them how to run the United States.

Daily Wire writer and podcaster Michael Knowles had some good lines: “America has an identity crisis because it can’t control its borders.” “Diversity is not a strength.” “We are not a nation of immigrants.” Libs want what they call liberation, but it is “liberation from borders, standards, even from biology.” However, the solution is strictly spiritual. “When the people cease to be religious, the Constitution ceases to function,” and “the decline of religion has eroded our identity.”

Stephen Miller, former White House advisor and head of America First Legal echoed Liz Truss: “There is something broken in the conservative brain. Conservatives are afraid to get and use real power . . . . You elect people in the expectation that they will exercise power. They don’t.” Mr. Miller called selective prosecution of conservatives “the most serious problem this country faces.” He argued that liberals misuse “neutral laws to go after us,” but we should go one better: “pass laws that protect our friends and hurt our enemies” and “when Democrats break the law, bring it smashing down on them.”

As for immigration, “It’s simple: Seal the border and deport all illegals. (Applause) It’s implementing this that is complicated.” As a practical matter, “The National Guard should be there to establish a fortress position on the border and say, ‘No one can pass here at all’.”

Florida Congressman Cory Mills, on a panel about the Second Amendment, said, “Our greatest enemy is the United States government.” As a congressman, I guess he knows, but he got this wrong: “After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese refused to invade the United States because they were afraid of an armed citizen behind every blade of grass.” They overran the American territory Guam in the first days of the war, and tried to invade Midway as a stepping stone to Hawaii.

Congressman Mills also explained that “what keeps America free and safe is an armed citizenry” and that “our Constitution is backed by our Christian faith.” “The Second Amendment,” he added, “protects the First Amendment.”

Jack Posobiec, with Human Events and Turning Point USA, was probably the speaker with the most dissident past, but his talk was standard CPAC. The United States is “the greatest country in the history of the world” and Donald Trump will save us from “Democrats who talk about democracy, but mean authoritarianism.” He wants not just to “drain the swamp” but to “build a shining new city.” He said “there are signs the West will rise again,” and listed some, beginning with the astonishing examples of JK Rowling “now on our side” and Julian Assange. He got a little closer to the truth by then mentioning Elon Musk — he was one of very few speakers to mention Mr. Musk — and “Bukele has shown us the way.”

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, has poise, even charisma, and after hearing her speak, I understand why people think she may have a future in national politics — though there was nothing remarkable about her talk. “There are two kinds of people in this country: People who love America and people who hate America.” She said that when she has to make a decision as governor, she asks herself, “Do I have the [constitutional] power to do this?” She was very proud that she never closed a single business or issued a single order because of Covid.

Gov. Noem suggested that it is thanks to her that South Dakota has the highest birthrate in the nation. “The people of South Dakota are happy,” she said, noting that it helps not to have an income tax. She said she was proud to have been the first governor to send a guard contingent to the Texas border. “I offered to send barbed wire if Governor Abbott needs more.”

Gov. Noem slipped easily into the casual vulgarity that was common all weekend: “I’m just going to say it: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris suck.” (Applause) Donald Trump will, of course, save “the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

I was disappointed with Santiago Abascal, president of what is call the “far-right,” “anti-immigrant” Vox party of Spain. He worried mostly that “Socialism is destroying our society and hates our values” and that the left has a “totalitarian desire for power.” It is a shame that once-great Harvard now has censorship and anti-Semitism. He did oppose “massive illegal immigration” but for odd reasons: It “causes misery in the sending countries and destroys security in our countries.”

Senator J.D. Vance got a standing ovation. “It’s absurd to devote so much money and resources to a border conflict six thousand miles away [in Ukraine] when our borders are wide open.” “We have sent them decades worth of arms and will have nothing left if we have to fight China.” He said the real problem is that the Left hates Russia and that the Democrats have abandoned diplomacy. “We need a diplomatic solution,” he said. “We need to do whatever it takes to stop the bloodshed.”

“The border crisis is the biggest crisis we have,” he said, and it is by design because Joe Biden wants more Democrats. He also warned that even before they can vote, illegals count for congressional seats, so this gives power to blue states. He made an intriguing point: Most people leave Congress much richer than when they went in because they are corrupt. Donald Trump left office poorer than when he went in, and that alone would be reason to vote for him.

Broadcaster Megyn Kelly noted that hatred for Donald Trump pushed the media into “open propaganda.” They are now a “leftist propaganda machine” that “despises the MAGA voter,” but transparent bias has “destroyed the industry.” She added that legal persecution of Mr. Trump means “we have crossed the Rubicon.” She thinks Fani Willis will be removed from the case in Georgia and wondered if other DAs will even be willing to step in. She was the one person to make this point: “The only ‘plus’ to the current anti-Semitism is that our Jewish friends are finally realizing how dangerous and wrong DEI is.”

There was a panel on “Bidenomics” that denounced censorship, but gave only Covid and the Biden laptop as examples. There was much applause when a panelist shouted: “We’re not going to let them take away our gas stoves.” I learned that “one of the most evil organizations in America is the AARP,” because it is in the pocket of big medicine. Another evil organization is Pharmacy Benefit Management. “Look it up,” insisted a panelist. I also learned that “Biden’s most dangerous policy is energy policy,” and that “once we get Trump back in the White House, it’s ‘Drill, baby, drill’.”

A panel of doctors also yelled about censorship, but only of dissident Covid opinions.

Failed candidate for governor, Kari Lake, told us, “Ronald [Reagan] and Donald were the perfect men for the moment.” “Let me hear it from the ladies,” she said. “Are you tired of these beta males? Don’t we want alpha males?” (Loud chorus of yeses)

Miss Lake directly told the media in the back of the room that their companies would go bankrupt, “and when you all lose your jobs, maybe you can learn to code.” (Applause) As for illegal immigration, “We have to return these invaders back to their homelands. This will be the biggest deportation program in American history.” She warned that tax money is being poured “into the black hole known as Ukraine,” and she hopes to be a senator so she can “stop the slide into Marxism.”

“God is with us,” she said. “He is moving mountains for us this very moment. He put me on earth for this very moment.”

Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch, which he called “your watchdog in Washington.” He railed against “selective, vindictive, unconstitutional prosecutions designed to turn out country into a one-party state.” What to do in return? “Sue ’em.” (Applause) “The Biden family needs to be indicted for running a RICO organization.” Like others, he said that if the price to pay for closing the border is a government shutdown, shut it down.

Mr. Fitton was the only speaker I heard mention Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot on Jan. 6. Judicial Watch filed a wrongful death case in her name “and if it takes 30 years to get justice for Ashli, that will be 30 years well spent.” (Much applause)

Javier Milei, newly elected president of Argentina, gave a long, boring speech about the importance of free markets. His message: “Socialists mess up our lives.”

Vivek Ramaswamy said that the only way to drain the swamp — quite impossible — is to “fire three-quarters of government employees.” He, too, got applause when he called for “the largest mass deportation in American history.” He warned that Democrats are setting a trap because “Joe Biden will not be the nominee. They will move out the old man and put in someone else they can control.”

If, as he claimed, “the Constitution is the greatest guarantor of freedom in the history of the world,” it’s not working very well. Mr. Ramaswamy called human trafficking across the border “the greatest crime in the history of humanity.”

Steve Bannon bellowed like a madman. Donald Trump, he roared, is the greatest president of the 20th and 21st centuries. He and only two other Presidents, Lincoln and Washington, “linked their personal destinies to the destiny of the nation.” Mr. Bannon had marvelous proof that the 2020 election was stolen: “The New York Times is throwing Biden under the bus and backing up over him. This proves they know he is an illegitimate president.”

He called the Biden family “vermin,” and addressed the President: “You are your family are nothing but trash.” As for the charges against Mr. Trump, “You know it’s crap, he knows it’s crap, they know it’s crap.” Mr. Trump’s only crime was betraying the ruling class by trying to make the country better for ordinary working people. To the media in the back of the room: “On Nov. 5, we’ll prove you are liars, and we’ll rub your noses in it.”

The big draw, of course, was Donald Trump. The day he spoke, everyone had to go through TSA-style security. It took me half an hour.

Every seat in the hall was taken, with a huge, standing-room-only crowd penned up at the back.

Mr. Trump kept everyone waiting for an hour, while ear-splitting rock music made it almost impossible to talk to your neighbor. This, presumably, is to be the soundtrack for the salvation of America. When Mr. Trump finally came on, it was to a deafening version of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”

After all the happy yelling died down, the first thing he said was, “I won ‘best speech at CPAC’ nine years in a row,” and that he expected to win again. Mr. Trump had been slotted for 30 minutes and if he had stuck to his teleprompter, he would have finished on time, but he rambled for an hour and a half. “If crooked Joe Biden wins again, 40 to 50 million illegal aliens will crush our schools, our hospitals, our law enforcement.” Some of the illegals are “prisoners from the Congo who make our prisoners look like nice guys.” “We have the worst border in the word.”

“Biden,” I learned is “surrounded by a very bad band of fascists.” These fascists — Mr. Trump used the word several times — are “very smart but very sick people.” “Either they want to betray the country or they’re stupid, and I don’t think they’re stupid.” “They want permanent domination, and it’s because they’re sickos, that’s why.” “If we don’t stop him, this will be the end of the nation.” “The only thing standing between us and the obliteration of our nation is . . . me,” he explained. Come November, “I’m going to say to Crooked Joe Biden, ‘You’re fired. Get the hell out’.” (Frantic applause) He won in 2020, of course, but the election was rigged.

“I have been indicted more times than Alphonse Capone, and all the indictments are bullshit,” he said. “These are Stalinist show trials carried out on Biden’s orders.” “The only crime I ever committed was defending America.” “We will have to start getting nasty [with them], too.” For Democrats, therefore, “Nov. 5 will be their judgment day.”

Mr. Trump has two priorities. First, “Seal the border, stop the invasion, and send them home.” “It will be the biggest deportation in the history of the country.” (Applause) Second, “Drill, baby, drill.” Mr. Trump imitated Joe Biden hobbling pathetically around the stage. He told long stories about himself, in which he recounted conversations. Everyone, including foreign heads of state, apparently begins every sentence with “Sir” when he talks to Donald Trump. He quoted Victor Orban: “Put Trump back in and everything in the world will be fixed.” He exited to shouts of joy and James Brown’s “Hold On, I’m Coming,” about a wonderful man coming to rescue a woman in great distress.

The audience was thrilled; I wasn’t. Mr. Trump could have gone on for four more hours and the crowd would have been enthralled. I will vote for Mr. Trump for a third time, but I feel none of his so-called charisma. I don’t like lines such as “And I said to him, ‘I’m President of the United States and you’re bullshitting me’,” and vulgarity is the least of his defects.

For me personally, CPAC was very different from two years ago. I was recognized by at least 10 times as many people as in Orlando. There were even dissident journalists who sought me out for interviews.

On the first day, a lefty troll of whom I had never heard, Amanda Moore, also spotted me. She posted a photo, no doubt in the hope that CPAC would throw me out.

Later that day, an official-looking black man asked if I were Mr. Taylor and I thought he might be my escort to the door. Instead, he was a friend of a black woman, Elizabeth Wright, whom I greatly admired. He remembered that I wrote a fond remembrance of her when she died in 2011, and he wanted to shake my hand.

Yesterday, the Times of Israel reported that “Racist extremists and those touting Nazi ideology openly attended the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend, in what appeared to reflect a more accepting stance by organizers of the annual event than in previous years.” The Times did not find me worth mentioning, but the deputy editor for technology at NBC News Digital did. He called me the “founder of the Nazi publication and website American Renaissance.”

MSNBC was shocked — or delighted, I’m not sure which — to find that “another white supremacist influencer at the conference was Jared Taylor,” yet another “sign of how contiguous mainstream conservatism has become with white supremacist politics today.” The New Republic wrote that “Nazis at CPAC . . . are now a banal presence within the conservative conference.” These people really are idiots.

I made good contacts at CPAC and spent Saturday evening with a dozen fine young men whom I had never met before. We didn’t goosestep even once. I am enormously impressed by the quality of new people joining our movement. Despite what I mockingly wrote about Sen. Tommy Tuberville, he may be right: “Our number-one asset is our young people.”

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