As many of you may know, TheCollegeConservative is currently posted up in CPAC 2017’s media pen. Following the speakers has been interesting, but also disheartening. When I attended CPAC last year, despite its lack of big name speakers, it was truly a conservative conference. Each speaker last year was recognized in conservative circles, and had emphasized conservative policies and positions in speeches or in writing.
This year is different. There’s a different feel to this year’s CPAC conference, both in the speakers and in the atmosphere. This doesn’t feel like the Conservative Political Action Conference, it feels like a three-day-long Trump campaign stop. I went to a Trump rally back in Cincinnati before the general election, and the similarities are painfully obvious.
In her speech for CPAC, Kellyane Conway said that CPAC will be TPAC by the end. Meaning? Instead of it being Conservative Political Action Conference, it would be Trump Political Action Conference.
I have to say, her prediction is coming true.
Almost every speaker has echoed his or her support for Trump, and spent a large chunk of their speech praising him. Judge Jeanine’s speech was rife with dramatizations, sounding like a rallying cry for a bloody war with Mexico. “Build the wall” and “Fake news” chants were shouted from the CPAC’s general attendees. Red “Make America Great Again” hats dot the crowd.
Again, this has the feel of a Trump campaign stop, not a conservative political conference.
For those of our readers who are Trump fans, please don’t take this analysis the wrong way. I’m not blinded by my hatred for Trump, nor will I completely subscribe to everything he says or bow to kiss his feet. I want to be neutral: able to praise Trump when he does something good, but ready to criticize him when he missteps. And yes, it was cool to hear Trump speak at CPAC today. It’s not every day that you get to see a sitting U.S. president in person.
But with all that said, it doesn’t detract from the sentiments I expressed above.
CPAC has always been a haven for conservatives to speak, meet with colleagues, and have a good time. But now, it seems that if a speaker says something unfavorable about Trump, they’ll be booed off stage. There’s a raucousness that’s pervaded this conference. Just the mention of CNN incited loud boos and “fake news” chants. A former TCC writer filmed and posted a video calling everybody in the media pen at CPAC fake news. Thankfully one of our editors, Bit Marcello, slammed him for it.
This showcases the kind of attitude and atmosphere that has pervaded CPAC circles. Young writers have sold themselves out to Trump in hopes of reaching Tomi Lahren fame and then have brought that attitude to CPAC.
The American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp has enabled this kind of atmosphere, and also flubbed big time with his invitation and subsequent withdrawal of the invitation. CPAC used to be a great conference, and its heading in the wrong direction. There’s been a great exodus from CPAC from so many in conservative circles, now I understand why.