AmFest 2022 Brings Fresh Air and New Energy to Conservative Activism

Tucker Carlson speaks to a Packed Crowd at America Fest 2022 (Credit: Jennifer Oliver O'Connell)
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Touting itself as, “The Largest Conservative Event in the World,” Turning Point USA (TPUSA) is hosting America Fest 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona, December 17-20.


TPUSA was founded in 2012 by conservative commentator and radio host Charlie Kirk. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom. The organization seeks to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote our constitutional liberties—particularly the principles surrounding our freedoms, the free market, and limited government.

AmFest is asserting itself as the largest celebration of constitutional rights and freedoms, and they are fulfilling it by making it a family-friendly, multi-generational gathering. Someone from my church in Orange County brought his wife, and three children ages 10 to 17, and was excitedly taking it all in when I ran into them around Media Row.

The general session kicked off at 4:30 p.m. with an opener from TPUSA and AmFest founder Charlie Kirk. Fox News’ Laura Ingraham was next in line, and she spoke eloquently about her hope for conservative progress and upholding our freedoms, despite the setbacks of late.

Laura Ingraham at AmFest 2022 (Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell)

Tucker Carlson closed out the Saturday general session with a unique and insightful treatise on our culture, our politics, our relationship with God, beauty, and cheerfulness. Bob Hoge did a beautiful write-up on this speech.

Tucker Carlson (Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell)

The rest of the Sunday through Tuesday lineup of speakers screams cutting-edge conservativism. Educational activist James Lindsay; Fox News personalities Kayleigh McEnany and Greg Gutfeld; Congresspersons Harriet Hagerman, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Byron Donalds; Christian commentators Allie Stuckey and Eric Metaxas; alternative and conservative media voices Steve Bannon, Libby Emmons (Post Millennial), Alex Marlow (Breitbart), and Lauren Chen, along with a host of other speakers, activists, elected representatives, and spiritual leaders who represent today’s conservative movement in a comprehensive way.


Team RedState is here in Maricopa County to cover this second-annual weekend-to-midweek event, and our own Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar, and Senior Editor Brandon Morse are also part of the speaker set! Brandon is joined by The Blaze podcaster Steve Deace and psychiatrist and Author Dr. Aaron Kheriaty for the Monday panel: “COVID and the Rise of Medical Fascism,” and Jennifer Van Laar joins Post-Millennial’s Libby Emmons and YouTube political commentator Lauren Chen for the Tuesday panel: “Conservative Women in a World Gone Trans.”

Kira Davis, RedState’s Deputy Managing Editor, conservative commentator, and Just Listen to Yourself podcaster has a new book out! She got a great boost on the pre-sales of Drawing Lines, from Conservative Rapper Bryson Gray. If you are at AmFest, come by the booth for a pre-sale and signed copy of her book.

Kira Davis and Bryson Gray at the RedState Media Booth (Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell)

The rest of us – Jeff Charles, Scott Hounsell, Bob Hoge, and myself – will be walking around, covering speakers, doing live interviews and podcasts at the Media Row booth, and connecting to this energized crowd here at AmFest.

People have come from all over the United States, and for those states that actually get snow and cold, many are quite happy to be in the Fall-like climate of the Arizona desert rather than their hometowns. It is surprising that less than a week before Christmas, people are willing to travel away from family and other holiday festivities to be a part of this burgeoning movement. It is a testament to the power of TPUSA to engage, but also a testament to the hunger and need of conservatives to connect with other like-minded individuals and thinkers and discover tools and resources that they can take back to their schools, churches, and communities.


After two years in Florida, CPAC is going back to Washington, D.C. in 2023, a move that reflects not only ossified thinking but that they’re seemingly not interested in being on the cutting edge of conservative activism. In Van Laar’s six years of being a part of RedState, there has not been an invitation by that organization for RedState to be part of a CPAC panel. AmFest is only in its second year, and RedState is already included as a critical part of the conversation.

I predict CPAC will lose much of the energy and luster that they regained when hosting their established “conservative” political event in the free state of Florida. While Arizona still hangs in the balance with Kari Lake (who is also speaking at AmFest) challenging the election against the presumptive governor Katie Hobbs, the state of Arizona still has more freedom, wide-open spaces, and better scenery than D.C./Maryland could ever achieve. This obsession CPAC has with needing to be in The Swamp in order to wheel, deal, and spotlight the voices of elected officials is a dated fever dream; a testament to this is that many of the young and fresh congressional faces and conservative voices are 2,000+ miles away in Arizona this weekend.

With this second AmFest, it’s clear that it’s the conference that will be the most relevant to conservatism and especially conservative activism. AmFest is future forward in its planning and execution and has the youthful juice and technological knowledge that is drawing in young Millennials and Generation Z. If these generations do not carry conservatism forward, then it is as good as dead.



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