CPAC Update: The Party of the People

AP Photo/John Raoux

It has been 6 years since I last attended CPAC. At that time, the party was the Party of Romney, which suffered from what I have coined as Battered-Conservative Syndrome, or BCS.  During those times, CPAC looked more like a country club, with most attendees looking like they had stumbled into the building from their Republican Women’s Federation meetings, and the rest looking like they got dropped off from daddy’s yacht.  Of course, there was “energy” as people would hear different speakers or stumble into their favorite Congressperson or Senator along the corridors.  As we all crowded into the National Harbor, Maryland hotel, CPAC felt like most other political conventions in which I have participated.  Fun for sure, entertaining, yes, but ultimately just the same story.  It was in the days before Trump, before the media was inflicted with terminal/stage-4 TDS, and before a year of tyrannical government orders that had taken hold and killed thousands of businesses, careers, and lives across our great country.

CPAC this year was different.  How exactly? I’m not quite sure how I would describe it.

The red-hat brigade is here, as is the army of sockless-Sperry-clad-Chads, but joining them is a new breed of Republican:  Literal regular Joes.  They come from all over, most of them to hear Trump speak Sunday, however, they bring a different “spirit” to the convention.  That “spirit” is that of America.  Not the one that I have experienced at my previous CPAC experiences, which sounds like it could be sung by Toby Keith in an American flag thong on the Fourth of July, but rather that of the average of Americans, concerned about the future of their country.  Speaker after speaker has spoken of the transition which the Republican Party is entering, becoming less of the Party of Wall Street, and more of the Party of Main Street.  The spirit here is mirroring a lot of the sentiments which I have been hearing in California amongst my more liberal friends: The Democrats are out of touch, out of ideas, and out of time.

As I have wandered around CPAC, I have met people from all over the country, many of whom remind me greatly of the great Americans I met during the brief time I lived in Western Pennsylvania.  They are former factory workers, coal workers, steelworkers, and other industrial workers who have been ignored and marginalized by their government for the better part of the last 30 years.  They are farmers, volunteer firefighters, and small business owners.  They are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other members of great big families.  They don’t have trust funds or private jets. They are America.  They follow the law and pay their taxes.  They send their kids to public schools, often on buses.  They don’t have the newest cars or look like they just walked off a New York fashion runway.  They are humble, unassuming, unjudging, and some of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

As leftist organizations fly banners from airplanes over the convention labeling them as “insurrectionists,” these people have united in support of their country and what future they want from it.  Unlike the hateful left, they don’t hate Democrats.  Yesterday, as I stood in the media section in the main hall, I overheard two reporters from avowed leftist publications talking about how “boring” the convention was for them.  They seemed disappointed that all of the drama they expected, simply wasn’t here.  They seemed frustrated that these people aren’t reflecting the violence and drama they have come to expect from the media narrative about the modern right.  Instead, they are largely respectful, even delivering light-hearted barbs at them.

Yes, there is a golden statue of Trump, but no, there isn’t a line to worship its feet.  It is a novelty for most people, more entertained by how they know it will trigger the left than enamored with the man whose image it is made in.  There’s more talk of gas prices than stock prices and more emphasis on unity than division.  The focus on the left isn’t about canceling them, but rather about converting those on the left to understanding that almost every case of negativity our country faces is the result of bloated, ineffective, and wasteful bureaucracy and government.  The future for them isn’t coming from a government providing it for them, but rather from their own sweat equity

In the months following devastating losses of the White House and the Senate, you’d expect Republicans to be more subdued, but instead, there is hope, enthusiasm, and excitement moving into the coming election cycle for 2022.  The focus has shifted away from corporations and towards community. For the first time, I feel that the grassroots efforts that have long been proposed by the Republican Party, are being implemented, not by the party itself, which has failed its voters for a long time, but through ancillaries who are done waiting for leading from the top.  Like it or not, this is a direct result of Trump.

The populism that rose under Trump hasn’t vanished as a result of changing the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  People feel cheated, not solely because of them feeling like election shenanigans denied them of a second term of Trump, but because the system that Trump dismantled has been re-erected under the oversight of man whose past of bigotry and incompetence was conveniently erased at the hands of an equally crooked biased media. Media narratives of systemic racism don’t pay their bills.  Debates about the latest iteration of gender identity don’t fill their gas tanks or put food in their kids’ mouths.  They are concerned with survival, not just in rural or suburban areas, but as I have witnessed at CPAC, a significantly increased group of Americans from within urban and inner-city areas.  Democrats who think they have won some mandate from the American people need to be aware that if CPAC is indicative of a coming attitude going into 2022, they should be scared.  A shift is coming and it is a greater shift to the right.

At CPAC, I have seen some of the greatest diversity I have ever seen at any political convention.   That diversity isn’t just in race or gender, but in the diversity more important to our American Republic:  The Diversity of Thought.  The diversity I have seen here has been welcomed, as there have been more minorities here than I have ever witnessed, more focus on women’s issues, on education, on good jobs, and the use of those things to provide a better future for these American families.  Trump didn’t just change the Republican Party, he changed America and the left is in many ways powerless to fight against it. The problem with running on doublespeak is that one group of people you lied to is going to be furious when they are inevitably sold out in the left’s conquest for socialism.  The people are back, and although they aren’t happy, they are courteous, caring, and confident.  They also happen to be increasingly Republican.