John Schnatter, the pizza mogul who stepped down as president of the Papa John’s franchise in 2018 after making racist comments about black people during a conference call, joined the crowd, say he was one of those who was unfairly canceled?† Florida Senator Rick Scott warned against “wake up, everything is government-run”.
And former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 but has taken right-wing positions and has become a darling of conservative media outlets, labeled the government a “secular theocracy” for its efforts to fight misinformation.
Eight miles from CPAC, an even angrier right-wing rally, the America First Political Action Conference, took place at another Orlando hotel with Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene as the main attraction and Arizona Representative Paul Gosar appearing on video.
Commentator Nick Fuentes, head of the group organizing the conference, said Mr Putin had been compared to Hilter† He laughed and added, “They say it’s not a good thing.”
Mr. Fuentes, a white nationalist and Holocaust denier, leads what is known as the America First or “groyper” movement, which carries the message that the nation is losing “its white demographic core.” Last month, Mr. Fuentes was subpoenaed by congressional investigators investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
At CPAC and beyond, focusing on the negative can be both strategic and visceral. Polls show that Republican voters have a more favorable view of Putin than of Biden, and one lesson of opposition to the White House party in the last four midterm elections is that intense dislike of an opposing president is more than enough to propel overwhelming victories.
“The conservative movement is always evolving, and as it evolves and responds to the radical ideas of the progressive left, the issues that really matter to people are shifting a little bit,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. “The only unifying factor for conservatives is Joe Biden and his cronies in the United States.”