"Marxist," "Leftist," "Un-American," and "Woke" were extremely popular words during the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual conservative event that was held last week. Conservatives from across the country traveled to Maryland to hear the likes of Ted Cruz, Scott Perry, Michael Knowles, Donald Trump, and many others criticize Joe Biden and his party for purposely creating what they described as an “evil” America.
While some may be tired of what seems like a continuous 8-year campaign cycle, looking into some of the more significant moments from CPAC can give us all an insight into what Conservatives might choose to focus on during the 2024 campaign trail.
Many claims and statements were made during the conference, and it is good to review some more extreme examples.
Congressmen Scott Perry and Ralph Norman made many claims that are growing to be popular sentiments within the further right portion of the Republican Party. Although many might not be fully on board with the statements.
While talking about Joe Biden and America. Norman insinuated that Biden wasn't aware of the decisions he was making as President and claimed that he had a cabal of people working around him. And then Perry claimed that Biden had weaponized the Federal Government against conservatives.
This idea of the weaponization of the Federal government has been a constant assertion by conservatives that eventually opened up an investigation in the House of Representatives.
Once Republicans gained control of the House in November of 2022 and then officially in January of 2023, they gained subpoena and investigative powers. One of the first committees that was created was the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
The Select Committee held hearings primarily focused on censoring conservative Twitter accounts and the FBI's involvement in the New York Post Hunter Biden Laptop article.
The CPAC also discussed the controversy around the death of Rebecca Kiessling’s sons who died from an overdose of fentanyl. Kiessling testified before the Homeland Security Select Committee about her sons' deaths.
Not long after, Marjorie Taylor Greene used this testimony to attack Joe Biden, posting a portion of it on her Twitter, captioning it, "Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about both of her son's murders because of the Biden administrations refusal to secure our border and stop the Cartel's from murdering Americans every day by Chinese fentanyl."
At the Conference, Norman made the claim that Biden laughed at Kiessling saying Biden’s response was because the fentanyl was from the Trump administration. President Biden responded to these accusations while addressing the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference on March 1 by saying," "She was very specific recently, saying that a mom, a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. Well, the interesting thing is that fentanyl they took came during the last administration," adding a chuckle at the end.
Moving on from Perry and Norman, Marjorie Taylor Greene made some interesting claims. Greene focused on the War in Europe. She discussed Zelenskyy talking about his fears if America ceased in their aid of Ukraine. Zelenskyy believes if America were to reduce aid, that Russia could invade neighboring countries that are part of NATO, and if that were to happen, "then the U.S. will have to send their sons and daughters exactly the same way as we are sending [our] sons and daughters to war..." However, Greene claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants American children to die fighting the war in Ukraine.
Transgenderism and the LGBTQIA + community were two other big topics at the CPAC. Starting with Greene, who insinuated that multi-billion dollar corporations are targeting children to make them transgender.
Michael Knowles, a contributor to the Conservative news website, The Daily Wire, also made statements regarding the transgender community. Knowles stated, "For the good of society … transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely — the whole preposterous ideology, at every level."
Knowles would later go on to deny that he called for the eradication of transgender people.
But all of these were mere appetizers for the main event, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
Trump announced his 3rd bid at the White House on November 15, 2022, and he is still the presumed front-runner for the Republican nomination to face off in the 2024 Presidential election.
Many have been clamoring to hear from Trump, and besides his usual posts on Truth Social, the social media app he owns, there has been little noise from the Trump camp. However, he has started to become more vocal. For example, Trump visited East Palestine, Ohio, after the toxic train derailment in February.
Many wondered what Trump might focus on in his speech, and he did not disappoint his audience. If I had to describe it in a few words, Trump focused on having a recocking. In essence, it felt as if Trump never left his 2016 campaign.
Throughout the conference, Trump made it clear he wanted to drain the same swamp that needed to be drained in 2016. Trump stated, "In 2016, I declared, 'I am your voice.' Today I add, I am your warrior. I am your justice. And those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution."
Trump also brought up the tensions in Europe, stating, "I say today, and I am the only candidate who can make this promise. I will prevent, and very easily, World War III very easily. And you're going to have World War III, by the way."
This is undoubtedly a reference to the rising concern of China aiding Russia in its War in Ukraine. However, it also references Trump's close personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump has maintained that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were still President.
I think that looking at these statements provides a clear view of the path the GOP wants to take moving forward. The path is to focus on the core base of the conservative party and mainly the parents within the conservative party. They will showcase messaging about traditional conservative values, which is the notion of the American Nuclear Family; a husband, wife, and children.
The CPAC concentrated on telling voters that the Democratic Party, or more broadly "The Left," wants to disrupt these values by making people transgender or sending children to fight European Wars.
The GOP 2024 Campaign will discredit the accomplishments of Joe Biden and downplay his role in these accomplishments. Biden currently has a 42 % approval rating and he cannot afford to allow the view of him being incompetent to stick. If Republicans are successful in their attempts to portray Joe Biden as a senile, confused, and befuddled old man, it can make an already hesitant voting base even more hesitant to put their faith in Joe Biden.
It should be a fascinating and entertaining campaign season, and it will also be interesting to see Joe Biden’s response to some of these claims if he officially decides to announce his run for re-election.
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