Looking to 2024: Hope and Despair — but Mostly Dread” and “Will the GOP Survive” were among the panels at the event.
Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, who had been viewed as a moderate option to Trump in 2024, declared he would not run for president.
A source of joy at the Principles First Summit was the defeat of MAGA Republicans.
Anti-Trump strategist Sarah Longwell asserted that the GOP needed to experience “chronic electoral failures” to regain its sanity.
Geoff Duncan, a former lieutenant governor of Georgia who was ousted from office by Trump, provided a hazy outline for internal reform.
David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a columnist, likened their attempt to reform the party to burning a landing strip through the midst of a jungle and then sitting back and waiting for planes to arrive. In order to take on Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), former Republican candidate Clint Smith changed his party registration from Republican to Independent. He likened his state’s Republican Party to a forest of trees poisoned from the inside by an invasive kind of beetle that burrows under the bark. “Looking to 2024: Hope and Despair — but Mostly Dread” and “Will the GOP Survive” were among the panels at the event.
If at times, everything seemed a little gloomy, that was because some of the headliners were feeling down.
Immediately following the conclusion of the later panel, former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) declared, “Trump is cancer that has metastasized. Therefore the celebration will be killed off even more.
Over six years have passed since the Never Trump campaign first gained traction. And in that time, it hasn’t achieved much, at least not in terms of changing the party to which its members formerly belonged. Yet, many who are part of it believe that Trump’s precarious position in the party may create a new political opportunity. Whether they can profit from it is the question they must answer. They had some clues about how it would go by Sunday. Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, who had been viewed as a moderate option to Trump in 2024, declared he would not be running for president.
Once again, despair.
The 300 attendees from across the nation were advertised by the event’s organisers as a strategy session for those who no longer felt welcome at gatherings of conservative activists. Nevertheless, it also gave a clear picture of how far the party has strayed in such a short time.
The summit has only existed for three years. Many of the speakers at this year’s event were some of the party’s top intellectuals and up-and-comers ten years ago. James Kinzinger. William Kristol. Kasich, John. Yet, individuals who previously held office have reached political impasses (Comstock, for example, lost by 12 points in a 2018 suburban uprising fueled by Trump), and the anti-Trump talking heads found their normal spaces less welcoming. Two of the few currently serving public leaders that spoke at the Principles First Summit were Democrats: Wes Moore, the governor of Maryland, and Adrian Fontes, the secretary of state of Arizona.
The fact that nobody present can even agree on a solution to their predicament, though, might be the more pressing issue. For instance, a Wisconsin political pundit named Charlie Sykes invited John Bolton, a former national security advisor to Trump, to respond to allegations that he declined to testify in the first impeachment trial but then made money by penning a tell-all book.
Some attendees intended to internally overhaul the Party. Others accepted that they would choose moderate Democrats over populists who would steal the election.
It turns out that some individuals enjoy demagoguery, bigotry, and other such things if you let the toothpaste out of the tube, so to speak. You can’t easily get it back. said Kristol. “You can’t just lecture them,”
We have to take down the Trump Republicans. And if it means sticking with the Democrats for a while, that’s great,” he continued, suggesting the Democratic presidential ticket of Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. I’m okay with that.
The attendees of Conrad’s gathering are not very similar to those who were present at CPAC for the coronation of Trump. The latter broadcast a music video for a song the accused on January 6 had recorded while in custody. The former honoured the severely assaulted former D.C. police officer Michael Fanone (who stayed to sign copies of his new book later). It hailed Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans serving on the congressional committee looking into the attacks, as its “patron saint.”
Attendees wore blue blazers with American and Ukrainian flag pins sewn to the lapel instead of MAGA caps and Trumpinator shirts. In the crowd, at least one Lincoln Project hat was visible.
There were no photo opportunities in the mock Oval Office, but visitors could learn about ranked-choice voting at a table in the lobby and buy some cookies from a Daisy Girl Scouts kiosk there. No candidates for the presidency came to court the crowd. Hogan did, however, record a video message that was shown shortly after he declared he would not be running for president.
The mood fluctuated from enthusiastic to sentimental to dejected throughout the course of about 20 panels and speeches. One discussion focused on whether the candidate would be worse: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or Trump (no consensus was reached). The discussions occasionally resembled a group therapy session, especially when it came to revisiting the events of January 6, 2021.
“It’s depressing if you speak out,” said Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former Trump assistant turned View anchor who chaired the session. For merely speaking the truth, every one of us has gotten death threats.
Several members of my family refuse to communicate with me. Olivia Troye, a national security official who left Vice President Mike Pence’s office in August 2020, claimed, “They truly think I’m an enemy of the state. It almost seems like you’re attempting to re-teach someone how to think critically.
Caroline Wren, a significant Trump supporter and rally organiser, was present. She appeared to be trolling the Principles First organisers, who had noticed her registration and were anxiously awaiting her arrival. Wren told POLITICO that her only purpose in being there was to listen and she seemed shocked that it raised questions.
The devastating personal cost of resisting Trump and speaking out against Jan. 6 was a recurring subject for many prominent speakers.
I should have stayed a pilot because I’m a terrible politician, my co-pilot in the war warned me, Kinzinger recalled. And he felt humiliated for fighting me.
A panel discussion on whether the GOP could survive Trumpism was led by Michael Wood, who ran for a special congressional election in Texas in 2021 on an anti-Trump platform and received 3.2 percent of the vote. What justification is there for any form of optimism, he asked in his opening statement?
“At some point, you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I going to keep walking into these places that boo me? ” Wood said afterwards. Abhor me? Send me nasty text messages?”
Comstock, formerly one of her party’s most lauded incumbents and most successful operatives, claimed to have all but given up on the GOP’s future. Nevertheless, she said, there were still some encouraging signs: in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the far-right GOP candidates for governor and secretary of state all lost to Democrats. “Congratulations on the fact that Josh Shapiro won, Kari Lake lost, and Tudor Dixon lost.”
There at CPAC, it’s all losers, she continued.
A source of joy at the Principles First Summit was the defeat of MAGA Republicans. In fact, anti-Trump strategist Sarah Longwell asserted that the GOP needed to experience “chronic electoral failures” in order to regain its sanity.
Others weren’t willing to see Republicans fall before raising the party back up. Geoff Duncan, a former lieutenant governor of Georgia who was ousted from office by Trump, provided a hazy outline for internal reform. He argued that the GOP should concentrate on policy, empathy, and tone.
Even though he outlined a “five-point strategic plan” to retake the party, he was overjoyed to leave political office and couldn’t disguise it.
“The shift has been quite tricky. Duncan boasted to laughter that I’ve arrived on time at all of my children’s games. “I’m getting excellent sleep. Our family is going through a really difficult moment right now.