The general perception in the media is that CPAC was a lacklustre failure and that Trump’s speech was equally unimpressive.
The speech at CPAC served as a guide for Trump’s return to the White House.
Trump made no mention of Ron DeSantis in his remarks.
Similar ArticlesTrump’s attack on Biden centred on foreign policy, criticising the president from both a militarist and an anti-war perspective (for alleged weakness and poor planning in the bloody withdrawal from Afghanistan) (Trump claimed he was the only modern president not to start a new war, that he would end the war in Ukraine and that if he is not elected there is a danger of a third world war).
With his entire record of escalating drone warfare while undermining diplomacy, Trump’s claims that he is a pro-peace president are ludicrous.
Trump is more of a performer than a public speaker. People who criticise his talks frequently go off course and use strange interjections and meandering digressions to vent misunderstanding the purpose of how he communicates. Trump is not competing with Pericles, Abraham Lincoln, or Winston Churchill for the title of the greatest orator of all time. Instead, he follows in the footsteps of insult comedians like Joan Rivers or Don Rickles, braggarts in the wrestling ring like Hulk Hogan, and radio shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh. Like many other artists, Trump wants to electrify and polarise rather than persuade by creating a distinctive persona that the audience can relate to as an avatar of their socially taboo fury and hidden aspirations.
Trump’s most incredible talent as a performer is to personify animosity. Trump’s complaints are pretty uncommon. Despite all the money his father amassed and Trump’s success in converting that family riches into a brand name, he seems to have never accepted that Manhattan’s old money thinks poorly of him. Trump’s snide remarks have not been curbed by winning the presidency, and he is still obviously upset at being called “a short-fingered vulgarian” by Spy magazine. One might assume that many people don’t share this particular irritability. Still, like previous demagogues, Trump can transform his into more considerable social unrest, particularly the perception among right-wing white Republicans that they are despised by liberal elites while being dispossessed by non-whites.
Trump’s speech on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual meeting clearly demonstrated his continuing ability to serve as a spokesperson for the wounded pride of the GOP base (CPAC). In one of the speech’s most significant passages, Trump claimed, “In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. I’ll add it now: I’m your fighter. I am justice for you. I am your vengeance for those who have wronged and betrayed you. Being the master of hate, Trump inflamed the crowd by ranting about the usual targets on the left (fake news media, purportedly incompetent and dishonest Joe Biden) and those in the Republican elite who oppose the MAGA programme.
Trump boasted, “We never go back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush. We had a Republican Party run by freaks, neocons, globalists, open-border zealots, and fools. “They are sick of globalists and RINOs. They favour putting America first.
The argument that Trump is the leader of a national populist movement was more firmly conveyed in his CPAC speech than in anything he has said or written since announcing his intention to run for president of the United States as the Republican Party in 2024 in November.
Nonetheless, press coverage has concentrated on Trump’s alleged shortcomings as a candidate and CPAC’s diminished significance in the GOP political ecosystem. The general perception in the media is that CPAC was a lacklustre failure and that Trump’s speech was equally unimpressive.
According to John Hendrickson’s assessment in The Atlantic, Trump appeared bored, listless, and unanimated as he talked to a large hotel ballroom that was only 3/4 filled. As opposed to the booming, throaty scream he was known for at his campaign rallies, Trump’s voice was more of a quiet and worn-out whisper for most of the speech. This year’s CPAC “wasn’t technically a ghost town—but it had the vibe of one whose worried locals are starting to wonder why the railroad isn’t coming through,” according to a story from Yahoo News.
There is no denying that Trump and CPAC are less influential in the GOP than they once were. Further Republican complaints that the former president is an electoral burden have been made (often anonymously) since the party’s poor midterm results. Grave claims of sexual assault against CPAC’s leader, Matt Schlapp, have caused the group some difficulty. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, and other well-known Republicans were conspicuously absent from CPAC since Fox News no longer sponsors it. DeSantis and other Republicans who skipped CPAC instead attended a competing event, a private donor’s conference organised by the pro-tax-cut Club for Growth.
However, DeSantis’ preference for The Club for Growth over CPAC does not necessarily indicate that the latter’s influence is decreasing. It is conceivable to recast this narrative to say, as Laura Jedeed suggested in The New Republic, that “While Trump addresses the people, DeSantis, who owns degrees from both Harvard and Yale, hobnobs with the political elite.” The Club for Growth spent a lot of money in 2016 to defeat Donald Trump because he disagreed with their view of big business on trade, immigration, and entitlements. By adopting positions that angered the Club for Growth, Trump won both the nomination and the presidency. These positions included his refusal to cut Social Security and Medicare, his opposition to trade deals like NAFTA, and his desire for a cap on immigration.
Trump’s address at CPAC is significant because it demonstrates his willingness to revive the economic populism and nationalism he campaigned on in 2016 to take on the Republican establishment and the Democrats. The speech at CPAC served as a guide for Trump’s return to the White House. Trump made no mention of Ron DeSantis in his remarks. Still, he showed that he intended to bring up DeSantis’ history of advocating for Social Security and Medicare changes.
“We’re not going back to folks who want to destroy our fantastic Social Security system,” Trump insisted. I wonder who that may be, perhaps even those within our party. They want to slash Medicare to a point where it is unrecognisable and then raise the minimum age for Social Security to 70, 75, or even 80 in some areas.
Trump’s attack on Biden centred on foreign policy, criticising the president from both a militarist and an anti-war perspective (for alleged weakness and poor planning in the bloody withdrawal from Afghanistan) (Trump claimed he was the only modern president not to start a new war, that he would end the war in Ukraine and that if he is not elected there is a danger of a third world war). With his entire record of escalating drone warfare while undermining diplomacy, Trump’s claims that he is a pro-peace president are ludicrous. Even so, if the situation in Ukraine does not end soon, Trump can capitalise on nationalist sentiment about why US taxpayers are funding the battle so much while domestic needs go unmet.
At CPAC, Trump decisively defeated Fox News. The network has been reticent lately about broadcasting Trump’s remarks or having him as a guest. This changed, according to Politico, after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon railed against the silence from the media at CPAC: “Notably, after Steve Bannon spent his speaking time slamming Fox News for not giving Trump attention, the conservative cable network showed some of Trump’s speech live.” Trump should have no issue energising the right-wing camp as long as he and allies like Bannon can continue to make Fox kowtow.
Trump’s speech at CPAC must be deemed successful if he is perceived as a performer of resentment. He has identified specific crucial topics that he may utilise to galvanise his coalition and confront his adversaries. Whistling beside the graveyard won’t do. There is a genuine risk of the “retribution” Trump has threatened.