John Schnatter, the pizza mogul who resigned as president of the Papa John’s franchise in 2018 after he used a racial slur in a comment about black people during a conference call, mingled with the crowd, saying he was one of those unjustly canceled. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida warned against “everything woke and run by the government.”
And former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination but took right-wing positions and became a conservative media darling, called the government a “secular theocracy” in because of its efforts to combat misinformation.
Eight miles from CPAC, an even angrier right-wing rally, the America First Political Action Conference, was held at another Orlando hotel with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia as the main attraction and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona appearing via video.
Commentator Nick Fuentes, leader of the group that hosted the conference, says 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 promotes a message that the nation is losing “its white core demographic.” Last month, Mr Fuentes was subpoenaed by congressional investigators looking into 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 Republican voters have a more favorable opinion of Mr. Putin than from Mr. Biden, and a lesson from the backlash against the party holding the White House in the past four midterm elections is that intense distaste for an opposing party president is more than enough to propel landslide victories.
“The conservative movement is constantly evolving, and as it evolves and reacts to radical ideas from the progressive left, the issues that really matter to people change a little bit,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow. of Pennsylvania. “The one unifying factor for conservatives is Joe Biden and his henchmen in the United States.”