Written by on March 20, 2023


Shared By Peter Boykin – American Political Commentator / Citizen Journalist


CPAC 2023 in the Washington DC area has come, and it seems from pictures and media that the crowds from before are just not there. Maybe the people are enjoying all the action on the media row? (those pictures look great), maybe they are downstairs in the exhibition hall? (yet accounts in some articles say sales are down). I help moderate a CPAC attendee group on Facebook and can say there were some grumblings about CPAC returning to the DC area, many claimed they were not going but hundreds have shared pictures and have attended this year.

So what is going on this year? Maybe it’s the cost? Everything is higher, gas, rent, hotels, ticket prices, and the uncertainty for EVERYONE under a Democratic president… or maybe it is worse? maybe it is that the right just is really low energy?

CPAC 2023: Fewer attendees, but Donald Trump is still the favorite

CPAC 2023 Is Low Energy
Even ahead of Donald Trump’s speech, the ultraconservative conference struggled to fill seats or find sponsors to pay for them

Many many reasons, or guesses including the fact that CPAC now seems to have an event every quarter of a year in a different location in America (Florida, Texas, etc) and other countries. Maybe CPAC has spread itself too thin?

From experience, CPAC has a LOT of media invited which include an 80% plus left-leaning reporters so bad press is inevitable. Meanwhile, for the last two years when CPAC was in Florida, I applied for Media Row and was denied, where I used to be able to get it (I did in 2020) when CPAC was in DC. Was it something I said? or is it the FACT that CPAC used to be about the Grassroots it was funded for CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTION which had a mission of pushing Grassroots, but like most great organizations they grow to a point where there are bills to pay and these events are expensive and Grassroots and Citizen Journalism gets pushed aside to bring in people that can pay the bills.

So maybe CPAC needs to find a way to let the citizen journalists and podcasters back in, as it seems Radio row has now become a row of BIG MEDIA and BIG NAMES, while fewer and fewer podcasters are given space (thus my denial) that fact is this year I didn’t bother to apply and being Grassroots I could not afford to buy a ticket or become a supporter, so press credentials were my ticket into these events. This year I could not afford it (saving my funds for my political campaign) so let’s play it by ear for next year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love CPAC, I enjoyed CPAC when I was there and would LOVE to go back.

I do question the direction our party is going through. I see this surge in extremism in our own party.

Those grey areas might just be the destruction of our party. After all even Trump said that one of the issues with Republican candidates in the 2022 midterms was their focus on the Abortion issue to the extremes that turned off voters.

I would tend to think Trump is right, because instead of concentrating on the topics and subjects that ALL Americans suffer from, illegal immigration, infrastructure, jobs, job security, education and educational choice, and most important the quality of life for the citizens of America. THESE are the REAL things that matter. BUT… let us go to one BIG issue and pattern I have seen this year at CPAC, and one that might be the biggest downfall of the current Republican party.

Maybe this is why there is so much empty space.

It seems the Conservatives in the Republican party just cannot stop fighting against the Constitutional rights of its people. I can understand that the LGBTQ community of the left (not the whole community) has been getting involved in some very extreme events lately, with some pushing Transgenderism on children hard instead of letting children (as they have for many many generations) figure out on their own. It doesn’t help that we have “Drag Shows” (not the ones that I have seen or remember) that try to cater to the extreme with performers wearing next to nothing and twerking to children and babies, yet as we complain about the performers we fail to blame the parents that bring their children to these events. So we look like the bad guys for speaking out about them. BUT… what we MUST remember is the WE do not become better if we become bigots and extremists and generalizers in order to combat these individual tumors in the LGBT community.

I for one am alarmed by the number of speakers who include shots at Transgenders, and gays in their speeches. Some are actually done properly and alert to specific issues ie: Tulsi Gabbard called out the REAL Pedophiles and the MAPS and the extremism that those on the far left are encouraging this behavior with certain drag shows and other things, and that the Democratic party is NOT the party she signed up for and is why she decided to #GoRight and leave that party. I do note that even in her speech she does not bash the whole Gay and Transgender community and her speech is surgical.

Then there are others, like this example that go to extremes.

CPAC 2023 – live: Speaker sparks alarm with a call for trans people to be ‘eradicated’
Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire sparked alarm on Saturday with his anti-trans oratory.

“Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” he said.

John Knefel of Media Matters called it “eliminationist, genocidal rhetoric”.

Adam Vary of Variety urged people to “pay attention. This is genocidal. That is not hyperbole or alarmist; this rhetoric is calling for the eradication of a group of people for who they are”.

“It would be great if non-trans people would start paying attention to this because the quiet part is getting shouted at this point,” Jaclyn Moore added.

This is a concern with this CPAC 2023, in the past,, I have seen great LGBTQ representation even on stage, with Scott Presler, Tammy Bruce, Brandon Straka, Richard Grenell, and others who have shown that the BIG Tent of the Republican party can be a place for ALL. The Republican party was founded in the Civil war era to Free the Slaves and was Anti-Racism, eventually, the party was at the forefront of giving women their rights.

Since 1977 we have had the Log Cabin Republican (although personally, the national group lately is something left to be desired) I personally believed with the support of Donald Trump my group Gays For Trump (and many other demographic aka identity groups) seemed to be gaining support never seen before in the Republican party. Sadly the honeymoon is over and I have personally witnessed the rise of LGBTQ hatred more than ever before, and many could use the extremism by some of the community as an excuse but that’s just an excuse to push forward homophobia, transphobia, etc instead of actually surgically shutting down the real problems.

What a lot of Republicans do not understand about Donald Trump or even Ronald Reagan is that there is POWER in populism and appealing to more than just “conservatives” and that the Republican party and “conservatives” are not the same thing. The Republican party is full of many viewpoints. Some are more moderate, some libertarians, and others are conservative and many levels of that conservatism. The Republican party is also suffering from the same rot that the Democratic party is suffering from and that is EXTREMISM.

In North Carolina, we now have the greatest amount of Unaffiliated voters, in fact, a base that is larger than both the Democratic and Republican voter base. Why? because so many decided to #WalkAway from the extremism of the Democratic party and some decided to #GoRight but not all. For example, Tulsi as spoken about earlier, she is No longer and Democrat but is Not a Republican.

We now have many Republicans jumping from the Republican party for many reasons. Some are tired of an Establishment that ignores grassroots, fails to reward its hardest working people, and seems to only think of our party as a business that’s only goal is to use tired talking points to rake in money, and for what? lose?!

When the real call to get people elected and to protest the ones collecting all this money are nowhere to be found, nor are they willing to donate to help protest, or help grassroots. For many, we are left on our own to beg for funding, which is impossible. Is it funny how many in our base of Republicans will complain about issues and things yet are unwilling to donate or volunteer but do you blame them? EVERYONE has their hat out asking for funds lately and frankly, no one really has the extra money, and there is no real ROI so why bother?

That takes me back to the case of why our Republican party and CPAC seem to be losing energy. It goes back to the Candidates and those who are “leaders” in our party. They don’t understand the magic of Trump or Reagan and that our party has been running on the fumes both these leaders brought to the table.

Reagan was a Democrat, Trump was a Democrat, and much like Tulsi, they both saw a way out of the Democratic party. They much like myself believed in the Constitution and although they might have or eventually classified themselves as Conservative they very much were more libertarian, centurist, independent, or moderate in their actions and they appealed to the unaffiliated base, the blue dog democrats, and the more center right, and at times even the further right realized they were great Candidates, and good business.

So our Republican party was infused with this energy and we WON. Crowds came out, and high energy was out there. This energy though cannot be held though when new or existing candidates do not keep that energy and our party returns to its low-energy ways. This is what happened after 2016, the party went back to low energy for 2018, the candidates didn’t work hard and thought they could ride the coattails of Trump, and even our party grassroots didn’t work hard to keep us winning. It’s not a surprise because midterms always tend to end up becoming a losing ground time for the Republican party.

The verdict is still out on what happened in 2020, maybe it was a combination of election integrity, the china flu the big C, or the blame that some republicans deferred toward Trump instead of blaming themselves. All we know is that once again in 2020 we suffered big losses. Then it got worse, the same mindset pre-Trump and that same establishment and base we knew dragged down our party surged back up, extremism set in and the uni party of politicians emerged. The big tent of Republicans was suddenly shut and the old school first quietly and now loudly have been trying to purge the good that Trump brought to the table and that political middle.

The surge of calling everything Woke that we don’t like, the increase of homophobic behaviors while disguising itself as going after “the left”, and this need to force their specific religious beliefs on all Americans and all but say our party and our government should be ruled under one religion. To be honest, no matter how good intentions those religions might be, that is NOT how our government was designed to operate. Our Constitutional rights give us the freedom to life, liberty, and happiness and with that the freedom of speech and the freedom from and to our religion. That being said with this resurgence of heads of our party, our e-celebs, and organizations bringing back out the blame game, the extremist remarks such as what Michael Knowles said are NOT helping the Republican party at all and certainly will ensure that if we continue down this path we will be no different than the Democratic party who let itself be consumed by extremist behaviors and people.

At the end of the day, the unaffiliated will grow and until people take notice we will continue to see low energy continue in events like CPAC, in rallies, and in donations and events for the Republican party. That truly is sad, because we were there we had that energy 2015-2017 was the best of times, will we ever see it again? I sure hope so.


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