Image Courtesy of USA Today
By Jack Rowing
Last week, Orlando hosted the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). An annual gathering of conservatives with key speeches from political figures. This year with the growing debates amongst conservatives as to the direction of the Republican party, after they had lost the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. CPAC would provide the former President with his first platform to speak since his last day in office. Trump’s speech opened with “Hello CPAC, Do you miss me yet?” Trump’s speech highlighted all of his old political points. From policy points to election fraud claims, Trump remained himself.
Trump spoke on a number of conservative talking points. Trump’s speech came on the back after weeks of debate within the conservative community as to whether or not Trump’s brand of Republicanism was both correct, sustainable, or capable of winning in 2024. Donald Trump took the time to identify what exactly ‘Trumpism’ is, he defined his particular brand of politics as low taxes, military might emphasis, originalism in the courts, pro-police, as well as many other of his points that have always been themes during his campaign. Other major parts were Trump criticizing the Biden administration. He spoke against many of Biden’s green energy policy plans, emphasizing how “we will be relying on Russia and the Middle East for oil.” He criticized the administration’s failure to reopen schools and emphasized his administration’s success in the vaccine race. Trump also took the time to stoke the fires of inter party division by citing every elected federal official who he considered unworthy. He called out: Representative Cheney and Senators Roney, Toomey, and Murkowksi, amongst others. He said “The RINOs that we are surrounded with will destroy the Republican and the American worker, and will destroy our country itself.”
One of his key iterations was that he won the election, despite Joe Biden being in office, a riot at the capitol, and a second impeachment. He, on multiple occasions during the speech implied, and stated outright that the election was rigged. He criticized the Supreme Court for not hearing his claims of election fraud. His claims of large amounts of undocumented immigrants voting was debunked by the New York times along with many other of Trump’s claims. He spoke on how he wants Voter ID and the elimination of non in person voting.
In the key state of Georgia, a conservative safeguard that Trump lost in the previous election, Trump and other conservative talking points seemed to have found a home. His claims of election fraud have sparked a rushed through bill that would make it harder for minorities and other democratic constituents to vote. House Bill 531 passed the lower chamber on March 1st and will be sent to the Senate where it will most likely be passed. The Brennan Center for Justice has tracked over 704 bills in 43 states to enact laws that would make it more difficult for people to vote in the election. Trump’s continued claims of election fraud are fueling this drive, and could set back voting right standards for years to come.