“CPAC” used to connote an annual meeting in Washington. It was a “must” for any Republican and often functioned as a barometer to measure where certain people stood relative to the presidential nomination or in governorships, etc. But just as it is with Trump rallies and Turning Point USA, CPAC is now a permanent tour, city to city, even country to country (Brazil, Hungary). The members of the MAGA religion have proven that they’re ready to tithe. But the church must hold regular services and come to them to collect their 10%. CPAC is happy to oblige. The “tour” also makes the faith more fluid, and one can spot momentum shifts among its people or the continuing evolution of religion’s beliefs and values. It takes on a direction. The latest gig, CPAC Texas, was the darkest, most unapologetically violent to date, and many noticed.
When far-right populist movements see themselves as politically persecuted and oppressed while also normalizing violent political speech and action, history teaches us that war is coming, often blindingly fast, especially if it starts among a slumbering population that just wants football season to start.
Rolling Stone sees the same dynamic at CPAC Dallas as many of us did and wrote:
Stoking the culture wars is nothing new for CPAC. But with dark, militant speeches — and literal demonization of the MAGA movement’s political opponents — the conservative convention in Dallas this week menaced America with what seemed to be thinly veiled calls for violence, all while seeking to whitewash the political mayhem of Jan. 6, casting Capitol Hill rioters as victims of a “Democratic Gulag.”
It takes highly sophisticated political propaganda to take people who participated in an attempted coup – for which there is more evidence now than ever, and make them “Democratic political prisoners.” After all, they committed their crime on television. This sort of alternate reality where their religion is the right one allows them to justify the attack on the Capitol as patriotic and legal. Otherwise, lesser Americans outside their religion “win.” They are only fighting for the natural order and are now imprisoned as victims.
There were no limits. Speakers like Steve Bannon luxuriated in violent rhetoric:
Bannon, now the host of the “War Room” podcast, brought his bellicose message to CPAC, appearing as the headline speaker at the convention’s Friday night ball. “We are at war,” Bannon told the MAGA faithful. “We are in a political and ideological war.” Repeating the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, Bannon insisted that Joe Biden is an “illegitimate imposter.” Calling on Republicans to send “shock troops” to Washington, Bannon promised the crowd they had an opportunity to “shatter the Democratic party as a national political institution.” He alleged that the party has been overrun by “radical, cultural Marxists” and “groomers” who “want to destroy the Republic.” Bannon insisted the GOP must pursue absolute victory over “power-mad and lawless” Democrats, asserting: “There can be no half measures anymore.”
Elections are the definition of half-measures. Half measures are what the Framers set up in the Constitution to prevent any minority like the CPAC-MAGA religion from wrestling control of power and keeping it from the majority. It is precisely for that reason that we later learn that they want their own fight for independence, a “post-election” society.
Viktor Orban spoke about combining forces internationally to take back “western civilization” from Washington and Brussels. Any movement that follows the openly racist and fascist Orban is showing its hand. CPAC is TELLING us who they are, and Maya Angelou says that we get one chance to believe them. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz gave his most violent and unhinged speech to date:
On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, laying on a thick Texas accent for the home-state crowd, inveighed against what he called the “power hungry, abusive totalitarian nitwits” of the Biden administration and the Democratically controlled Congress. Cruz likened his service in the Senate to that of a gladiator: “It’s like the old Roman Colosseum where you slam on a breastplate and you grab a battle axe and you go fight the barbarians,” he said of his Democrat colleagues. “As they say in the military world,” Cruz continued, “it is a target-rich environment.”
The “power-hungry Democrats” haven’t even gotten rid of the filibuster and, as a result, have not even been able to pass laws protecting the vote. Cruz is following the populist’s first rule; lay all of your own sins on the other side. Cruz is also speaking in code about the committee and DOJ as “totalitarian nitwits” that will have to be fought physically should DOJ follow the law and start arresting MAGAs who practiced their religion against their oath to the Constitution.
Cruz then suggested that more than elections may be needed for conservatives to take back Washingtotn from those he called “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Cruz told the crowd, “We’re on the cusp of something extraordinary in this country … And each of you are the vanguard. You are the dangerous radicals. Like the men who signed the Declaration of Independence … like those who died at the Alamo, you are the courageous heroes,” he insisted, “fighting for liberty in our country.”
Wrong. They are fighting for liberty from their country. They don’t want “this” country anymore. This religion wants “their country.” And since the land below their feet is the only land available, they’ll have to fight for their own country here rather than cross yet another ocean and plant their flag. Yes, they are like the men who fought (violently) and signed the Declaration of Independence. They want to declare their independence from the country those men founded. They don’t like the Constitution. They don’t like elections. They are an increasingly paranoid minority, ready to lash out. Line up ten statistically “average” Americans and MAGAs hate at least six to seven of them.
Obviously, this has been happening incrementally for some time. But CPAC Texas was so dark, so unapologetically violent, that it should stand out in our mind as an important point on the historical timeline. Unfortunately, this international movement shows us that we’re on a timeline where widespread violence or all-out war becomes inevitable.
These people will not stop until they have their own personal Russia. The Russian government is the ideal. Corruption is legal in Russia. The right people have nothing to fear. The money flows straight to the very top. “Rights” are malleable and contextual, as is the law. And citizens who are too demanding, too outspoken, and possess too much color, like Brittney Griner, a Black Lesbian woman, can sit in jail for nine years for personal cannabis use. And the Russian government is more than ready to get violent within its borders or without to get what it wants and enforce its power.
Violence and-or war is in our future. Most Americans don’t realize it. Football season starts soon. But if you look at what happened in Kansas, how quickly the majority struck back, wait until this religion grabs all power from a clear majority, imposes its beliefs on the majority, and doesn’t allow elections to cure the problem. History teaches…
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.