#CPAC2021 Highlights: The illiberal, non-conservative right has a new ideology – Statist Nationalism

CPAC’s second full day has thus far followed up on the Friday lighting-rod speeches of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. The two potential leading contenders to take up ex-President Donald Trump’s mantle as leader of a new Republican Party laid out what the new GOP is about.

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who in January, threatened Joe Biden on Twitter if he didn’t concede an election where he got 7 million more votes than his nearest opponent also spoke on Friday and was involved in immigration panel discussion Saturday.

The tone of the gathering in Orlando is one which proponents of one-party statism be it Soviet or Cuban-styled or the current Hungarian/Turkish-style would fine very comforting.

Here is a quick summary of the new GOP ideology as articulated at CPAC:

  • Tech companies have too much power so instead of trusting the free market as previous GOPers would have, DeSantis, Hawley and others advocate a Soviet-styled response to this by having government force tech companies to air political propaganda. Private industry can no longer make decisions based on its consumers preferences, user agreements vetted by top attorneys or the free market. They MUST comply to the will of government. Chairman Mao would be proud of Governor DeSantis.
  • The “majority” in this country are being held captive by “woke” liberals who represent a minority in the country but a majority in elite Washington DC circles, on CNN and in The New York Times newsroom. CNN, the NY Times and other media outlets are responsible for “misrepresenting” the views of the country. It should be noted this dovetails into the right’s claims of election fraud, because the election results cannot possibly be accurate if the majority is opposed to the DC/CNN/NY Times liberal cabal, correct?
  • Free trade, formerly a clear cause among conservatives now is a bad thing. It undermines nationalism and enables elites in Europe and at multilateral institutions to manipulate the US and undermine American sovereignty. The overall opposition to free trade is part of a larger narrative of the new right related to race and the white working class. As an aside, I’d caution progressives who hold these same views on trade to be careful how they articulate themselves in the future because the issue of trade is now clearly laced with racial and ethnic innuendos.
  • Elections need to be “more secure.” One person, one vote is not a legitimate form of democracy nor governance. CPAC aired a whole video about why the national popular vote is a dangerous thing. In addition, a case was made albeit subtly that only the “right” Americans should be able to vote and only their opinions matter. The same “majority” that supposedly delivered Trump a landslide, I suppose.
  • This same “majority” is being put down by all forces in American society. “Systemic racism,” doesn’t exist – white grievance does. These grievances demand protection by, you guessed it, the state.
  • “Military Adventurism” is a bad thing. Governor DeSantis laid this out in his opening remarks seemingly an ad-hoc addition (which didn’t fit with the rest of his speech) in response to President Biden’s decision to attack militants in Syria the previous night. On this the GOP is in line with most Americans thoughts but as the last four years has proven, Republicans, once the party trusted on foreign affairs both at home and abroad has a lack a cohesive foreign policy and as a result the US has taken major steps back geopolitically. In fact, this lack of strategy is undermining President Biden’s efforts to bring the US back into the mainstream abroad as former allies simply cannot trust the US anymore for fear of what the next GOP President might say or do and what illiberal global force the next Republican President may find common cause with.
  • Communist China is a threat and controls the Democratic Party. Strangely though, DeSantis set the tone that the GOP response to this threat is to govern like the Chinese govern and to further retreat from the world so that China can run the table and consolidate itself as the new global Hegemony. Chairman Xi must be LOVING every minute of CPAC.
  • Immigration is a threat to American way of life. This has been made clearer with more direct language than ever during this year’s CPAC.
  • Coronavirus was an excuse for Democrats to curtail freedom. Yet the “conservative” remedy is government forcing private industry to comply with their will.
  • Florida is a model state to emulate on the national level. Preempting local ordinances in woke liberal counties and bullying private companies is how to defeat elitism.
  • “Screw Europe” and let them fend for themselves (in fairness the EU has not covered itself in glory lately in its handling of Covid, but CPAC wasn’t talking about that).

CPAC 2021 has confirmed the drift of the “conservative” movement toward outright statism and overt ethnocentric nationalism. Those of us in Florida have seen this rise as so many of the elements now on display nationally grew out of the Republican Party of Florida and its grip on our state’s governing institutions.

The highlight of CPAC besides DeSantis’ opening speech is the closing speech by non other than President Donald Trump himself tomorrow afternoon. If his speech warrants comment, we’ll be back Sunday to discuss it!

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