The sad and desolate scenes of CPAC 2023 Story-level
“There isn’t a storm brewing anymore,” Steve Bannon told the crowd; “The storm is here!” Near. It’s not, not really. Last year in Orlando and then in Dallas, these speakers spoke with voices full of fire and brimstone. The Democrats, newly come to power, had unleashed the Marxist apocalypse. In response, the CPAC thug-pulpiteros vowed the total annihilation of their enemies after the Great Red Wave. None of that happened. The Republicans barely gained control of the house, and what’s worse, the predicted apocalypse never really came. Prices are still high, but they are stabilizing. The border is no worse, the fentanyl epidemic is no worse. The federal debt remains high. The world feels as gray as the DC weather. For people enamored with Trump’s adrenaline-pumping politics, that could be worse than fire and brimstone.
Bannon surely knows. He does what he can to conjure up the energy of the end times. Here it comes: imminent economic ruin due to Ukraine’s debt ceiling and financing; World War III due to Iranian and Chinese machinations. But the real vitriol of him is reserved for “elites” and backstabbers, specifically Fox News. “[Fox doesn’t] respect you. Read the statements”, he says, referring to the recent bomb testimony that the Fox hosts knew the election was not stolen and pushed the narrative anyway.” They fear, loathe and despise you.” This is war, it’s always war with Bannon, one way or another. “‘We need unity, we need unity,'” he says, imitating Fox News. “We’re not looking for unity, we are seeking victory!” The crowd roars at his feet.
It’s not the only feud, another assistant pointed out to me, and he’s not wrong. You cannot take two steps without encountering vicious infighting or total catastrophe. The Daily Wire vs. Stephen Crowder. Project Veritas in ruins. News articles about Matt Schlapp, the longtime face of CPAC, include at least one paragraph about Herschel Walker’s male staffer alleging that Schlapp did not consensually “grab [his] scrap and hit him long.” Fox versus Trump, DeSantis versus Trump, the Club for Growth versus ACU… it’s an infighting to the bitter end.