CPAC: A Star Trek Convention for Trump Fans

CPAC: A Star Trek Convention for Trump Fans

Back when Barack Obama was president, I used to spend the four days of CPAC watching the live stream of the panels and speeches on my computer. At that time, the Tea Party was on the rise, inspiring, invigorating, and motivating the Republican base, and CPAC was solidly rooted in the rising Tea Party’s conservative, America First ideals.

But when social media took over much of our political discourse, CPAC began to lose its luster for me. It became a “too online” shadow of itself, eager to serve up Twitter-style red meat that its attendees devoured with gusto.

Post-Trump presidency, however, CPAC has devolved into a Star Trek convention for Trump fans. While the social media-driven red meat is still at the heart of it, now that red meat is made up entirely of Trump Steaks.

The CPAC of today is a ghost of what it once was, geared solely to appeal to the way-too-online Trump fans with Twitter handles like @UltraMAGADeplorableSusie and @MAGADefender037530267.

This explains why the organizers chose Arizona gubernatorial loser Kari Lake to be the keynote speaker at the Reagan dinner. When your target audience is Trump’s most ardent fans, you have to give them what they want. And they want the Republican Stacey Abrams.

Many of this year’s speakers were members of the Trump Trek cast. In addition to Kari Lake, the Yoeman Rand of Trump Trek, CPAC also featured Donald Trump Junior, the MyPillow guy, Majorie Taylor Greene, Steve Bannon, and, of course, the star of the show, Donald Trump Shatner himself.

Unsurprisingly, Trump won the presidential straw poll at the Trump Trek Convention, which is a vast improvement to how Trump did seven years ago when, in March 2016, Ted Cruz topped the field with 40%, followed by Marco Rubio with 30% and Donald Trump with just 15%.

Then again, in March 2016, CPAC wasn’t a Star Trek Convention for Trump fans. In fact, Donald Trump skipped the 2016 CPAC entirely, much like Ron DeSantis did this year.

Now, if CPAC wants to turn its conservative conference into a Star Trek convention for Trump fans, more power to ‘em. And as long as enough people are willing to pay the exorbitant admission price to attend and the organizers can still find advertisers willing to sink money into it, CPAC will likely continue riding on Trump’s coattails for as long as it’s profitable to do so.

But by shrinking its focus to a single politician, it is also shrinking its appeal, which is probably why most of the possible 2024 Republican candidates decided to give it a pass. Ron DeSantis or Mike Pence is no more likely to attend CPAC than Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford is to attend a Star Trek Convention.

It certainly didn’t help that CPAC chair Matt Schlapp is currently being sued for allegedly groping a former Herschel Walker staffer last fall. Like a noxious fart in an elevator, that kind of stink isn’t particularly inviting.

I also couldn’t help but notice that the enthusiasm for CPAC has dried up on social media. I used to see tons of tweets with video clips featuring the various CPAC speakers and panelists. But not so much this year. It just doesn’t seem to be the “must-see” event that it once was.

The only video clips I saw were posted by members of the Anti-Trump ResistanceLOL who were breathlessly “well-I-nevering” over something one of the speakers or panelists said.

For me, the thrill is gone. Then again, I pretty much stopped caring about CPAC eight years ago. And since I don’t dress head-to-toe in Trump swag or get my “news” from the Gateway Pundit, it isn’t as if CPAC is going to go out of its way to try and win me back.

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5 thoughts on “CPAC: A Star Trek Convention for Trump Fans

  • March 5, 2023 at 8:39 am

    Kinda takes all the excitement out of the room, doesn’t it?

  • March 6, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Dianny; I recently found a comprehensive review of Kari Lake’s AZ Supreme Court appeal (, maybe glance through the highlights before consigning Kari Lake to the Trumpian scrap heap of election-denialism. I live in AZ, and have followed this case from the beginning. Agree that yes, irregularities present on election day(s) 2020 and 2022, but without a fearless judiciary and fearless lawyers, I think these “irregularities” will continue, much to the detriment of our beloved country. Love your snark and commentary!! Keep it up!!

  • March 9, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Dianny , I take your Trump bashing in stride, and your election denialism as well. To be clear yes I believe YOU are an election denier in the fact that you don’t or can’t believe it was stolen, the 2020 presidential election. Now to call Kari Lake the Republican Stacy Abrams well I have to rebut that one . Polling , even from the Lamestream Media , was showing Kari Lake at 68% over Soros owned Katie the Kommie Hobbs up to Election Day , then once again votes are counted ,counted and counted until The Demtard candidate is declared the victor , oh by the way did I mention that Kommie Katie as Arizona Secretary of State was in charge of overseeing the election? Certainly no conflict of interest there , oh heavens no , the fox guarding the henhouse, what on earth could possibly go wrong? So in closing Dianny, whilst Trump has his many flaws , he’s the man that can get things done , and Kari Lake was cheated out of her governorship of Arizona. p.s. just for your information I’m a resident of the state of Arizona. Sincerely, Greg A. Perrin

  • March 9, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    I agree, Greg, Kari Lake was robbed. I live in WA and in 2004, three recounts and the remarkable discovery of an “automobile trunk full of ballots” in Seattle/King County gave Gregoire (D) the narrow gubernatorial victory over Rossi (R): a complete travesty. But, that was not a one-off in this state. Oh, no, fraudulent elections are a tradition in WA. In the general election of 1890, one year after WA statehood, the Tacoma Daily Ledger (8 Nov 1890, pg4) ran this article:
    “King County’s Stolen Votes
    2000 were added to the population of Seattle in telegraphing the figures to the governor for the use of the legislature, after 3008 bogus names had already been added to the original count by the census office. This error gave King County two representatives in the legislature more than she is entitled to and is of course a fraud on all the rest of the state.” Ahhhh, as Tevya might sing: Tradition!

  • March 9, 2023 at 7:16 pm

    As a Floridian who worked on his initial campaign where he only squeaked through thanks to Trump:, I have this to say:

    Ron DeSantis belongs in Florida, where he is a decent governor. Not great, note. He fell for covid nonsense before he didn’t. He’s copied MAGA and Trump positions while undermining him for at least a year now. And while he — and the majority Republican legislature — pander on the wedge social issues, he is pretty awful on economics (our insurance rates, e.g. are out of sight), and has a history of aligning with globalism (see, e.g. who is pushing for him and what he did as a Congresser).

    The bottom line is that DeSantis has been seized on as the person who can fool the Trump base by the anti-Trumpers. He now is controlled by his powerbroker donors, and even were he not at their mercy for money and totally pure of intention, simply does not have the business or international experience to pull this country out of its tailspin.

    I am gravely disappointed, Dianny, that you have fallen for the GOPe propaganda. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Looks like Lifson at AT similarly.

    As for CPAC, that was a deliberate undermining by the anti-Trump forces. They simply refused to attend once Trump was made keynote speaker.

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