It’s unconfirmed yet whether it was intentional or an unfortunate coincidence, but it seems at least symbolic that even the CPAC stage itself is shaped like a symbol adopted by Nazis and subsequent white supremacist movements.
All of it points to a grim future for the country if the movement currently animating the conservative movement holds majority power over the next decade. Defeat has not chastened the movement, but rather emboldened it. And if CPAC is the predictor it normally is, the next incarnation of Republican power will be even more aggressively racist and authoritarian than its predecessor.
But CPAC isn’t a sideshow. It’s the main stage of the conservative movement, predicting its future behavior in an era of widening asymmetric polarization. CPAC presaged the rise of the Party of Reagan over that of Gerald Ford and Dwight Eisenhower. It heralded the scorched-earth confrontational politics of Newt Gingrich in the Bill Clinton era. It elevated George W. Bush at a time when the mainstream GOP still saw itself more in the mold of John McCain. It celebrated the Tea Party before GOP legislators had fully embraced it. And it promoted openly racist birthers and conspiracy theorists like Donald Trump at a time when the the mainline GOP was producing superficially anti-racist autopsies and promoting candidates like Marco Rubio and Spanish-speaking Jeb Bush. So if we want to know where the Republican Party is heading today, we should pay close attention to CPAC. So what’s the theme now? Where is it going? The answer seems to be doubling down on Donald Trump, white supremacy, insurrection and conspiracy theories. One theme of CPAC this year is unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump, and an insistence that not only is there no conflict within the party over Trump, but anyone who suggests otherwise is a has-been or fifth-columnist attempting to subvert the movement:As CPAC Goes, So Goes the GOP. And It’s Not Looking Good. | Washington Monthly