- - Saturday, March 11, 2023

This year, CPAC came at a critical time for our nation.  

Joined by conservatives from across the globe, CPAC was a major success that capitalized on a unique moment in history where it seems that socialism has surrounded us on all sides. In just a few short years under the Biden administration, free speech has been branded as violence, and liberty has been reduced to an enemy of public health. As America sat idly by, our education system, institutions, and agencies fell into entitled, self-loathing socialists.  

Ultimately, every right, freedom, and ounce of Americanism has been rendered unimportant in the face of an insatiable socialist movement being further propelled by the Biden presidency.  This is why at CPAC this year, we were focused on Protecting America Now. 

While in the past, conservatives might have been content keeping to themselves, being motivated by a dead notion of “live and let live,” this is no longer a winning strategy. So, from day one, CPAC this year had to be different.  

Instead of just the typical self-righteous anger directed at the Left, Americans on the CPAC stage were focused on providing solutions, instilling knowledge, and providing unique insights to advance the tactical response to Protecting America and her founding principles.  

Rep. Jim Jordan, for instance, kicked off CPAC with a provocative conversation on the weaponization of the federal government and his plan of attack to hold them accountable. Chaya Raichik, the creator of ‘Libs of Tik Tok,’ also took center stage to expose the mental corrosion of people victimized by the Left’s woke ideology and explained that with an open media, the Left practically destroys itself.  

Conservatives on the CPAC stage veered away from the status quo talking points on grievances and moved to provide courage and unique perspectives. This fresh and action-oriented perspective was achieved by including new voices, entrepreneurs and community rabble-rousers.

The most enjoyable part of CPAC was the reliably leftist media complaining about the lack of establishment Republicans on the stage. Establishment Republicans are good at one thing, following, and they will mostly follow when we show strength and lead.  What the media failed to show the public is that CPAC this year had an unmatched lineup of high-caliber individuals, including nine members of the senate, chairmen of four of the most powerful House committees; Jim Jordan, Mark Green, James Comer, and Jason Smith, two former world leaders; Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil, and President Donald J. Trump and an impressive list of future leaders.

With no lack of talent on the CPAC stage, attendees got more out of this year’s CPAC than ever before.

But the media’s attacks on CPAC targeted not only the attendance (CPAC stopped selling tickets midway through the conference because of capacity concerns) of the event itself but also the speakers onstage. After Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire gave a compelling speech to protect our children and the preservation of truth, the media was quick to twist his words and claimed that Mr. Knowles was calling for the genocide of trans people. In reality. They are always desperate to discredit anyone who questions the ‘freedom’ that comes with prescribing to our children the same hormone blockers used to chemically castrate sex offenders.

It seems that the fight to protect women and children is now a responsibility uniquely held by the Right. Proudly accepting this obligation, CPAC hosted twelve-time All-American Swimmer, Riley Gains, who was simply there, to tell the truth: Men should not compete in women’s sports. And just as, if not more notable, de-trans activist Chloe Cole joined us to share her story and why children must be protected from the harms of the Left’s radical gender ideology.  

When it came to the many issues surrounding culture, children, and ideology on the CPAC stage, the prevailing line of thought was that if the Left does not want a rational conversation, then we move to legislation at any level, anywhere.

CPAC this year was also packed with a strong international presence, including delegations from Japan, Hungary, Italy, Israel, and Australia on top of regular attendees. Notably, many Brazilians came out in droves Saturday to see Jair Bolsonaro give a captivating speech on the proliferation of socialism and corruption in his home country of Brazil. Speaking Portuguese, Jair’s best statements were immediately met with almost unruly cheers from the Brazilian crowd, and then once more when his electric statements were translated.  

With our Constitution under attack, basic rules of society in question, and our international position in contention, CPAC this year provided the platform for the best leaders among us to begin making the changes conservatives need. At CPAC, we have set a better conservative agenda for the future and have set the stage for Protecting America Now. While the media and the Left will remain committed to bashing the conference and attempting to destroy this effective organization, conservatives can find respite in the fact that if we are making them upset, we definitely did something right.

• Matt Schlapp is CPAC chairman and former White House political director under President George W. Bush.

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