‘Fight the barbarians’: the MAGA movement charts a battle path in the CPAC

Stopping culture wars is nothing new for the CPAC. But with dark, militant speeches — and literal displays of political opponents of the MAGA movement — this week’s conservative convention in Dallas threatened America with thinly veiled calls for violence, all while the political mayhem of January 6. They were asking for white. Casting the Capitol Hill rioters as victims of the “democratic Gulag”.

From Hungarian authoritarian Viktor Orban to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to right-wing extremist Jacques Posobiec, speakers on the Conservative Political Action Committee urged us-versus-them confrontations that seem unbound by the constraints of electoral politics.

Bannon, now the host of the “War Room” podcast, shared his bellicose message For CPAC, appeared as the keynote speaker at the conference’s Friday night ball. “We are at war,” Bannon told the Maga loyalists. “We are in a political and ideological war.” Reiterating the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, Bannon insisted Joe Biden is an “illegitimate fraud”. Calling on Republicans to send “shock troops” to Washington, Bannon promised the crowd that he had an opportunity to “shatter the Democratic Party as a national political institution.” He alleged that the party has been overthrown by “radical, cultural Marxists” and “groomers” who want to “destroy the republic.” Bannon insisted that the GOP should pursue an absolute victory over “power-crazy and lawless” Democrats, and insisted: “There can be no half-measures now.”

Orbán – Hungarian strongman buff Nazi style rhetoric Race Against Mixing – Received standing ovations For his stern address to the MAGA loyalists on Thursday. Orban described the European Parliament and the federal government in Washington as “two fronts in the battle being fought for Western civilization”, warning, “Today, we hold neither of them, yet we have to hold both of them.” is required.” Orbán called on CPAC attendees and the far right in Europe to create a global movement. “We must unite our forces,” Orban said, to “withdraw” Washington and Brussels.

On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, leaning on a thick Texas accent to the home-state crowd, spoke out against the “power-hungry, outrageous authoritarian nitwits” of the Biden administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Cruz compared his service in the Senate to gladiators: “It’s like the old Roman Colosseum where you slam on a breastplate and you grab a war ax and you fight barbarians,” he said of his Democrat colleagues. Told. “As they say in the military world,” Cruz continued, “it’s a target-rich environment.”

Cruz then suggested that conservatives might need more than just elections to back Washington from “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Cruz told the crowd, “We are on the verge of doing something extraordinary in this country… and each of you is a leader. You are dangerous fanatics. Like the people who signed the Declaration of Independence… die at the Alamo.” Like the people, you are courageous heroes,” he insisted, “fighting for freedom in our country.”

While the CPAC has banned some openly white nationalists from its ranks (including the damaging, Hitler-praising livestreamer Nick Fuentes) hailed its platform Jack Posobiec, the Pizzagate conspiracy theorist recently denounced it as a hate extremists by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their ties to “white nationalists, anti-government extremists, members of the Proud Boys, and neo-Nazis”.

Posobiec took his turn in the spotlight for promoting the New Right (effectively the latest rebranding of the abhorrent “alt-right”). And he, too, portrayed the coming conflicts of the Culture War in militaristic terms: “Are you ready for new ideas to really take the fight forward,” he asked, “because that’s where We live and we are not stopping.”

It may be tempting to dismiss such bombshells from Cruz and Posobiec as empty rhetoric. But Kari Lake, the GOP’s candidate for governor in Arizona, directly threatened a confrontation with the federal government over immigration at the southern border if he should win office in November.

“Our border is under attack,” Lake insisted, referring to undocumented immigrants and refugees. Lake then vowed that after being sworn in, she would mount a military response, even a lack of approval from the Biden administration: “As soon as my hand comes out of the Bible, we will send Arizona National Guard troops to Going to send them to the border,” Lake said. Emphasizing the “sovereignty” of the states, he insisted: “We will take the fight to the federal government. We are not going to fall prey to what they are doing to us.”

The rhetoric of revolution and front-line confrontation ran alongside other speakers and presenters, who left the American as monstrous, evil, and destructive—in other words the kind of enemy that deserves to be dealt with harshly.

In between speeches, CPAC promoted a documentary, hosted by chairman Matt Schlap, called the culture killer, which is against the “great profanity” committed by the Left. “Everything that is good, whatever is sacred, whatever is true is being attacked,” Schlap insisted on the video. The documentary describes America as “under siege from an enemy”, with one voice emphasizing the images of burning cars, “There is no end. These people will not stop until You won’t stop them.”

Apparently more moderate politicians such as Florida Sen. Rick Scott, head of the National Republican Senate Committee, also raised these topics. Scott literally raided it as “evil” for pursuing an agenda he described as socialism against the Democrats.

Condemning the Democrats in terms that encouraged political violence, CPAC speakers consistently downplayed the actual political violence perpetrated by the MAGA movement on January 6. To put forward the “lies about January 6” – of the Committee to Investigate the Capitol Uprising. (Green was not specific about the lie in question, but has long downplayed the violence of the day.)

The CPAC then organized a panel called “You’re Next: The Rise of the Democratic Gulag”, which on January 6 presented the defendants not as alleged perpetrators of the riot and rebellion, but as victims of a rigged judicial system. did.

Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) was the official spokesman for this idiom line. He claimed that January 6. The defendants have been the recipient of “Soviet-style justice” — alleging without evidence that prosecutors, defense attorneys and federal judges are “colluding” to secure a predetermined conviction. The Congressman insisted that “all institutions in the United States have been weaponized, not unlike the former Soviet Union,” to form the “American Gulag”.

Driving home this down-and-up worldview of justice – in an effort directed by former President Trump to insist that participants are being abused by the justice system that is attempting to hold them to account – CPAC Conference Hall also presented a novel performing arts installation .

It depicts a caged man in an orange jumpsuit – meant to symbolize the January 6 defendants – wearing a MAGA hat, crying out over the injustice of his captivity. Convention attendees can don headphones to hear testimonials from actual alleged rioters. This already surreal scene changed by 11 a.m. in the late afternoon, when Green saw the installation and entered the prison cell to rest and pray with the actor portraying the crying man.

The CPAC has long been a political circus, a relatively harmless side. But its latest incarnation has clearly become dangerous – more fascist than spectacle. It is capturing the alleged perpetrators of political violence as martyrs. It is projecting its domestic political opponents as satanic “enemies within”. And it is giving MAGA supporters a military framework for their charge to the “front lines” of America’s culture wars.

In short it is playing with fire. But it’s the rest of us who can get burned.

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