Conservatives Push ‘Culture War’ Issues

ORLANDO — As Republicans rallied in “the Free State of Florida” after Joe Biden’s first year as president, speakers at the Conservative Action Policy Conference hammered home the message of an all-out struggle for culture American, saying conservatives need to “take our country back” from the “radical left,” who want nothing less than to shut down their free speech and destroy their way of life.

Everything from pandemic restrictions to school lessons on race are part of a ‘Marxist’ agenda designed to lock people in their homes and ‘cancel’ their ideas, Republican leaders including Gov. Ron DeSantis and senators from Florida Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, to cheers. crowd in the hotel ballroom for the past three days.

Related: DeSantis warns CPAC crowd in Florida who left want to make Republicans ‘second class citizens’

CPAC’s posts largely echoed many of the red meat issues championed by former President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to speak Saturday night.

“What the militant left is proposing isn’t just wrong, it’s wrong,” Scott said during his speech on Saturday. “The fight to save America from socialism is our fight. … We will not be controlled by the Democrats, by the government, by the elites or anyone else.”

Related: Rick Scott touts and defends his ‘Rescue America’ plan at CPAC

Many speakers also questioned the existence of transgender people, saying that ‘gender confusion’ is part of the larger ‘woke’ culture to end the basic ideas that there are only two sexes. and that pronouns cannot be chosen.

Hotspots for this culture war exist online, in classrooms, and even where rockets are exploding on Ukraine’s real battlefields. Several speakers said the United States allowed the Russian invasion because Biden had been co-opted by a radical environmental agenda that made America dependent on Russian oil.

The four-day conference, the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, was held in Florida for the second year in a row after moving from outside Washington, DC, in 2021 to avoid pandemic restrictions for gatherings in person. The location alone was another boost to DeSantis’ soaring national profile, as he was hailed for his early tough stance against the coronavirus mandates of prominent Republicans, even from abroad.

“Isn’t it fitting that CPAC is being held in Florida, the only state in the United States that, with Ron DeSantis as governor, has maintained sound and sensible politics while the rest of the world has gone mad,” said Nigel Farage, British politician and former leader of the Brexit Party.

And the stakes are high; some speakers suggested that allowing Democrats to control the government and mainstream culture would end in the systematic targeting of conservatives. (Rubio, for example, compared Democratic politics to the Cuban Revolution.) The solution to this threat, Republican leaders said, is for conservatives to unite and defend traditional values ​​against powerful corporations, universities and corporations. mainstream media that stand against them.

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Related: Marco Rubio invokes Cuba and Ukraine in CPAC Florida speech on cancel culture

“The problem we face as conservatives is that a lot of these great institutions in our country have been infected with this woke virus,” DeSantis said.

Big Tech, he said, “works with legacy media, they work with the Biden regime to try to marginalize conservative voices. Anyone who disagrees with their orthodoxy is a target.

A call to action… by disabling

To address this issue, Republican leaders have encouraged participants to opt out — read information from sources other than mainstream media, download alternative social media platforms, buy from different companies, and visit doctors different from those from their less politically engaged neighbours, suggesting a further split of Americans as the political bases are drifting apart even in some aspects of everyday life.

Alongside dazzling gun-shaped handbags, Trump hammocks and “Trumpinator” shirts at CPAC kiosks this year were companies like Patriot Mobile, which promoted a $25 “Freedom of Speech” special. per month for unlimited cellular minutes and text messages. The company’s booth featured a cardboard cutout of a muscular Trump carrying a machine gun with the slogan: “Making Wireless Great Again”.

Audra Rogers, who does marketing for The Farm LLC, a platform that organizes luxury properties for rent, said a large majority of clients are curators.

“We try to work with like-minded people,” Rogers said, “to give them the opportunity to do their planning, their events, their vacations in a company where they know they’re supporting people who support their own program.”

The new options appeal to some attendees who said corporations, Hollywood, Broadway, and public schools are “bowing to the woke left.”

“I don’t want to give a single penny to a company that I don’t respect. I don’t want to support them,” said Jay Etzel, a Fort Lauderdale-based life coach.

Coke criticized for being “woke”?

Even Coca-Cola was not too sacred an American symbol to avoid vitriol. During the conference, a video on the hotel’s ballroom LED mega-screen mocked the company with a long chant, calling it “Woke-a-Cola”, stemming from reports that the company was urging employees to be “less white” as part of diversity training.

“I think it’s really important that we start building our own institutions and our own little networks that are respectful of the American way of life,” said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, during a panel discussion titled ” Silly Doctor!Sex changes are not for kids.

In recent years, Schilling’s group has been involved in the conservative push to ban transgender women from participating in women’s and girls’ school sports. Florida enacted such a ban on transgender athletes last year.

Schilling told attendees to keep the pressure on the issue and said the “real bad guys” in the transgender rights culture wars are the drug companies and medical professionals involved in child sex reassignment surgeries. .

“When you find an organization, clinician, or counselor you trust, share it,” said Kimberly Fletcher, founder of Moms for America. “We have to create our own catalog.”

The conference was still heavy on more tried-and-true Republican policy plans like law and order, cutting taxes and inflation, and securing the border. The “Build the Wall” chants remained crowd favorites. Attendees especially burst into applause after U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio broached the subject that many other speakers had avoided, saying, “I believe this election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

But the key issue in reclaiming the national majority midterm, CPAC Republicans have repeatedly said, is parental control over their children’s school curriculum and the fight against “critical race theory,” comparing the momentum of the movement to the energy of the Tea Party.

“It’s time to be on the move, do you feel it? Over the past few months, you’ve seen parents rise up against school boards…you see truckers in Canada rise up against these tyrannical mandates,” said Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general and Senate candidate who was once the DeSantis’ roommate in the Navy. “Let’s go save America.”

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