On Saturday of this week, former President Donald Trump will be in Orlando, Florida, to close out the Conservative Political Action Conference. He did exactly that in 2021.
Here are a sampling of the headlines from two Trump CPAC appearances in 2021, one at CPAC in Orlando, the other in Dallas: “Trump wins the CPAC straw poll as attendees clamor for him to run again,” “Trump Rocks the House During CPAC 2021 Closing Speech,” “President Trump Brings Down The House At CPAC,” and “Trump Triumphed at CPAC.”
CPAC has already posted this short, CPAC-specific Trump video on the speakers section of its website in which the former president mentions that a bigger venue has been obtained because there were thousands who could not get in last year. (And here is the complete star-studded list of CPAC speakers.)
Now, in the last few days, along comes this headline from, but of course, the Washington Post: “A weakened Trump? As some voters edge away, he battles parts of the Republican Party he once ran.”
Talk about wishful thinking!
Trump’s problem in the GOP, according to the Post, is supposedly that he continues to support election integrity.
Really? As I note often enough, I live in the middle of the key electoral state of Pennsylvania. I have already this year moderated debates for the GOP candidates in the Pennsylvania races for governor and senator, and am scheduled to moderate another Senate debate in April for the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference. And it is very safe to say the candidates — none of whom are Donald Trump — are also supporting greater election integrity.
As I headlined in this space about the two debates I moderated in Lawrence County in Western Pennsylvania: “Trump Supporters Swarm Pennsylvania GOP Senate, Gubernatorial Debate: The former president’s base holds fast.”
Perhaps the Washington Post should get out into America?
It is amusing to see the utter lack of understanding by the Post of the history of the Republican Party as that history shows up yet again, pertaining — this time — to Donald Trump.
Once upon a time, long, long before Trump was on the political scene, the same things said about Trump today (and in 2016!) by establishment Republicans were said about, yes indeed, Ronald Reagan.
Here’s how this very old establishment game is played.
Establishment media seeks out establishment Republicans to get the story out that an outsider GOP presidential candidate can A) never win or B) if mistakenly nominated, the outsider will cause the death of the GOP.
As I noted in discussing this in this very space way back in 2015 (“Yes Trump Can Win” was the title of the piece), here is a sampling of what the establishment Republicans of the day were saying about Reagan. Historian Steven F. Hayward notes these statements in his two-volume history The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order 1964-1980. Hayward’s second volume is titled: The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980-1989.
– Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
– New York’s Republican Senator Jacob Javits said that Reagan’s positions are “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
– Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy wrote in the Suffolk News-Herald that Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life,” he said.
– Former President Gerald Ford told the New York Times that if the Republican Party nominated Ronald Reagan, “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican. A very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”
And on and on … and on and on … this kind of nonsense went. And yes, the establishment media of the day was peddling the same line, samples here:
– New York Times: Reagan’s candidacy is “patently ridiculous.”
– New Republic: “Reagan is Goldwater revisited … He is a divisive factor in the party.”
– Harper’s Magazine: “That he should be regarded as a serious candidate for president is a shame and an embarrassment for the country at large to swallow.”
Chicago Daily News: “The trouble with Reagan, of course, is that his positions on the major issues are cunningly phrased nonsense — irrationality conceived and hair-raising in their potential mischief… Here comes Barry Goldwater again, only more so, and at this stage another such debacle could sink the GOP so deep it might never recover.”
So here comes the aforementioned Washington Post the other day, in the style of somebody whistling past the graveyard, hoping beyond hope that headlining that former Trump is “weakened” … will make it so.
This is laughable on its face.
Not only is the Trump base solid as a rock, as I can personally attest from that night in western Pennsylvania, but his upcoming CPAC appearance in front of thousands of conservative activists from all over the country will demonstrate this hard political fact once again.
But to erase any doubt about how wildly wrong that Washington Post headline and accompanying story is?
Tune in to CPAC. His appearance will be televised and streamed on conservative media outlets.
Newsflash for the Washington Post — and both the establishment media and the establishment GOP: CPAC will demonstrate vividly that the Trump train will be moving.
In fact? It’s moving already.