Trump’s grip on GOP activist class on display at Texas conclave


In contrast to CPAC’s Orlando occasion in February — and the Religion & Freedom Coalition’s Nashville convention in June — the weekend gathering was lacking many of the non-Trump names floated as potential 2024 contenders, although Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have been among the many elected officers who spoke.

And whereas Trump’s dominant standing within the GOP has by no means been below larger menace from a rising crop of formidable Republicans, the occasion highlighted his continued pull with the occasion’s activists. A straw ballot survey of CPAC Texas attendees’ 2024 preferences confirmed Trump main with 69 % assist, 10 proportion factors larger than his displaying on the February gathering in Florida. DeSantis got here in second place with 23 %.

Trump’s approval score amongst attendees was at 99 %. Ballot methodology, together with the survey dimension and margin of error, weren’t offered.

“I’ve mentioned the final couple CPACs, I don’t suppose it will probably go any larger,” mentioned Jim McLaughlin, a Trump marketing campaign pollster who conducts the CPAC straw polls.

McLaughlin argued that the response from the gathering proved Trump’s affect just isn’t waning.

“Matter of reality, what’s occurring is he’s extra fashionable than ever,” McLaughlin mentioned.

Taking the stage quickly after on the Hilton Anatole on Saturday night, Trump declared that the CPAC straw ballot is a “very revered” survey.

“Once you see these numbers, there’s a nice feeling of unity,” Trump mentioned. “Not solely at CPAC, however I believe the Republican Social gathering.”

But whereas straw polls at different gatherings of conservative activists have additionally confirmed that Trump would begin a 2024 main marketing campaign with a robust lead, current polling of the broader GOP citizens has informed a barely completely different story.

A Siena Faculty/New York Instances poll conducted last month confirmed the previous president with assist from just below half of Republican main voters in a matchup with a number of different candidates. Trump led with 49 % of the vote, adopted by DeSantis with 25 %.

In a separate ballot query eradicating Trump as an choice for 2024, 59 % of CPAC Texas attendees supported DeSantis for president, adopted by 8 % for Donald Trump Jr.

Trump on Saturday once more teased a run. He falsely claimed that he had gained a presidential election “twice,” earlier than including “now we might need to do it once more.”

“However first, we now have to win an earth-shattering victory in 2022,” he mentioned of the midterm elections, wherein Republicans will try and take again management of each chambers of Congress. Trump has doled out endorsements throughout the nation this yr, however to date has declined to place any important marketing campaign cash behind his chosen candidates.

Not solely have been different high potential 2024 rivals absent from the convention, all through the three-day gathering, there was little discuss of them. Audio system as an alternative centered squarely on Trump, largely not mentioning DeSantis or others as high leaders within the occasion.

The loudest voices spreading baseless claims of election fraud in 2020 — claims which have repeatedly been disproven in audits, official investigations and litigation — shied away from discussing Pence, even to criticize him.

Steve Bannon, the previous Trump marketing campaign and White Home strategist who was convicted this week of contempt of Congress, outlined on the convention a imaginative and prescient for the approaching years of the GOP. That included extra candidates like Kari Lake, who gained the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Arizona this week after basing her marketing campaign on disproven claims of election fraud. And, in fact, it included Trump with a second time period in workplace.

Bannon, who was lately discovered responsible on two counts of refusing to cooperate with the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, riled up the gang by suggesting outdoors forces have been making an attempt to jail Trump in an effort to maintain him from in search of the White Home once more.

“They perceive they will’t beat him on the poll field,” Bannon mentioned. “They’ll’t beat his vitality. They’ll’t beat his imaginative and prescient. They’re popping out with a loss of life by a thousand cuts legally, proper, and making an attempt to place him in jail to ensure he can not run once more in 2024 and be the rightful president he needs to be proper now.”

President Joe Biden gained the 2020 election by flipping 5 states Trump carried in 2016 and outstripping him nationally by 7 million votes.

In an announcement to POLITICO after the straw ballot, American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp referred to Trump’s enduring prominence with conservatives.

“There’s an unbreakable bond between President Trump and the conservative motion,” Schlapp mentioned. “He merely did the issues he promised to do and for that they’re eternally grateful.”

On stage Saturday, British commentator and former Brexit Social gathering chief Nigel Farage informed the gang Trump seems to be like he’s prepared for one more run.

Farage, who has visited with Trump lately, informed the CPAC viewers that the previous president seems to have misplaced 20 kilos since leaving workplace.

“The burden of the world is coming off his shoulders,” Farage mentioned. “His nominees are successful the primaries, and I imagine Donald Trump is the person to go on the market and battle on behalf of America and the Western world.”

Scott, the Florida senator whose 12-point “Plan for America” and corresponding advert marketing campaign has been construed as an indication he’s laying the groundwork for a presidential run, bought probably the most resounding applause of his speech when he referred to as for a border wall to be named after “President Donald J. Trump.”


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