This year’s CPAC promises to be a wild ride of off-the-wall bonkers

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference, known as  CPAC, kicked off Thursday outside Washington, D.C. Here is a sampling of the many speakers on tap at this year’s gathering of right-wing operatives and officials: 

Whether it’s giving the GOP faithful access to far-right nationalist Hungarian leader Viktor Orban and his race-purity politics or right-wingers telling audiences that Democrats threatened to steal their grandparents’ insulin, CPAC has always been a safe space for extremists. Even before the official events began Thursday, a very unsurprising video of Jan. 6 insurrection deniers chanting about “J6” political prisoners inside the conference halls circulated on social media. 

How unsurprising is this tomfoolery? Here’s a Jan 6.-themed pinball machine on display at the conference this year.

This year’s conference comes after a rough year for the organization. 2023 began with CPAC head honcho and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp being accused of groping and fondling a younger male who happened to be a Herschel Walker campaign staffer. Not long after those allegations surfaced, the organization’s treasurer Bob Beauprez resigned his position after eight years, saying he had “lost confidence” in leadership. He also implied financial dealings at the organization were less than transparent. This was followed by a lawsuit accusing Schlapp of inappropriate behavior that dated back for years. Thoughts and prayers and all that.

The conference is set to wrap up shortly before South Carolina primary voters head to the polls on Saturday. While Trump’s primary opponent Nikki Haley has been invited to the event, whether or not she will attend remains unknown. 

What is known is that Donald Trump will say bad things about Haley, make many of his fellow Republicans at CPAC uncomfortable, and then they will swallow that bile and vote for him anyway.

Finally, here’s a brief moment from the opening of the gates of hell.

Democratic voters know Joe Biden is old and MAGA voters like to pretend that Trump isn’t just as long in the tooth. Both men were old the last time we did this and the only thing that’s changed is Biden is now a successful incumbent, while Trump is busy juggling trials and indictments.

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