Tuesday, February 27, 2024

They Did Nazi A Problem

The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) held their convention last weekend.  Aside from the usual batshit-crazies, they had a sizeable number of Nazis.  Via NBC and Balloon Juice:

Throughout the conference, racist extremists, some of whom had secured official CPAC badges, openly mingled with conference attendees and espoused antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The presence of these individuals has been a persistent issue at CPAC. In previous years, conference organizers have ejected well-known Nazis and white supremacists such as Nick Fuentes.

But this year, racist conspiracy theorists didn’t meet any perceptible resistance at the conference where Donald Trump has been the keynote speaker since 2017.

At the Young Republican mixer Friday evening, a group of Nazis who openly identified as national socialists mingled with mainstream conservative personalities, including some from Turning Point USA, and discussed “race science” and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

One member of the group, Greg Conte, who attended the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said that his group showed up to talk to the media. He said that the group was prepared to be ejected if CPAC organizers were tipped off, but that never happened.

Another, Ryan Sanchez, who was previously part of the Nazi “Rise Above Movement,” took photos and videos of himself at the conference with an official badge and touted associations with Fuentes…

For several years, CPAC and its supporters have attempted to temper the most extreme fringes of the conservative movement, and have welcomed the continued debate between Trump and more moderate conservatives.

This year, however, some attendees and former attendees have expressed frustration with the conference’s stronger association with Trump and his wing of the party.

In one of the most viral moments from this year’s conference, conservative personality Jack Posobiec called for the end of democracy and a more explicitly Christian-focused government. While Posobiec later said his statements were partly satire, many CPAC attendees embraced his and others’ invocations of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection…

The people who organized the convention called the report “fake news.”  Uh huh.  Frankly, they don’t mind welcoming the Nazis into their big tent because, according to the New York Times, it was just a big party… as in cocktails and canapes.

CPAC has long been as much a social event as an opportunity to set the tone and agenda of the conservative movement. But in recent years, as Donald J. Trump has remade the Republican Party, CPAC’s attendance and cultural capital has declined, a trend heightened by allegations of sexual assault made in a lawsuit against the organization’s president, Matt Schlapp. (Mr. Schlapp has denied the allegations.)

In the days leading up to the convention, one longtime conservative activist told The New York Times in a text message that he would rather poke out his own eyes than attend, arguing that the event had turned into a veritable Trump rally at which no other views were permitted.

Those who did show up were quick to note that the CPAC party scene was also on life support.

“It’s dead,” said Michael R. Bartels, 28, the advisory chairman of the New York Young Republican Club. Mr. Bartels said that the conference was caught between an older generation of conservatives in the mold of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and a younger, Trumpier wave…

At the atrium bar in the Gaylord Convention Center, where CPAC was being held, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida posed for pictures with grinning college students and grizzled consultants. Across the way, a small group of men in an assortment of antiquated formal wear — double-breasted coats, lederhosen, low-collared vests — sidled in from the hotel lobby. They stopped to chat with three CPAC attendees, one of whom NBC News identified as a minor internet personality affiliated with the white nationalist Nick Fuentes and his groyper movement.

“I’m a national socialist,” said Gregory Conte, 35, one of the men in formal wear. Mr. Conte, the former operations director for the National Policy Institute, the white nationalist think tank run by Richard Spencer, said he had come to CPAC for “people watching,” but wasn’t willing to pay for attendance…

The “War Room” party was billed as invite-only, but with Mr. Burra at the door, it seemed as if everyone was invited. The groyper contingent showed up alongside several of the costumed National Socialists. So did a contingent of Young Jewish Conservatives.

“It’s all about building coalitions,” said Ian Chase McMath, 31, a member of the New York Young Republican Club and a cameraman for Newsmax. “There could be a future president in this room.”

To quote “Springtime for Hitler,” don’t be stupid, be a smartie; come and join the Nazi party!