Socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and abortion: 3 themes dominated CPAC, the year's biggest gathering of conservatives

  • The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) featured a major theme: socialism is on the rise and will change your way of life.
  • Speakers ranging from pundits to top government officials railed against the threat of “Marxism” and sweeping social change.
  • CPAC speakers also warned of what they say is Democrats’ desire to practice “post-birth” abortion and infanticide.

OXON HILL, Maryland – The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that takes place every winter at National Harbour just across the river from Washington, DC changes its themes as the political climate shifts. For years it had been about fighting President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, or stopping the scourge of terrorism emanating from the Middle East.

But in 2019, CPAC is all about a new red scare, with panel after panel and speaker after speaker warning attendees of the dangers of socialism, Marxism, and a plot to take over every aspect of Americans’ daily lives.


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“What is America’s biggest problem? Not socialism in Russia, but in America!” said Sebastian Gorka, a conservative media pundit and former Trump White House staffer.

“They want to take away your hamburgers,” Gorka added. ‘This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved.”

The warnings of socialism extended beyond conservative media figures and pundits. Administration, lawmakers, and Republican Party officials all got in on the action.

White House Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow touted President Donald Trump’s economic victories during his speech, like record-low unemployment and steady GDP growth. But Kudlow also warned of “socialism” and what he believes to be a coming fight in the 2020 elections.

“We have made great strides in a couple of years. Now we have to build on that,” Kudlow said. “So I am here with just one simple ask: join us to keep America great and just us to put socialism on trial and then convict it.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who often advises Trump and chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, told attendees that Democrats are “embracing socialism.”

“We’ve got to get to a point where we celebrate capitalism and understand that in America, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, that the American dream is available for everybody,” he added.

The GOP fascination with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who in her rapid political ascent has become the Republican Party’s favourite new boogeyman, was also a major theme. As the face of the “Green New Deal” plan to combat global climate change through sweeping economic transformation, Ocasio-Cortez was a frequent target at CPAC.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel invoked Ocasio-Cortez, as did countless other speakers, to use her as the example of the threat of big government.

“But AOC, we can’t take her for granted. We can’t think that the American people understand what socialism is. We do have to go out and educate,” McDaniel said. “We have to talk about Venezuela where 90% of the people right now are living in poverty, that they don’t have groceries in their grocery stores, that people are eating dog food to survive. That’s the path Democrats want to take us down.”

In between panels and speeches on the main stage, video montages would be played throughout the main ballroom warning viewers of liberalism with Ocasio-Cortez’s face front and center in most of them.

At a CPAC after-party hosted by right wing student activism organisation Turning Point USA, the venue featured a “bread line” with a life-size cardboard cutout of Ocasio-Cortez, who is a self-described democratic socialist, on which an attendee wrote insults.

‘A culture of death’

Speakers at CPAC also focused on the issue of infanticide or the murder of newborn babies as part of the overall theme of government takeover. The infanticide warnings have been fuelled in part by recent comments about late-term abortion made by embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, as well as legislation in various states and the US Senate addressing abortion.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took the stage at CPAC to discuss abortion, during which he compared abortion to the act of taking newborn infants home and then killing them there.

“By the way, it’s not live-birth abortion. It’s not infanticide,” he said. “It is murder if you take the baby home and kill the baby at home, it’s murder. The same thing is true at the hospital”

During Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on Friday, he said, “Democrats have endorsed late-term abortion” while painting a grim picture to the audience.

“With Democrats standing for late-term abortion, infanticide, and a culture death, I promise you this president, this party, and this movement will always stand for the unborn,” he said.

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