NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – Once applauded as “burning man meets the super bowl” for conservatives, CPAC in 2017 is far different. After CPAC made the controversial decision to first invite, and then disinvite, anti-PC conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos, many knew that the atmosphere would be far different. While some of the speakers did include President Trump, Steve Banon, and Mike Pence, those were, by and large, the only highlights of the conference, the schedule of which primarily involved the same slew of #NeverTrump conservatives.
It can be said that CPAC is trying to modernize and appeal to the young attendees who support the president. Other notable speakers included Nigel Farage the highly popular pro-Brexit politician from Britain, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who both spoke to packed ballrooms. Those were certainly the highlights and bookended by a collection of known #NeverTrump conservatives who are struggling to find relevance in a modernizing party with far more young conservatives coming of age.
As Kellyanne Conway suggested, “Every great movement ends up being a little sclerotic and dusty” and, at times, it needs “a little infusion of energy.” Hopefully such an “infusion of energy” happens soon among the more establishment conservatives, otherwise, there is a rumor Mike Cernovich is working on organizing a competing conference.