American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Matt Schlapp told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview ahead of the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that this year’s conference will focus on exposing and explaining the contrast between the rising socialist left inside the Democrat Party and a renewed and energized GOP under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
“We believe that CPAC 2020 is unique because we believe the starting gun goes off for the presidential campaign,” Schlapp told Breitbart News late last week. “The Saturday of CPAC is the Saturday of the South Carolina primary. We’ll have a much clearer idea of the Democratic presidential race. We believe that presidential race is reflected in our theme ‘America Versus Socialism.’”
As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) rises through the ranks of the Democrat Party to become the delegate leader—before this year’s CPAC, he has won the popular vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, the first-ever candidate in either party to do so in a presidential primary process—the focus of rising socialism on the left is becoming clearer. Democrats are in panic mode as Sanders surges heading into South Carolina’s primaries, and next week’s Super Tuesday contests, but on the other side of the aisle President Trump and a cleaned up and newly unified Republican Party are on the march as this election year kicks off. Gone are the likes of former House Speaker Paul Ryan, and uninvited from CPAC this year are the handful of globalist establishment Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
Schlapp said this year’s CPAC theme, “America Versus Socialism,” offers a contrast between Trump’s renewed and refreshed GOP and the rising socialist left taking over the Democrat Party that “couldn’t be clearer.”
“The policies of all the major Democratic candidates reflect the fact that their grassroots supporters want a socialist party,” Schlapp said. “They don’t want a Democratic Party; they want a socialist party. They’ve essentially let the genie out of the bottle with their rhetoric and their recklessness. Now they’ve, through their indoctrination through the public school system and the media, they’ve created a whole couple generations of people who believe everyone gets a trophy and that everyone should make the same amount of money and that if you’re more successful in society you have to turn those resources over to the government to redistribute them. And at the same time, they don’t want to take on China and they don’t want to take on radical Islamic terrorism, and they’re okay with the disintegration of the foundations of society like the family.”
Schlapp said, too, that this year will have “probably more politicians” than movement leaders because “of the nature of the year” being an election year, but that CPAC is “also the place where the conservative movement comes together to plot and to plan.” He said that CPAC is a place where the movement hashes out ideas and fleshes out what it stands for—a deep discussion that has been different from year to year among conservatives.
“But it’s also a place where the coalition of people who are supporting Donald Trump and the more aggressive conservative members of Congress and some of the new governors like Ron DeSantis, it’s the place where people who might consider themselves nationalists or populists but also definitely conservatives, Trump supporters but otherwise not that political, it’s a broad coalition that believe in conservative policy goals but is accepting of those that might choose a little bit different of a title,” Schlapp said.
The interest in CPAC in 2020 is several times higher than any previous year. Almost every hotel room in National Harbor, Maryland, is sold out, and Schlapp said CPAC tickets have sold “three times the pace of last year.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” Schlapp said. “Last year’s was our most subscribed CPAC, you might say, in our history. This year, everything sold at three times the pace of last year. There won’t be a scrap of food, a hotel room, or a ticket in the nosebleeds left by the time we get to the end of the week. There simply will be nothing left. We’ve never quite been in that situation before.”
Schlapp told Breitbart News that the intense national interest in CPAC, he believes, is for a number of reasons. First off, President Trump has energized the base showing the people how to win again. Secondly, the escalated risks of the other side—what socialism would do to the country—has Americans on edge.
“I think it is a reflection of two things: Number one, Donald Trump has given a huge swath of the country great hope that their country can regain its footing,” Schlapp said. “The other is that the ‘Squad’ and Bernie Sanders and others have instilled great fear in Americans that things they took for granted that were reflected in their country are now at serious risk. You could say that it’s both the fear of an America turning away from its soul and turning towards socialism in combination with great emotional connections to Donald Trump for fighting just as hard, and just as dirty, as the other side fights.”
Another major theme of CPAC this year is going to be a deep dive explanation and presentation of just how aggressive, calculating, and deliberate plotters against President Trump who have engaged in multiple failed coup attempts—culminating with the unsuccessful impeachment push late last year and early this year—are against him. Schlapp said that the left pursues such measures like impeachment because its policies have been exposed as failures, while Trump is succeeding.
“I think when the Democratic Party can’t make the argument that their policies would actually increase the take-home pay for average Americans—their policies have actually resulted in higher poverty, the ‘forgotten man and woman,’ losing jobs and the manufacturing base, as well as stagnant wages and take-home pay,” Schlapp said. “So they can’t make that class warfare argument like they usually so deceptively try to peddle, because the numbers are all on the side of the Trump economy. So they can’t make those arguments. They can’t make the argument they’re tough on China because they’ve been AWOL in the fight. So they are left with their Richard Nixon strategy, which is if you can’t beat a Republican on policy then call him a ‘crook,’ find a special counsel and live by the mantra ‘only Republicans go to prison.’”
Part of why CPAC is going to focus on this—with multiple panels and speeches and guests—is because, Schlapp said, the establishment media and Democrat filters have shaded the truth about these coup attempts. Schlapp said CPAC intends to cut through the clutter and explain things factually and clearly so the public can see exactly how malicious these coup attempts against President Trump have really been.
“Yeah, I think the problem with what the Democrats have perpetrated since 2015 by colluding with the Deep State to do anything to stop Trump is that they have made it very confusing and complicated for Americans to figure out the skullduggery that’s been actually going on,” Schlapp said. “We’re going to walk carefully from 2015 through today through what actuality happened in the run-up to the 2016 election, who actually did the colluding with foreign powers, what actually went on with Ukraine, what was the Clinton campaign doing there and how were they colluding with a foreign power and how were they coordinating with the Obama administration in which she most recently served. Then you have the question with what happened with Spygate, and the Intelligence Committee. Who were the real liars? What did Mr. Brennan and Mr. Clapper do? Do we believe they committed [any crimes]? Walk through with real specificity giving it the time it needs with no commercial breaks to tell the story. If you read the book, you would think it would be a fiction book. But it’s non-fiction. We’re going to go through it chapter by chapter.”
What’s more, Schlapp added that a unique feature of CPAC this year is how unified Republicans and conservatives are behind President Trump going into the 2020 election. “In your lifetime or my lifetime, it’s just not been there,” Schlapp said of the newly developed GOP unity against the left—something that’s really come together in response to the coup attempt against Trump but has been building since Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.
“You know how they say ‘sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to deal with your problems?’ In order to make progress, sometimes in your own life you have to examine what you’re doing wrong and really fix it for good in order to prosper,” Schlapp said. “I think that the thing the left and the media didn’t understand when rifts among Republicans were exposed and there were chasms the size of the Grand Canyon, it seemed like the coalition was forever split and there wasn’t a way to pull it back. But the way to pull it back was to elect somebody the grassroots respects, and to elect somebody who stands for something the grassroots had been calling for for decades. In so doing, that leader named Donald Trump has actually united us in a way that we’ve never been united before—and the polling demonstrates that.”