Nolte: Three Big Takeaways from Donald Trump’s CPAC Speech

Former president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux

Former President Trump returned to the political fray at CPAC on Sunday with a stem-winder of a speech that signaled, at least to me, three big things worth pointing out.

  1. It Is Still Trump’s Republican Party

Never, at least in my lifetime, has a former president or a losing candidate remained in control of the Republican Party. Trump is both. He served a single term as president. He lost his 2020 reelection bid. Nevertheless, this is still his party to command. There is no competition.

Why is this?

One very simple reason: the people are still with him, and the people are still with him because he never betrayed us, never went soft, never fell for any fake media narratives. Also, some three-quarters of Republican voters believe the Democrats cheated in 2020, and not without cause.

Trump also received more raw votes in 2020 than anyone in history other than His Fraudulency Joe Biden. Trump won millions more votes than even Barack Obama.

Trump is very popular. His ideas are popular. His willingness to stand up to the fascist media and increasingly dangerous Democrat party is popular.

He speaks truths no one else has the courage to speak, and Republicans see him as their champion — their only champion.

  1. If He Remains Healthy, Trump Will Run Again in 2024

It sure sounded, at least to me, as though Trump intends to run again in 2024. He’ll turn 78 that year, and if his health holds, what would stop him? The temptation would be just too great to turn down.

Think about it…

To begin with, if Trump runs again in 2024, he is all but assured something unprecedented: the Republican nomination. Think about what it means to know you will win the GOP nomination… It means Trump knows that in 2024, he will have a 50/50 chance of winning back his presidency. Whoever wins the GOP automatically becomes one of only two people who will become president.

The lure of knowing you have a 50/50 chance of becoming president has to be something beyond enticing.

And what happens if Trump does win back the presidency? He makes fools of his enemies. He makes history. He vindicates his loss.

How tantalizing is that?

No one can know what’s in Trump’s mind, but on Sunday he sounded like a man who has no intention of going away, of surrendering after what he sees, and not without cause, as being cheated out of his reelection.

  1. Social Media Blacklisting Is a Blessing in Disguise

Try to imagine an alternate universe where Trump was not blacklisted from every social media platform and where, for the last six weeks, he’d been popping off daily on Twitter and elsewhere, lashing out at Biden, the media, Liz Cheney, and what all… Would his Sunday speech have been as powerful and anticipated and, dare I say, as presidential as it was?


In the end, social media, most especially his tweeting, diminished Trump, especially in the final year of his presidency, when things got serious with the race riots and coronavirus. He just never grew into the job. Never learned to use the aura and mystery of the presidency. Never could raise himself above it all.

This blacklisting created a forced absence, and this six-week absence enhanced the stature of his CPAC return.

Because no one knew what he was thinking, the speech was much more anticipated and important than it would have been otherwise.

Also of note is how disciplined the speech was. This was more of a State of the Union than a campaign speech. Trump had things he wanted to say, ideas to pass along, and instead of playing to the crowd, he pretty much stuck to the script.

This is a very good thing … if he sticks to it.

In many ways, Joe Biden is president because, at a very late age, in his 70s, he grew into a politician with more stature. The smarmy, wannabe-Rat Packer we’d known for decades gave way to a more disciplined, sober, and grandfatherly presence. Whatever you think of him, Biden is not the guy he was, even in 2012. That creep would never have become president.

Trump turns 75 this year. Maybe his advanced age combined with the 2020 loss and his inability to pop off on Twitter whenever the mood strikes, has forced a discipline on him he would not have otherwise embraced. And maybe now, he will see that — as outrageous as the blacklisting is — this discipline and gravitas, the mystery, aura, and weight that come from wondering what a president-in-waiting has to say about things, is a much better look.

I sure hope so.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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