Donald Trump wins CPAC straw poll as participants demand he runs again
The political rally normally serves as an audition for Republican presidential candidates, but the three-day session was another example of how Trump effectively froze the ground more than three years before the next election as he teases another possible application.
Trump accused big tech companies of skewing the votes in the 2020 election through censorship and he berated the press for saying there was no widespread evidence of voter fraud. He accused the “radical left” of cheating and called the 2020 elections “a disgrace for our nation”.
“We are truly despised and disrespectful all over the world. Never forget that the radical left is not the majority in this country. We are the majority and it is not even close,” Trump said as the crowd cheered and chanted “USA! USA! UNITED STATES!”
Although Republicans look to next year’s midterm elections as they attempt to craft an effective line of attack against a popular president and his administration. But there was no more dominant issue at the CPAC rally in Dallas than Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent, even though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the contest. from last year.
“Radical left Democrats are turning the law itself into a weapon of partisan persecution,” Trump said. “Look what they’re doing to amazing people like Rudy Giuliani.”
“There are now two sets of laws in this country – one for the left-wing mafia, rioters and rampages … which can do whatever they want to whoever they want. And there is another set of rules. for law-abiding conservative Americans who happen to be Republicans, who just want to speak their mind and exercise their right to talk about elections, ”he said.
At a rally titled “America UnCanceled,” electoral integrity was ranked as the number one issue facing the country for CPAC attendees, according to the organization’s Straw Poll. When assessing interest in potential White House candidates in 2024, organizers asked attendees to answer two questions ranking their top pick. One question included Trump on the list and the other did not.
Trump topped the list of about a dozen candidates who included him with 70%, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis secured 21% support.
DeSantis, who didn’t even mention Trump at the former president’s recent Florida rally, was the clear winner when Trump was not a candidate.
DeSantis was supported by 68% of CPAC attendees in the second question omitting the former president, followed by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 5% and Donald Trump Jr. at 4%. Trump’s approval rating among CPAC attendees was 98%.
While many CPAC attendees denounced critical race theory, “culture cancellation” and the government’s hand as an impending “big brother” hanging over the lives and decisions of Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump’s insistence that his 2020 contest with Joe Biden be rigged still dominates the GOP agenda eight months after the election.
GOP lawmakers have also tried to push ahead with post-election audits to undermine confidence in the democratic system as they try to win Trump’s favor. Some Republican lawmakers have cited the so-called audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, as a model for potential reviews in their states.
Florida Senator Rick Scott used his stint in the CPAC spotlight on Sunday to condemn the For the People Act, calling it a political takeover and accusing Democrats of playing the race card to defend the bill.
“We should call it what it is, it’s called the Corrupt Politicians Act,” Scott told the crowd. “They don’t want free and fair elections, they want elections that only Democrats can win.”
Scott has advocated for voter identification laws and urged Republicans to stand firm in their quest for state-based legislation that in many cases could make it more difficult for voters to vote.
“Voter identification is not racist, it is common sense,” Scott said. “Our goal is maximum participation and no fraud – period.”
Democrats have condemned proposed election legislation in many GOP-led states known as “Jim Crow 2.0.” But Scott said Republicans shouldn’t fear their efforts to push the restrictions through voters could be criticized as racist.
“We have to stop being bullied,” Scott said. “They are going to call us racists no matter what we do.”
Sara Murray of CNN contributed to this report.