Donald Trump went to CPAC, the conference that used to be the conservative showcase for Republican wannabees for president, and said some very dark, disturbing, even crazy things. His audience loved it.

In his closing address to the conference, which took place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, Trump called Joe Biden a criminal, insinuated that Mitch McConnell was a Chinese sympathizer, and pledged that, if re-elected, he would deliver “retribution” for those who have been “wronged or betrayed,” a victimized group in which he certainly places himself. 

During Trump’s speech, which meandered on for about an hour and forty minutes, he name-checked … Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Mark Levin, Tucker Carlson, and other figures in the post-truth maga firmament. He also consigned the pre-2016 G.O.P. to history, saying, “We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalists, open-border zealots, and fools, but we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush.” He added: “People are tired of rinos and globalists. They want to see America First. That’s what they want; it’s not too complicated.”

The two most recent polls of potential G.O.P. primary voters, which were carried out by Emerson College and Fox News, put Trump’s support at fifty-five per cent and forty-three per cent, respectively, with Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, who has not declared himself a Presidential candidate, running well behind him, at twenty-five per cent and twenty-eight per cent. (John Cassidy)

Trump knows he is very likely on the verge of being indicted. There is a potential indictment by the New York States Attorney for the Stormy Daniels matter. There is a Georgia grand jury that is likely to indict him for his actions in Georgia to try to “find” votes for himself to challenge the Electoral College count on January 6th. And there are two investigations into him by the federal Department of Justice: the Mar-a-Lago documents case and January 6th.  There is a dark foreboding tone in his speech at CPAC that reflects his own angry, defiant, vengeful and deeply worried state of mind.

“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution,” Trump said. “Not going to let this happen. … I will totally obliterate the deep state. I will fire the unelected bureaucrats and shadow forces who have weaponized our justice system like it has never been weaponized before. And I will put the people back in charge of this country again.”

Trump claimed that the country, as he sees it, “will be lost forever” if he does not prevail in 2024.

“This is the final battle – they know it, I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Either they win, or we win. And I promise you this: If you put me back in the White House, their reign will be over, and America will be a free nation once again,” Trump said.

As usual, when you listen to Trump you have to delve deeper and at times you need to flip the script to understand the real message.

Because Trump is talking about himself here.

The Dark Lord

IF Trump gets into the White House again HE is the one who will be free (from consequences) once again. He will avoid prison time (being lost forever), for inciting an insurrection to stay in power on January 6th, corruptly trying to get Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, to manufacture votes for him, for trying to undermine the Justice Department by removing the acting AG and installing Jeffrey Clark instead because he was willing to be his bagman Trump’s corrupt and desperate attempt to stay in power after losing the election to Joe Biden. He will avoid consequences for refusing to return top secret documents that he took to Mar-a-Lago (obstruction of justice).

When Trump talks about being “your retribution” he is speaking in code. He is urging his MAGA followers to be HIS retribution, his military arm , his brown shirts, who will get into the streets when he is indicted (the final battle) and get him the retribution he thinks he deserves because he has been wronged and betrayed. As Trump often does, he is fusing himself with his followers. What Trump is also doing in this nearly two hour rambling foray into the corners of his dark, disturbed mind, is setting up his MAGA brown shirts to get into the streets to fight for him. Trump is also setting himself up to be a kind of martyr, a victim, a Christlike figure because he anticipates being indicted. He is really an anti-Christ, a dark lord, in truth–the opposite of Christ–and he is definitely skulking toward Bethlehem to be (re)born! He says the country will be free again. It’s Trump who would be free if he can get back to power.

For the rest of his days on earth, Trump will be dogged and beset by indictments and hearings and the potential for prison unless he can regain the presidency where he could get a reprieve for however long he is in office. Why? Because as president he can rely on the DOJ opinion Mueller enshrined that a sitting president cannot be indicted WHILE IN OFFICE. That OLC opinion made the presidency Trump’s last chance at a get out of jail free card. The presidency is Trump’s remaining hidey hole. When he is criminally indicted by Jack Smith and other prosecutors, which he will be, Trump is clearly trying to get his future trump cards ready to play.

If Trump were to regain the White House all the guardrails would be gone. He would bring in a grab bag of crazies to run the government. These would be people who believe in conspiracies; people like Mike Lindell, Steve Bannon, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, and Rudy Guiliani and do not believe in democracy. They want Trump to be our first American dictator. Our version of Hitler.

Republicans Are Too Afraid to Challenge Trump

At this juncture there is only one other declared candidate in the race for president and that is Nikki Haley. She appeared at CPAC. Her speech was not well attended.  She was harassed and hounded by MAGAs on her way out of the conference. Other possible presidential contenders are Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, Mike Pence and Chris Christie. But so far none of these folks has the guts to challenge Trump directly. They will not say he lost the election. They will not say how their ideas differ from his. Pence recently went the furthest to chastise Trump for January 6th. He said history would judge Trump. But Pence is refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by Jack Smith’s team investigating January 6th. Pence is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

The Republicans who have declared or are preparing to run against Trump have thus far avoided criticizing him directly — a seemingly unsustainable position given the extent of his lead in recent polls.

Unless someone comes out of the shadows ready, willing and able to take and deliver real punches with Trump and tell the truth to the MAGAs —which is what would be required to beat Trump– Trump will become the GOP nominee for 2024.  And he could win unless Americans rise up and vote like their lives depend on it. Thanks to the extensive gerrymandering and voter suppression, Democrats have to get out the vote in far higher numbers across the country to win in battleground states.


It’s Trump’s GOP Now: A Cult of Millions of People Who Will Not Leave Him

CPAC was not well attended this year. There were many empty seats but those who attended were deeply devoted to Trump. There are Republicans who are not part of the Trump “cult” base and yet they still call themselves Republicans. Even though millions of Republicans say they are tired of losing and want to move on from Trump, they will probably vote for whoever the GOP nominee turns out to be. Which means the nominee will be Trump unless something unanticipated happens.


Political independents (41%) greatly outnumber Republican (28%) and Democratic (28%) identifiers. (Brennan)

Trump will be the likely nominee for the GOP even if he is indicted and even if he is campaigning from prison. Trump told us as much in his CPAC remarks.

When Trump is indicted he will incite his base to riot on his behalf and threaten people to pave the way for Trump to win by cheating. He will scream and yell about being unfairly targeted and victimized. He will gain not lose power with the remaining base of MAGA Republicans. He will not back down when he is cornered. Instead, he will fight harder. This is Trump’s last clear chance to avoid ending his life in a prison cell. He is not about to throw away his last shot.

This is why we are in for a terrible horrible no good campaign from Trump. It will be dark. It will be divisive. He will divide the Republican Party even more. He will be back in our newsfeeds every day declaring victimhood while he ravages everyone else and seeks revenge on all who oppose him.

Exhausted Americans will need to rise up and fight for every vote once again in 2024 because the MAGA Republicans have a grip on the GOP despite losing many elections in 2020 and 2022. This party has lost all pretense of fairness. They only want power. Any way they can get it.

Trump is losing his ability to speak clearly and cogently.  At CPAC he stumbled and bumbled at times, talking about the United “straights” of America and how he would challenge the governors of all 50 “spates”.  He looks old. CPAC was poorly attended. But do not believe it when you read that Trump cannot win or that the MAGAs are ready to move on. They are not. At least not yet.