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The annual Student Action Summit (SAS) in Tampa, Florida has concluded for 2022. Across three days, the event featured practically an A-Z of the biggest names in conservative politics on a pyrotechnics-filled stage.
Their message was all but predictable (the left must be defeated), but the style of such an event was a reminder of the distinct style of politics that the world is currently living through. Every speaker entered the stage accompanied by thumping electronic music, pyrotechnics, and a trailer video showing many of their greatest hits.
One of the most striking images was the enormous line of people queuing to take their photo with Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Meanwhile, protests from both fascist and communist groups outside the venue provided plenty of viral social media content.
It is difficult to conclude whether this “rock star” style of politics is for good or evil. Undoubtedly, the involvement of young political activists is a positive thing. While conservative politics was previously considered a pastime for pale and stale middle-aged men, the levels of energy of millions of Americans of all creed and color shows how times are changing.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and Turning Point USA has identified an effective way of riling up America’s conservative base into winning the battle for the country’s soul. Yet such reverence for politicians and their accompanying movements must always be kept in check. Groupthink is a well-documented phenomenon, and as the great conservative writer Douglas Murray laid out in his best-selling book The Madness of Crowds, “In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”
Although this is a criticism that the right may wish to label the left, the importance of introspection must never be understated. As the renowned political operative Roger Stone once remarked, “politics is show business for ugly people.” As Donald Trump topped the SAS straw poll for the ’24 GOP nomination, well ahead of all the other prospective candidates, Stone’s saying is something that people of all political persuasions should continually bear in mind.
Ben Kew is English Editor of El American. He studied politics and modern languages at the University of Bristol where he developed a passion for the Americas and anti-communist movements. He previously worked as a national security correspondent for Breitbart News. He has also written for The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post, and The Independent
Ben Kew es editor en inglés de El American. Estudió política y lenguas modernas en la Universidad de Bristol, donde desarrolló una pasión por las Américas y los movimientos anticomunistas. Anteriormente trabajó como corresponsal de seguridad nacional para Breitbart News. También ha escrito para The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post y The Independent.