Trump's shadow remains undented at CPAC
The former President is under investigation for his incitement of the Capitol storming of last year.
Although he lost the last election and is being investigated for his inciting of the violence that occurred in the Capitol attacks of 2021, Donald Trump's authority in the Republican Party remains unassailable.
The insurrection left 7 people dead and more than 100 officers injured, including four officers who later committed suicide. More than 700 persons have been charged as a result of the investigation.
The former President is scheduled to make an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday.
Countless caps of "Make America Great Again" can be spotted at CPAC and Trump's influence can be felt in speeches such as Senator Ted Cruz's that are loaded with insults and assaults on people hated by conservatives.
Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, told AFP that "Trump is so popular that whatever position he takes most Republicans feel that they have to go along with them or at least not overly criticize them."
If they do, she added, "the President is going to take political revenge."
Trump's influence is visible ahead of the midterm elections in November, with some of his remarks implying electoral consequences for Republicans who do not fall in line.
Last month, he suggested that if he was re-elected, he may pardon some who partook in the January 6 assault on Capitol, a declaration that was met with little if any pushback.
According to a Politico survey published earlier this month, half of the Republican supporters want to set the claims of a stolen election aside and move forward.
According to Jewett, "I think many of the Republican leaders, including a lot of campaign managers, would rather put that behind them," adding that they don't wish to discuss things that may be controversial for voters.
Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, says that Trump "is still a person whose endorsement is sought after, especially in the most conservatives areas."
Trump's grip is so strong that few other prominent voices in the party stand out, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking to be the only likely exception.
DeSantis' CPAC speech on Thursday, in which he again blasted Biden and framed himself as a protector of individual liberty against an overbearing federal government, was received with shouts and clapping.
Some of his measures in Florida, such as banning Covid-19 mask regulations in schools, earned him a darling of media outlets such as Fox News.
MacManus says that as a governor, DeSantis has a very good feel of the economical issues that affect local governments and local businesses, making him a favorite for President Trump, according to polls released this week by the University of North Florida.
However, DeSantis has not ruled out the possibility of running for President and according to polls released this week, the governor may share a close tie with Trump if he runs.
Jewett noted that if DeSantis decides to run, then it may be " political suicide".