Madison Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress representing North Carolina’s eleventh district, was the opening speaker for the 2021 CPAC conference in Dallas, Texas. The congressman christened the conference that is filled with politicians eager to ride the so-called Trump Train. An estimated 4,000 conservatives arrived at the convention center to listen to panels and speakers over the weekend.
Cawthorn began the convention on-brand with familiar targets. The congressman pilloried career politicians, the mainstream media, and those who “sow division.” According to Cawthorn, while 20 percent of the Left is unwilling to compromise, the majority of Americans are united. He advocated that ordinary people get involved in local politics and “get uncomfortable.”
While Cawthorn didn’t target critical race theory by name, the Left’s influence over local politics and school boards were consistent themes in his remarks. School-board elections are about more than erasers, according to 26 year-old. Cawthorn also cited his own governor, a “blue governor,” as part of his message that local elections and state politics matter in 2020 and beyond.
Cawthorn covered an impressive amount of ground in his brief speech. He touched on Big Tech, calling social-media companies “the modern town square.” His attack on Big Tech was met by audience applause. However, he emphasized that there were practical ways to fight against conservative censorship. Cawthorn implored American to “break their algorithms” by sharing, clicking, and liking conservative content.
The speech was met with enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation, and scattered laughter throughout. Cawthorn was full of energy and the audience’s enthusiastic response indicates the energy level of conservative activists attending the convention.