Jun 5, 2022 - Politics

Social conservatives feel like 2022 is their moment to win

Illustration of an evolution diagram of three elephants, with the middle one showing surprise
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The social conservative rallying cry ahead of November's midterm elections took shape at the two-day Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where the movement's leaders emphasized a wide range of cultural issues to motivate supporters.

Details: The biggest applause lines from the stage β€” and the sentiment from interviews with more than a dozen people β€” focused on resisting the government, defeating diversity, outlawing abortion and the "2020 riots" β€” a reference to racial justice protests after George Floyd's death.

  • In short, "Jesus and the Constitution," said Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, the summit's host.

Why it matters: Social conservatives are having a moment.

  • The potential repeal of abortion protections, a parental uprising in schools, and doubts about the 2020 election results have given the 2,000 attendees renewed vigor.

What they're saying: "You have the pending fall of Roe v. Wade that was 50 years in the making, so there is a moment of thinking, 'We can actually achieve things in this country,'" Hunt told Axios Denver after the event concluded Saturday.

Zoom in: Much like the national Conservative Political Action Conference, local speakers and attendees offered a list of grievances against Democrats and the "woke" ideology pushed by liberals, all issued in fervent and often Biblical language.

  • Racial diversity and transgender inclusion were transformed into dirty words even as a rainbow pride flag flew outside the Gaylord of the Rockies convention center.
  • A pastor in a video shown in the ballroom declared a need for the U.S. to return to "1776 values."
  • And one of the attendees opposed COVID precautions so much he blew breath and spit at John for wearing a face mask.

The intrigue: The room strongly favored former President Trump, but in a straw poll for the 2024 nomination, he lost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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