The Conservative Political Action Conference — known colloquially as CPAC — is like ComicCon for assholes: Three days of right-wing dogma, fake journalism, insincere soliloquies, conspiracy bait and outright bullshit.

Last year’s affair, held Feb. 26-29 in Maryland, is noteworthy for being the first documented super-spreader event of the coronavirus pandemic when a New Jersey doctor and convention VIP tested positive a couple days after returning home.

This year’s CPAC begins Thursday in Orlando, the first time it’s ever been held outside the Washington DC area — one of many homages to Florida’s most famous new resident, Donald Trump, who will be speaking on Sunday afternoon. Also on the agenda: Sen. Ted Cruz lecturing about cancel culture, a few right-wing media types presenting “The Left’s Assault on a Free People” along with diatribes against China, defunding police, “disrupting the nuclear family” and this one, “Who’s the Boss Where’s My Applesauce? Who’s Really Running the Biden Administration.”

Tony Danza? Big Applesauce? Only CPAC attendees know for sure.

Naturally, North Carolina’s right-wingiest Republicans have a big role to play this weekend, highlighted by a Friday anti-education lecture called “The Real Cost of Tuition” presented by Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (who dropped out of UNCG), buttressed by Rep. Madison Cawthorn (dropped out of Patrick Henry College after one semester), Rep. Virginia Foxx (two master’s degrees) and Rep. Ted Budd (App State undergrad, Wake Forest University MBA).

Most troubling, though is a seven-part “Protecting Elections” presentation that perpetuates the Big Lie: that Trump won the 2020 election and it was stolen by a coterie of players including the media, the courts and “the left.”

It is openly seditious, but that’s the heart of the conservative message these days: It’s not America if we don’t get our way. It’s an idea that speaks only to the true believers, which is all they’ve got left.

This is what the GOP fails to understand: Their base is shrinking, because everything changed after Jan. 6, when Trump’s Big Lie made traitors of thousands of former Americans by inciting them to storm the US Capitol Building in an attempt to disrupt the execution of a free and fair election.

Anyone with any decency or honor has left the GOP tent, including the dwindling list of sponsors who once supported CPAC, companies who used to donate to Republican candidates and grown-up Americans who can no longer abide by this party of crybabies, grifters and liars.

All who remain do so because they have nowhere else to go.

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