• Politics

    MAGA Youth Activist Charlie Kirk’s Big Conservative Shindig Is Full of Old Folks

    I’m not seeing a lot of spring chickens at Turning Point Action’s “People’s Convention.”

    Turning Point USA, which casts itself as a conservative political youth movement, appears to be aging. Founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk, then 18, TPUSA quickly won the backing of rich Republican megadonors eager to try to recapture young voters, who overwhelmingly had been supporting Democrats. The group has since become a staple on college campuses, where it decries “cancel culture” and warns students of encroaching socialism, and has been a major player in Trump world.

    In 2019, Kirk started a nonprofit political action committee (PAC), Turning Point Action, to gain more sway in elections. This weekend, the group is hosting a “People’s Convention” in Detroit, with the usual fireworks, klieg lights and rock-concert treatment for an all-star MAGA lineup that includes Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump, and Donald Trump himself.

    Judging from the first two days of the event, it would be hard to call this a youth movement. Saturday morning, I attended a breakout session headlined by voter registration activist Scott Presler. There were about 50 or 60 people in the room, virtually all well over 40. When Presler opened the floor for a Q&A, the first questioner said he was 77 years old.

    Waiting in line afterwards to speak to Presler, I met Steve, a registered Democrat from Philly, who said he now felt more at home in MAGA world. I asked him about the age issue, and he suggested that Turning Point Action events were offered to a broader audience than the standard college confabs. Steve is 74, so he should know. He’s more of a contemporary of some of the People’s Convention biggest stars than Kirk is. Also on the speaker lineup: former Trump HUD secretary Ben Carson, 72; Trump advisor Roger Stone, 71; Steve Bannon, 70—and Trump, of course, just turned 78.

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