The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held this past weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Orlando, FL, providing an opportunity for Republicans to reorganize and reassert their platform as a party in anticipation of the 2022 midterm elections and 2024 presidential election (https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/540932-five-takeaways-from-cpac-2021?rl=1). After losing the White House in the hotly contested 2020 presidential election, Republicans have been working on plans for moving forward. CPAC made it abundantly clear where the party stands and who it is loyal to.
While some within Repbulican leadership such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senator Mitt Romney (UT) distanced themselves from Trump, especially during the second impeachment trial, the party made a point to show its loyalty to the former president during CPAC. A golden statue was brought in of Trump and he was awarded the final speech of the event. After the election some thought that the Republican party was going to sever all ties to Trump, and in turn, that Trump would form his own political party. CPAC made it clear that Trump will remain the front runner moving forward, using his influence to help promote candidates in 2022 and maybe even run again in 2024. Trump even said, “We will first take back the House, and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who that will be.”
CPAC also provided opportunities for rising stars within the party such as North Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Both have received widespread praise from the Republican base for their leadership during the pandemic. If Trump doesn’t run in 2024 these names will probably be at the forefront of early polling during the primaries. That being said, Trump’s leadership and values will continue to serve as a guide for the party regardless of who ends up winning.
CPAC was not without its controversies either. In addition to the golden Trump statue, many pundits, especially the more liberal ones, were very critical of the shape of the stage used at the event, comparing it to Nazi insignia. Trump and other speakers also continued to push the narrative that the election was stolen. While nothing has come of this, many within the party still feel cheated by the measures put in place because of the ongoing pandemic. Will the 2022 election cycle bring changes to the voting process once again? Will Republicans see a resurgence or will Democrats maintain their stronghold on Congress and the White House?
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