ADonald Trump apparently wants to go all out on Sunday and announce his claim to the Republican presidential candidacy in 2024 – at least that is what the political website “Axios” wants to know from Trump’s environment. He will hold his first major speech after leaving the White House at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando. Conservative activists and politicians from all over the country gather at the conference, which began on Thursday. Actually, the conference should take place in Maryland as always. In Florida, the protection regulations are particularly lax because of the corona virus, so they were moved there.
Last year, a number of politicians, including Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, went into quarantine because a participant was sick with Covid-19. Two governors, nine senators and around forty MPs have announced themselves this time, despite the pandemic. Some members of the House of Representatives justified their absence during the vote on the corona financial aid on Saturday with the pandemic, but are on the lists of speakers in Orlando. These include politicians from the right wing of the party, such as Matt Gaetz from Florida and Lauren Boebert from Colorado.
Traditional conservative event
The CPAC is traditionally the meeting place especially for right-wing conservative Republicans. It has been organized by the American Conservative Union (ACU) since 1973 and is considered a mood barometer and an opportunity to determine the position of the Conservatives. At the conference, the then governor of California, Ronald Reagan, gave a speech in 1974 that is understood by many experts as the starting point for the policy of the “New Right” within the Republican Party.
The ACU also played an important role in the political recovery of the Republican networks in Washington after the Watergate scandal. Its current chairman is Matt Schlapp, who previously worked for the George W. Bush administration as political director and lobbyed for the Koch brothers’ group of companies. Schlapp is also one of Trump’s most influential supporters. He described the Black Lives Matter protests last year as “hostile to families, capitalism, police officers, unborn life and genders”. When former Vice President Mike Pence turned down an invitation to attend this year’s CPAC, Schlapp described it as a “mistake”. Pence had spoken at the conference for the past few years, but had distanced himself after the attack on the Capitol and Trump’s insults against him.
The CPAC is also an important opportunity for Republican leaders to meet with the party’s local grassroots. Different conservative groups meet here for thematic rounds, networking events, training courses and speeches. An annual poll that tests the popularity of possible presidential candidates also has a certain significance. In the past, according to the magazine “The Atlantic”, the later nominee only prevailed four times.
Nevertheless, the political trends at the CPAC become visible early on. George W. Bush won over many of the participants in the conference when he was governor of Texas. The Tea Party movement dominated the CPAC in 2010 and organized the ideological struggle against the Barack Obama administration. Trump, in turn, spoke at the conference in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before announcing his candidacy for president.