The Conservative Political Action Conference returns to Washington. After the last editions hosted in Florida and Texas, the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world will bring together at Gaylor National Harbor organisations, activists, spectators and foreign leaders. The anticipation for the event is palpable. For four days, from the 1st to the 4th of March, words and intentions will be spoken from the CPAC stage, strategies unveiled and messages sent that will soon turn into election programmes. Ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries, the Washington conference could be a thermometer to measure the preferences and sentiment of the elephantine party’s electorate.
The atmosphere around Gaylor National Harbor promises to be electrifying. The CPAC convention will capture the attention of the world’s media, ready to pick up the jokes of the speakers who will take turns on stage. The line-up defined by Matt Schlapp, President of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, includes leading exponents of conservative wing of the USA. From Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America and ready to challenge Joe Biden again, to Mike Pompeo (70th Secretary of State), Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, many could unveil their cards and announce to the audience and the electorate their serious intentions to run for the White House.
If until now the tycoon has kept a low profile, from the CPAC stage he could raise the tone and make his plan public to the voters: to make America great again. Cameras and microphones will be all for the former President of the United States who managed to keep national GDP growth constant, thus triggering a chain reaction that lowered the unemployment rate and made the average household income rise. Mike Pompeo’s speech should also be followed closely. The former CIA Director and ex Secretary of State appointed by Donald Trump himself, replacing Rex Tillerson, may, according to some sources, express his interest in running for the primaries in Washington. According to others, however, his speech could turn into a genuine endorsement of the former President.
Trump’s opponent in the 2024 race will be Nikki Haley. The 51-year-old former US Ambassador to the UN and former Governor of South Carolina has announced her intentions in a video in recent weeks. Although she had declared that she would not run if the tycoon took the field, she now identifies herself as the right leader for the new generation of conservatives. Her positions in terms of foreign policy will not go unnoticed.
‘Woke, INC.’ and ‘Nation of Victims’ are not just two of his books. They are the calling card and manifesto of another candidate in the race: Vivek Ramaswamy. The 38-year-old from Cincinnati, a successful entrepreneur and author, is one of the champions of conservative values overseas. He does not start with the odds in his favour, but his positions have warmed up the electorate.
The level of decibels produced by the audience at the end of each speech will be used to measure the approval rating and assess the candidate.
Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida – perhaps Trump’s real antagonist for 2024 – will be missing. The confrontation between the two will not be in Washington but will take place at a distance and through the press with tweets, statements and interviews. The popularity of the former US military man is on the rise and it is easy to speculate that his name may be mentioned in the poll that marks each CPAC edition.
A test case for aspiring White House tenants, but not only. The Conservative Political Action Conference will also present food for thought on extremely topical issues. On foreign policy, and especially on the war in Ukraine, strong positions are expected. While for some currents the conflict in the heart of Europe is comparable to a new Iraq, for others it is crucial to stop Russia as soon as possible. The debate will also rage on immigration and border security, the fight against crime and parental rights. Whoever receives the most support or whoever is able to inflame the conservative soul of the public can aspire to represent the party of the little elephant in the 2024 presidential elections.