The CPAC utopia


Every March, conservatives gather for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C. to hear speeches and panels from senators, representatives, governors, authors and many other conservative celebrities. This three-day event is the highlight of every conservative’s year--with booths full of organizations that promise that by signing up you will stop the liberal machine, high-profile speakers, movies exposing the “truth” and the highest density of conservatives within the beltway. This should be what every conservative dreams of--the "conservative utopia," if there ever was such a thing. This three-day event, however, is precisely why conservatives are losing in November.

In English class, we are told, “Don’t tell me what you are going to do, just do it.” This same mentality needs to be adopted by today’s conservatives if we are to take back the Senate in November and the Oval Office in 2016. What do conservatives do at these conferences you ask? Conservatives sit in a large ballroom and listen to prominent speakers tell us what we need to accomplish if we are to win back disenchanted voters, defend our views and win elections on the national level. We sit around talking about how to improve instead of carrying out what we believe.

Every year there are not one, but two conferences that draw conservatives together: CPAC in the spring and Value Voters Summit in the fall. As the names of the conferences suggest, there are two rivaling parts of the conservative movement, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. By having these two conferences, conservatives show that they are more interested in talking about the issues instead of acting on the issues as well as opening themselves up for critique on what side of conservatism is more important, the social issues or the fiscal.

With two conferences a year, you would think we would win more elections than the Democrats who have none. How do Democrats manage to win the electorate despite not having some big event to rally the troops other than Obama’s State of the Union where Democrats swoon over seemingly every other word?

The answer is simple. Democrats don’t need to have two huge conventions a year because they channel that same energy that would go into a convention into communicating their message to voters. They take that same hype that goes towards hearing your favorite politicians and speakers and put it into door knocking, phone banking, voter registration and rallies. Democrats have won on delivering their ideas. No matter how good your ideas are, if you can’t communicate them effectively, people won’t listen to you. At the same time, no matter how poor your ideas are, if you can communicate them effectively, people will listen to you.

When conservatives can show that they are more than the sum of their words, go outside of the conservative utopia and act on the words and ideas that we are so passionate about, conservatives will attract more voters to Conservatism. When conservatives can say, “We don’t need CPAC because we are spreading our message effectively and we are acting on our own advice,” that is when Conservatism is going take hold.

So, how do the conservatives turn this situation around? The conservative advocates say that, “We need to stand what for what we're for, not what we're against."


Tristan Kelley is the Chairman of The King’s College Republicans as well as Regional Chairman for New York City of the New York Federation of College Republicans.