The last week the annual CPAC convention was held, and there are some pretty important lessons to be learned from it. This year’s CPAC shows us who the progressives fear, who they dream about, who stands for what, the future of conservatism, and ultimately which candidates inspire conservatives. These are lessons that conservatives need to pay close attention to, unless of course they want to see Hilary Clinton in office.
CPAC is a conference of conservatives, and people who are seeking the support of conservatives. It is the proving grounds for who ultimately can win the Presidency of the United States. I have talked in the past about how the road towards the White House runs through conservative America. Conservatives compose the largest voter block in this country. The majority of Republicans identify themselves as conservative, and the majority of independents identify themselves as conservative. So the performance of an individual at CPAC really defines whether or not they are a viable candidate for the office of the Presidency. If they performed well, that means that they can inspire the conservative base of the GOP, something McCain and Romney failed to do. If they performed well, that means they will give independents a reason to show up and vote for them. With this in mind let us examine the results of CPAC, shall we?
Every year at CPAC there is a straw poll taken. The results of this poll show who really made the greatest impact on conservative voters during the convention. The results were as follows
1.) Senator Rand Paul, 25.7%
2.) Governor Scott Walker, 21.4%
3.) Senator Ted Cruise, 11.5%
4) Dr. Ben Carson, 11.4%
5.) Jeb Bush, 8.3%
6.) Rick Santorum, 4.3%
7.) Senator Marco Rubio, 3.7%
8.) Donald Trump, 3.5%
9.) Carly Fiorina, 3.0%
10.) Governor Chris Christie, 2.8%
That rounds out the top ten from CPAC. This poll is all well and good, but what can we take away from it? Well the poll really sums up the reception each candidate receives from conservatives, and really determines their legitimacy as a Republican Candidate.
Rand Paul for the third year in a row has inspired the people at CPAC. He wins through his articulation of conservative principles, and an understanding of the American Republic. He is a very interesting candidate because unlike some so called conservatives, his belief in limited government does not result in more expansive government programs. He doesn’t take over the private sector to save the private sector. This firm belief in limited government, gives him a great advantage. Democrats will find it much harder to run against a man, who they can’t pin down as a pawn for the greedy rich. Someone playing crony capitalism.
Rand Paul’s victory is a sign of a definite trend among conservatives. For the last three years Rand Paul has won the CPAC straw poll. Before that, his father Ron Paul won the 2010 (31%) and 2011 (30%) CPAC straw polls. For the last five years men whom many would classify as libertarians have won the CPAC straw poll. This points to a clear change in the thinking in the most important voting block in the country. Men like Rand Paul speak to the younger generation, the people who will shape the future of this nation. If the GOP wants to survive, if the GOP wants to be a viable party, I suggest it starts listening to these people. John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner represent the old, the party will not survive following men like them.
The chant President Paul was heard at CPAC, something that can’t be said for some of the other candidates.
Scott Walker comes to CPAC with one heck of a story to tell. He has a record of triumphs, over coming obstacles, all of which prove that he can win tough elections. He came into CPAC with progressives hoping he would fall flat on his face. He has not only survived progressive attacks, but he grows from them, thrives on them. This is a man who, without a college education, became governor of Wisconsin, the birth place of the progressive movement. He took on the unions, and won. He survived a recall attempt, a recall that was supposed to see Scott Walker buried, the results were quite the opposite.
Scott Walker does have a problem, he is not really that well known by a lot of people in the country. He does not have a familiar name like Paul, Rubio, Christie, or Bush. This though, actually can play to his advantage, he gets the chance to write his story, and let the people see who he is, not who the progressives want him to be. After weeks of what desperate progressives called “gaffs”, Scott Walker came to CPAC and managed to win second place, that should put conservatives on notice. There is an up and rising star in the GOP, his name is Scott Walker.
I know I skipped Ted Cruz, and Doctor Carson, but that is because their rankings really does not come as much of a surprise to me. What interests me is the fact that Jeb Bush, the supposed Republican front runner (if you listen to the desperate hopes and prayers of progressives), came in fifth. An odd rank for the person who is supposed to go up against Hilary. The CPAC straw poll shows us a lot about Jeb Bush and his hopes for winning the White House. Coming in fifth, at a conference where he was supposed to prove that he could be a conservative, really shows has slim his odds of victory are. Jeb Bush has as good a shot at winning the White House, as he does climbing Everest without any oxygen.
Jeb Bush’s poor performance at CPAC shows that he does not have what it takes to win over conservatives, and thus win the White House. However, that does not mean that he doesn’t pose a risk to a conservative victory in 2016. You would be foolish to think that Jeb Bush is going to fade away after this fiasco. The progressives have already decided that Jeb Bush is the easiest target for Hillary, thus they have convinced GOP Establishment that Jeb Bush will be the candidate. The close finish of Rand Paul and Scott Walker is an opportunity for Jeb Bush to guarantee Hillary Clinton a victory. It they split the conservative vote, Jeb Bush stands a good possibility of winning the nomination, and losing the White House to Hillary.
Senator Marco Rubio
I am noticing a trend here, the people who pundits and establishment members of the GOP support for the nomination seem to be at the bottom of the list when it comes to support from the base. Marco Rubio, was once a rising star, and promised to be a great name in the history of the United States. He ended his rise when he pushed for a bill that contained amnesty, unfortunately he has not recovered from what many conservatives feel was a massive betrayal.
Governor Chris Christie
Christie just needs to quit, he has become a joke. His one claim to fame, “I am a governor that can win elections in a blue state” has been stripped away from him. Governor Walker is everything that Christie pretends to be. The only good thing about Christie being in the race is that he will siphon moderate votes away from Bush, perhaps saving the nation from the disaster of a Bush candidacy.
So what can we learn from CPAC? Well the lessons are clear
Lesson 1: There is a new wave of fresh, young, enthusiastic conservatives coming up, looking for a place to belong. The GOP can embrace them, or fall into the abyss of history.
Lesson 2: The media has been unable to damage Scott Walker in the eyes of the vital conservative base.
Lesson 3: The GOP establishment sucks as choosing candidates, all of the so called “front runners” placed at the bottom of the poll. They failed to win conservatives, thus they will fail to win the White House.
Lesson 4: Right now it is a two dog race for the GOP nomination. The choice is between Rand Paul, a favorite among libertarians, or Scott Walker a candidate with fire in his heart. Really you could not go wrong with either of these two candidates.
Lesson 5: Conservatives need to choose between Rand Paul or Scott Walker soon. WE cannot afford to split the conservative vote between them and open the doors for another John McCain or Mitt Romney style defeat.