CPAC 2016: Wrap-Up

By Tyler Baum – 12th Grade, K12 International Academy

Thousands of conservatives gathered at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland for the 43rd Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from March 2-5, 2016.  CPAC, founded in 1973 by the American Conservative Union, is an annual conference full of conservative speakers, volunteers, campaign experts, and conservative organizations seeking student-interns and employees.  The 2016 CPAC was built around the current presidential election, based on President Ronald Reagan’s mantra “Our Time is Now”.


CPAC is widely known as a prime opportunity for college-aged students especially, as they have a plethora of chances to form their opinions, ask questions, and become more informed voters and citizens of the United States.  CPAC-goers are often comprised of conservatives in favor of the Second Amendment, religious liberties, and free enterprise; however, Populist and Libertarian conservatives also make their mark at the conference.


Three of the four remaining 2016 GOP candidates for President of the United States addressed conservatives during the latter half of CPAC; Governor John Kasich of Ohio, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.  Businessman Donald Trump was also scheduled to speak on the final day of CPAC, but withdrew less than 24 hours before his speech to campaign in Kansas on Super Saturday.  CPAC also drew a slew of former Presidential candidates in the 2016 election, including Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who addressed Reagan Dinner attendees as the Keynote speaker.  Retired Neurosurgeon Ben Carson also spoke at CPAC, where he announced that he would suspend his campaign for President.  Senator Marco Rubio performed substantially well at the conference, earning the most support of any candidate from the audience.


CPAC was also a wonderful opportunity for future candidates, college students, and community activists to experience unparalleled campaign and activism training through the second annual Activism Boot Camp, hosted by American Majority and the Leadership Institute.  The Activism Boot Camp was split into three sub-classes: Campaign, Data, and Tech workshop; Student Activism training, and Community Activism training.  Over 1,000 people attended the CPAC Activism Boot Camp, ranging from high school students to seasoned campaign managers, and everyone in between.  Reputable political experts such as Steven Sutton of the Leadership Institute, Ned Ryun of American Majority, and Peggy Grande, former personal assistant to President Ronald Reagan, of the Quiggle Group spent many hours training attendees in the ins and outs of political campaigning and activism.


The 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference also offered stellar networking opportunities to students and recent graduates such as the CPAC Job and Internship fair and one-on-one career counseling from the Heritage Foundation.


In addition to networking opportunities, students had the opportunity to attend live TV and radio productions of Hannity, Fox News Channel, and Glenn Beck Radio Program, The Blaze, respectively.

The CPAC Straw Poll is one of the staples of this conservative event every year, and nearly 2,700 attendees participated at this year’s conference.  Just before TV personality and radio host Glenn Beck delivered the closing address to CPAC attendees, ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp announced that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the 2016 CPAC straw poll, collecting 40% of votes for attendee’s first choice for President.  Senator Marco Rubio of Florida finished second, gathering 30% of votes.


The CPAC is the premier conservative gathering in the United States and serves as an essential resource for like-minded supporters of limited government nationwide.  The 2017 CPAC is tentatively scheduled for February 22-25, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Tyler Baum 1 Tyler Baum is a rising senior at the K12 International Academy and is an active contributor to the iGlobe Newspaper.  He hails from Irwin, PA and plays travel ice hockey and baseball, skis, and enjoys history and visiting national parks.  He lives with a host family in the Washington, D.C. metro area to play ice hockey.

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