Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL, February 24-27, 2022
Day One  |  Day Two  |  Day Three  |  Day Four  |  Promos  |  Around and About   |  CPAC Central

(ema updated Mar. 22, 2022)
The same morning as conservative activists from around the country gathered in Orlando for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2022, Putin's invasion of Ukraine began. Images and reports out of Ukraine dominated the news, but the conference proceeded. Activists listened to speeches from conservative luminaries and to panel discussions, they toured booths in the exhibit hall, and they observed the happenings on and around media row. Radio and TV hosts did brisk business interviewing participants and attendees, including a fair number of "America First" candidates running for Congress and other offices. This was Trump's crowd; many attendees wore Trump gear, and the conference bag contained "Trump Save America" bumper stickers and "Trump Was Right" buttons.

The theme of this year's conference was "Awake, Not Woke," after the title of Noelle Mering's book "Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology." Many speakers focused on the threat posed by the "radical left."
Most speakers had words of scorn for the Biden administration; chants and materials proclaiming the anti-Biden slogan "Let's go Brandon" were much in evidence.
Although some of the speakers addressed the war in Ukraine, attributing it to the weakness of the Biden administration, most attention was given to a host of domestic issues. Speakers focused on mandates imposed during the COVID pandemic, critical race theory (CRT), crime, illegal immigration, election integrity, energy policy and "cancel culture."
China drew considerable criticism. The recent action by Canadian truckers in Ottawa, and the Trudeau government's response were also topics of discussion.

Former President Donald J. Trump was the big draw; he spoke for close to an hour and a half on Saturday night, filling the hall and continuing to hint at a possible 2024 run.
Other potential 2024 presidential prospects addressed the crowd including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD), former Sec. of State Mark Pompeo and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) . Others mentioned but seen as less likely to run including Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) spoke as well.  A number of potential '24 candidates were noticeably absent, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Secretary Nikki Haley and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). In CPAC's 2024 straw poll [PDF], conducted via the conference app, Trump managed a showing of 59.1% of 2,574 participants.

The CPAC conferences have served as an important rallying point for conservatives since 1974, although critics charge they have become "
a showcase of the irresponsibility of the modern conservative movement (>)" and "pay to play affairs with corporate lobbyists (>)." Certainly the last several CPACs have had a significant Trump imprint. Within the conservative movement there are a few dissenters opposing the dominant Trump strain; coinciding with CPAC, another group of conservatives met at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for a two-day (Feb. 26-27) Principles First Summit [PDF] "on conservatism's meaning and the path to a more principled future for our country." Another CPAC is scheduled for Aug. 4-7 in Dallas, three months before the midterm elections.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION coverage of past CPACs:
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