By Kevin Lair
I recently had the privilege of attending the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. While many students partied or visited the beach over spring break, I garnered business cards, attended workshops, and watched countless conservative speakers including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Conservative Republicans and Libertarians watched as powerful and energized political leaders healed their election wounds and set the course for an optimistic electoral future. CPAC energized the conservative movement, and liberals should be worried.
With the 2012 elections a mere four months in the rearview mirror, the Republican Party must overcome a few electoral obstacles. Most predominately, the Republican Party has seen its support slip among key voting blocs including women and Hispanics. Liberals argue that these drops are a sign that Republicans are out of touch, yet these voters care passionately about the issues that conservatives support—the importance of God, life, family, and jobs.
The Republican Party needs to articulate these American views more effectively to counter the liberal-imposed, nanny-state of unfulfilled promises and government handouts. Throughout CPAC, successful conservative women, Hispanics, and other minorities made the case that the Republican Party is the one which allows all individuals, regardless of background, to achieve the American Dream.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, and Indian-American Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) illustrate how women from modest backgrounds can achieve great feats and empower women through conservative principles. Latino Senators Rubio and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), African-American Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Indian-American Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) continuously describe the many challenges they faced throughout their lives. These Republican leaders used their conservative virtues and principles to achieve success, and the American people want these stories.
Several speakers at the conference stood out, evident within the CPAC Straw Poll. Only two candidates received more than 10 percent of the vote, and they were Sen. Paul with 25 percent and Sen. Rubio with 23 percent. Senators Rubio and Paul prompted countless standing ovations during their exceptional speeches and both have found blooming success lately. Sen. Rubio was rumored to be a possible VP pick for Romney and recently delivered an articulate and thirsty Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union. Sen. Paul’s 13 hour filibuster two weeks ago combatted the Obama Administration’s support for domestic droning of U.S. citizens who are not charged or even convicted of crimes. Sen. Paul’s filibuster prompted an apology from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and was a sound victory for Libertarians and supporters of the U.S. Constitution.
Speakers such as Paul and Rubio demonstrate the future of the Republican Party. A re-emphasis on constitutional underpinnings and conservative principles will continue to dominate the national conversation and propel these two further onto the political stage and into American homes. Strong-willed and successful Republican women like Sen. Ayotte and Gov. Haley represent that conservative principles can propel middle-class women to success. And conservatives of varied ethnic and racial backgrounds such as Sen. Cruz and Gov. Jindal show that anyone can achieve in America.
Enraged sentiment and abhorrence of the tax-and-spend Obama Administration questions the viability of the Democratic Party. Many Obamabots are feeling turned off from the Obama Administration following countless broken promises and the far-left, extremist views of many Democrats. At the same time, the Republican Party must prove that they are no longer the party of “old, white men” and instead demonstrate their vast diversity, success, and driven patriotism.
Along with their personal narratives, conservative’s leaders like Sen. Rubio, Gov. Jindal, and Gov. Haley re-energize the Republican Party and realign it with American voters. Paul and others’ emphasis on the U.S. Constitution and the principles of America’s Founding Fathers will give power to the conservative movement and win election seats at every level. With a revamped message stressing fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets, conservative candidates will unseat many Congressional Democrats and likely win the White House in the upcoming elections.