Next step in Dem realignment: Their own CPAC
Speakers are being told to bring ideas — not just political attacks on Trump.
Instead of CPAC, it’ll be the Ideas Conference. Instead of at the National Harbor, it’ll be in the main room at the St. Regis Hotel, a few blocks from the White House. Instead of featuring President Donald Trump, it’ll be the first real cattle call of the Democrats nosing around 2020 presidential runs.
And it’ll be the Center for American Progress’s biggest move yet to establish itself as both the nexus of the Democratic Party’s future — and a player trying to shape what that future will be.
They’re roughly modeling the event on CPAC, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering that’s become a prime stop for Republican leaders, and which notably gave Donald Trump his first major political platform as he was entering the fray.
“So much of our time right now is engaged, and rightfully so, in fighting Trump. On any given day, he issues one affront to progressive values after another,” said CAP president Neera Tanden. “It’s obviously critical that we provide a positive alternative of how we’re going to address the country’s challenges.”
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are all confirmed to attend, and more are expected to be added to the event, scheduled for May 16.
Speakers have been encouraged to come with substantive proposals on the economy, climate change, national security, civil rights, reproductive rights and immigration rather than just political attacks on Trump. Sprinkled through the day will be panel discussions and conversations that will bring in activists and leaders of new organizations.
CAP hopes this event will make it the nexus for all the strands of the party that have begun to take shape since Trump’s win.
New anti-Trump groups are sprouting up almost by the day, many of them with overlapping missions, ambiguous agendas and questionable resources. At the same time, several of the bigger players — including CAP, the super PAC Priorities, David Brock’s collection of organizations, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee being backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder, and even the Democratic National Committee itself — have been trying to stake their claims on guiding the efforts against the administration.