Against Republican identity crisis, CPAC gathering pushes core ideas
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections. They're losing among women, voters under 30, and among Hispanic, African-American and Asian voters by huge margins. Their white, male base represents an ever-shrinking piece of the electorate.
But as Republican leaders and activists grapple with the GOP's identity and path forward, conservatives are increasingly pushing back on the notion that the party must adjust its positions to remain viable.
What's really needed, say those gathered this week for the Conservative Political Action Conference, is a more positive articulation of the conservative message so it has broader appeal.
"We need to draw into our party people from every corner of society because conservative principles, and not liberal dogma, best reflect the ideals that made this nation great. We should be united in the principle that everyone should be given the opportunity to rise to the top, to raise a family, and to be free," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday night in the most substantive speech of the three-day event.