NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Conservatives are organizing and strategizing this week at their largest annual gathering known as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Big names, like the president's and vice president's are drawing in the faithful. In fact, on the first morning of the conference, Vice President Mike Pence came on stage to roars from the crowd and shouted out, "Well, hello, CPAC!"
Pence reminded his audience of a promise his boss has kept that's especially meaningful to this crowd.
"President Trump has already appointed more than 190 conservatives to our federal courts at every level," Pence said, "including Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh."
Meanwhile, conservative activists worked one on one with those on the crowded conference floor.
Dozens of booths and tables jam this convention area. While some are actually selling items like caps and bumper stickers, the biggest products offered here are ideas, opportunities, and causes.
The biggest cause this year is warning about the downsides of socialism as that system of government gains more popularity among younger Americans in the form of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).
What You Get When a Nation Lurches Far Left
Morgan Zegers, 23, founded and heads up the Young Americans Against Socialism organization. She quoted eye-opening stats from a recent poll.
"70 percent of people my age would vote for a socialist. It said one of three millennials view Communism favorably and it said one in five millennials think that the Communist Manifesto better guarantees freedom and equality over the Declaration of Independence," Zegers shared.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and the host of CPAC, told CBN News young Americans shouldn't want socialism at all.
What You Lose
He said of socialist and communist nations, past and present, "You eventually lose everything. It starts with your personal property, then your money, and then your opportunities. But in the end, you lose your rights."
Ian Walters works with Schlapp at the American Conservative Union. He said of such nations, "If you speak freely. If you express your religious freedom. If you do the things that we are accustomed to here in America guaranteed by the Constitution -- the notion that our rights are given by God and not by the government, not by the state, then they'll lock you up. That's the bottom line. You better toe the line in those socialist nations or it's off to the camps."
Schlapp added, "If you believe that the individual is not as important as the collective, eventually you run over the individual in the hopes of helping the collective. And it turns into running over many individuals to help an elite few who are in power."
They'll Send the Tanks
Zegers concluded, "And then starvation sets in, and the people who speak out about these atrocities that are happening in the country are then run over by government tanks. I think you probably saw the viral video that was all over the internet of a government tank in Venezuela running over protestors in the street. That's socialism for you."
All of this is why CPAC made its theme this year "America vs Socialism." But no matter the causes pushed here at CPAC, it's pretty much all intended for the Red State voters and activists packed into the conference facility along the Potomac River. Because the issues discussed here will likely be priorities in the upcoming elections.