The Circus' Mark McKinnon in front of a painting by Julian Raven.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME

Inside the World of CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference is the biggest annual gathering of conservatives, making it a microcosm of the arguments taking place inside — and outside — the Republican Party. Here's what it looked like in 2019
March 1, 2019

The Conservative Political Action Conference is the biggest annual gathering of conservatives, making it a microcosm of the arguments taking place inside — and outside — the Republican Party.

This year’s theme could be summed up in one word: socialism.

Speaker after speaker railed against the specter of socialism, highlighting freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, warning that the Green New Deal on climate change and Medicare for All would transform the country’s fabric. At times, they acknowledged that this would be a likely theme of the 2020 presidential campaign.

“We can’t think that the American people understand what socialism is,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “We have to go out and educate people. We need to talk about Venezuela.”

Another theme: Trump. Just as many speakers praised the president and his policies, conservatives who have raised doubts were mostly off-stage, if they were in attendance at all.

TIME sent photographer Mark Peterson to capture the mood of CPAC in 2019.

Fox News' Sara Carter and Kellyanne Conway are interviewed by Scott Walter.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
Cutout of President Donald Trump at CPAC.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
Attendees shows support for President Donald Trump.
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An attendee shows support for President Donald Trump.
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A young attendee shows support for President Donald Trump.
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Vice President Mike Pence greets the crowd.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
President Trump supporters at CPAC.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. seen here in a video played at CPAC.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
An attendee at CPAC and his buttons.
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Attendees at CPAC.
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A selection of books on sale at CPAC.
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Attendees clap during one of the sessions at CPAC.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
An attendee takes a photo of a painting of President Donald Trump with their phone.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME
President Donald Trump hugs the American flag.
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME

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