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.
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