This year I attended for the second time the Conservative political Action Conference (CPAC), this time following the presidential elections and the victory of Donald G. Trump. Therefore, in this context, the significance of CPAC for the entire world has become even more important than before. European politicians and particularly those coming from Eastern Europe are less familiar with the American way of doing politics outside their electoral campaigns. Perhaps, their most outstanding element is the way they engage with the citizens.
CPAC is actually an open meeting in which supporters of the current conservative trend in the Republican Party debate and expose their ideas and projects in front of media and, implicitly, in front of the citizens. Definitely, the most awaited moment of the conference was the speech made by the newly elected President of the United States of America, Donald G. Trump. His speech did not disappoint and it showed that Donald Trump understands not only the challenges of his mandate, but also the practical imperatives that he has to face at the White House. President Trump talked about nationalism and particularly about economic nationalism, refugees and the need for reforms in a way that revealed determination, focus and the comprehension of all approaches and arguments.
However, what I also wanted to stress is the importance of other speeches and debates that happened during CPAC. A very important lesson for me was that the US politics do neither begin, nor end with the President. Their political starting point is the citizen, from there it goes up to the Congress and the President and then, it comes back to the citizen. Never and in no other place had I felt the impact of how an ordinary citizen has the power to shape the political decision!
At CPAC, there were not only top-notch political leaders. There were governors, congressmen and congresswomen, scholars, journalists and ordinary militants. Each of them was presenting problems, was listening to arguments and was bringing up counter-arguments in an organized debate. Moreover, CPAC was neither a festive gathering, nor an elitist one, organized by convenience.
Two hundred years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a book that decisively influenced the way we do politics nowadays – “About Democracy in America”. I truly believe that this model of mindful and responsible involvement is the best one for our societies. Donald Trump and his election at the White House are a sign that pinpoints the fact that the whole world must reconsider its position and its understanding of global affairs.