The annual meeting of conservatives in Washington has changed since Trump's election. Winning elections is everything. The conservative wing of the Republican Party is now the Trump Party. Steve Bannon who orchestrated Trump's "America First' campaign will give a keynote speech and Breitbart News is now a major player in the movement. Senator Rand Paul used to win the straw vote taken at the end of the CPAC meeting. Trump's use of celebrity power and nationalistic messaging has replaced Paul's libertarian message. The idea is to use government as a force to drive change instead of limiting government. If you own the government you should use the government to reshape the nation. What used to be known as the Republican Party no longer exists.
Trump captured the core of the Republican Party during his campaigns. I wondered what would happen to the GOP after Trump lost the general election. He might have started a third party with the segment of the party that he had captured. That would also have led to the demise of the Republican Party. Instead he won the election by beating Hillary Clinton with a margin of 50,000 votes out of 13 million votes cast in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. If Clinton had won those votes, and those states, she would be our president and CPAC would still love Rand Paul. Instead Trump is our president and the Grand Old Party no longer exists; It is the Trump Party.