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It’s 1979 in America

| Friday, March 20, 2015

This year I took the SMC Republicans to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where we heard from many conservatives who were all on the 2015 CPAC Straw Poll in which we participated. The top five winners were Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush.

Paul was a hit with the large number of young people at CPAC. He said, “We do a great job defending the Second Amendment, but we have to defend the whole Bill of Rights … we should have speedy trials.” He went on to talk about Kalief Browder who was accused of a crime and spent three years in jail without a trial. Many young people identify well with Paul’s libertarian beliefs. I truly believe that the millennial generation of Republicans are much more Libertarian.

I attended a panel on the legalization of marijuana with New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Commissioner Anne Marie Buerkle. Johnson remarked, “Having a debate right now over whether or not to legalize marijuana is like having a debate over whether the sun is going to come up tomorrow.” Similarly, I believe gay marriage is going to be legalized in all 50 states sooner or later. Heavily opposed politicians are wasting their time and energy trying to fight it.

A majority of millennial conservatives have more moderate views on many social issues and are major advocates for states’ rights. Although semi-Libertarian Paul agrees with much of this sentiment of the millennial view, I do not think he has a strong shot in 2016 because of his somewhat vague plans of action.

Sarah Palin explained her opinions on how the U.S. should action in the Middle East saying, “they say you can’t kill your way out of war? Tell that to the Nazis … Oh wait, you can’t, they’re dead – we killed them.” Although Palin received a roaring applause for this comment and I enjoyed it as well, I do not believe she is the best fit for 2016. She is many things we need in a 2016 nominee: she is not afraid of the media and admits to her own personal flaws, however, I don’t think she would be taken seriously enough.

Although he placed poorly in the Straw Poll, I believe Chris Christie has a lot of the passion and excitement that will be needed in 2016. But, he claimed he was unconcerned about his decline in the polls. I appreciated when he said, “What we should be concerned about is what I heard when I traveled to 37 states last year: they want opportunities for great careers for themselves and their children.” Should the drama of “Bridgegate” dwindle, I do think that Christie has the pizzazz we need in 2016.

Carson, Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal were all very impressive speakers but I think their newness on the political scene may prohibit 2016 bids. I would love to see any of them as vice presidential candidates.

My top choices for a 2016 bid are Walker and Bush. Bush has the experience of a governor, diversity in that his wife is an immigrant and of course the Bush name, all of which would greatly aid a campaign. His two biggest areas of concern are immigration and education. I appreciate his ideas on immigration. He eluded to the fact that it isn’t feasible to deport 11 million people and that immigrants need to be given a path “where they work, don’t receive government benefits, don’t break the law, learn English and make a contribution to our society.” These views have the potential to entice many immigrants to the Republican Party.

I found myself constantly rising to my feet in applause for Walker. My favorite line of his was, “We have a president who measures success by how many people are dependent on the government. There’s a reason we celebrate July 4 and not April 15, because in America we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.” He had strong views and actual plans to improve things. He has dedicated himself to working for the middle class and would be a candidate that appeals to many voters.

Electability will likely overpower stance on issues in 2016. Almost every speaker I heard from has the same basic goal: limit the power of the federal government, lower taxes and create jobs or economic growth. It is exciting knowing that it is anyone’s election to win and I am eagerly awaiting to be impressed by the potential candidates.

It is 1979 in America; Obama is looking like President Jimmy Carter with his ineffective management style and failures in the Middle East. Next year is our 1980. Next year we have the ability to elect our generation’s Ronald Reagan. Don’t you want to be a part of that? Register to vote and find out what you believe in. Fight for our 1980.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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