Instead of CPAC, it’ll be the Ideas Conference. Instead of taking place at National Harbor, it’ll be in the main room at the St. Regis Hotel, a few blocks from the White House. Instead of featuring President Donald Trump, it’ll be the first real cattle call of the Democrats nosing around 2020 presidential runs.
And it’ll be the Center for American Progress’ biggest move yet to establish itself as both the nexus of the Democratic Party’s future — and a player trying to shape what that future will be.
They’re modeling the event roughly on the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering that’s become a prime stop for Republican leaders, and that notably gave Donald Trump his first major political platform as he was entering the fray.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are all confirmed to attend, and more are expected to be added to the event, scheduled for May 16.
Speakers have been encouraged to come with substantive proposals on the economy, climate change, national security, civil rights, reproductive rights and immigration rather than just political attacks on Trump. Sprinkled through the day will be panel discussions and conversations that will bring in activists and leaders of new organizations.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on CAP's pivot after Donald Trump won the presidency, and here is another piece on the future of the think tank in the Trump presidency.