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CPAC 2024: Trump’s Return, VP Speculations, and Key Issues to Watch

Conservative activists are gearing up for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), set to kick off Wednesday outside Washington. The event, scheduled to run through Saturday, promises to be a significant gathering of GOP luminaries, with former President Trump leading the pack.

Joining Trump on the CPAC roster are prominent figures such as Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), and former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss. Given Trump’s continued influence within the party, much of the spotlight will likely be on his remarks and potential vice-presidential preferences, among other critical topics.

Here are five focal points to monitor as CPAC unfolds:

1. Trump’s Address: As Trump takes the stage on Saturday, all eyes will be on his speech, particularly amidst the South Carolina primary. Expected to dominate the state, Trump might seize the opportunity to rally his base and potentially take jabs at rivals like Nikki Haley. His stance on ongoing legal battles and foreign policy, notably NATO and Russia, could also feature prominently.

2. Abortion Debates: Amidst ongoing debates over abortion rights, Trump’s stance on the issue remains elusive. Recent reports suggesting support for a 16-week ban with exceptions have sparked controversy. CPAC may provide a platform for further clarification or debate on this contentious issue within the conservative movement.

3. VP Straw Poll: With Trump’s presidential prospects overshadowing the field, speculation over his potential running mate intensifies. CPAC’s VP straw poll could offer insights into the conservative base’s preferences and influence Trump’s decision-making as he eyes the 2024 race.

4. Ukraine Dynamics: Against the backdrop of the Russian invasion’s second anniversary, CPAC’s stance on U.S. support for Ukraine takes center stage. Trump’s recent remarks on NATO and Russia’s actions underscore potential divisions within the GOP, reflecting broader debates over foreign policy priorities.

5. GOP Moderates’ Presence: CPAC’s evolution into a pro-Trump bastion raises questions about the party’s inclusivity. With dissent often sidelined, the conference’s lineup, including staunch Trump allies like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), may signal the prevailing sentiment within conservative circles.

As CPAC unfolds, these key themes offer a glimpse into the GOP’s trajectory and its alignment with Trump’s influence ahead of the 2024 elections.