- - Thursday, February 23, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media love writing the narrative of crisis, division and disarray in the conservative moment.

So it was no surprise this week when Time magazine published an article titled “The Conservative Grassroots Faces a Crisis at Its Annual Meetup.” It must be missing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where thousands of grass-roots activists from across the country are gathering this week to celebrate the Trump victory and prepare for battles that lie ahead.

At CPAC, conservative warriors are energized, united and excited about supporting the president and his vision for America. They might not agree with every aspect of his agenda, but they recognize his efforts in pushing some major conservative initiatives such as the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and rebuilding the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Conservatives acknowledge that President Trump is not a purist, and establishment conservatives have criticized him on issues such as infrastructure spending and trade.

But even the conservative establishment can agree that Mr. Trump is making a concerted effort to keep his campaign promises. He also has assembled a team of top conservative leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, to further the movement.

And note White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s a strong message Thursday to the CPAC audience: “Hold us accountable.”

Trump administration insiders know that the conservative grass-roots were instrumental in Mr. Trump’s victory in November.

The conservative movement is a big, complicated, diverse family. CPAC attendees are a mix of conservative purists, establishment types, libertarians and the more populist faction of the movement.

Is there discourse and disagreement? Absolutely. CPAC speakers address a variety of pressing topics from different conservative perspectives, creating an open forum for discussion and debate where principles are front and center.

CPAC proves that the conservative movement is more united than the mainstream media are reporting.

CPAC has long existed at the intersection of the Republican establishment and the conservative grass-roots.

And for the first time, the White House has put forth a program at CPAC showing that it understands these factions must come together in order to produce real change.

The symbolic union was displayed during an on-stage conversation with both White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who is more in tune with the Republican establishment, and the populist Mr. Bannon.

“We have to stick together as a team,” Mr. Priebus said. “This is an incredible opportunity to use this victory and work together.”

Mr. Bannon talked about the “diverse voices” in the conservative movement and the “new political order.”

Mr. Trump respects the conservative movement because his love for America is aligned with the fierce patriotism at the core of conservatism.

Conservatives understand the importance of this moment, and that this historic opportunity to govern and lead effectively happens only once a generation. The real headline should read, “Conservatives are united and ready to work with President Trump,” but one wonders if the mainstream media will take notice.

Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.

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