Democrats are organizing their own version of the Conservative Political Action Conference, according to Politico.
The left-wing event, which will take place in May at a venue near the White House, has been dubbed the Ideas Conference.
The Center for American Progress is organizing the event and is modeling it after the annual CPAC, organized by the American Conservative Union, which Politico described as a “prime stop for Republican leaders." President Donald Trump spoke at the event last month and noted that he started his political career with a CPAC speech in 2011. The annual event is also an opportunity for conservative activists nationwide to gather for an exchange of ideas.
Organizers of the liberal conclave want their event to serve a similar purpose for their own cause by sharing policy proposals, not just attacks on Trump.
“So much of our time right now is engaged, and rightfully so, in fighting Trump. On any given day, he issues one affront to progressive values after another,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, told Politico. “It’s obviously critical that we provide a positive alternative of how we’re going to address the country’s challenges.”
Some liberal activists fear that the event will lead to infighting in the face of conflicting policy proposals and will be a waste of time and resources as Democrats head into the 2018 midterm election.
“There’s a level of energy out there that I haven’t seen, and it’s not our role to pick winners and losers,” Tanden said. “I think there will be a process. Some people will be really successful. Some won’t. It’s great to have that trial and error out there.”
“I don’t know who the Milo Yiannopoulos is of the left,” Tanden said, “but we’re not going to have that person.”
Tom Perez, the newly elected chair of the Democratic National Committee, expressed support for the effort.
"Over the next few weeks and months, I will be working with the new DNC leadership to make sure the DNC is the focal point in bringing progressives together and translating this momentum into a movement, and earning votes for Democrats up and down the ballot," Perez told Politico.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are among the Democratic politicians scheduled to attend.