Students enter into a 'House of Cards'

Mike Stanford
Executive News Editor 
A group of Prospect students got a glimpse into the world of Washington politics this past weekend when they attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from Feb. 25-28.
The students, juniors Adam Nadler and Reilly Finn along with seniors Matt Nadler and Evan Wasiak, went to Washington, D.C. as student ambassadors for Turning Point USA, an organization designed to inspire conservative ideas among high school and college students.
Back in the fall, these students and other Conservative Club members worked to get Bruce Rauner elected as Governor of Illinois by going house-to-house, volunteering at his campaign events and making phone calls. Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk took notice of their work and encouraged them to apply to represent the organization in Washington, D.C.
They applied and arrived in Washington, D.C. the morning of Feb. 25 and went to CPAC at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
While at the convention, the students interacted with politicians and gained insights on what it meant to be a Washington politician.
“It’s a lot more like House of Cards than you think,” Adam said. “The parts of House of Cards you hope aren’t real, are real. Not murder obviously, but like the swaying of each other’s votes and whatnot.”
Throughout the weekend, the students listened to an assortment of speakers including potential 2016 presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker and Ben Carson.
However, one of the biggest highlights was being privately addressed by 2016 hopefuls Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in a small session orchestrated by Turning Point USA, according to Wasiak.
Wasiak and his classmates sat about ten feet from the politicians as they interacted, which he describes as a surreal experience.
According to Adam, the students gleaned new insights into conservative politics at CPAC. Among the new ideas he learned were how to deal with ISIS and how to administer the Federal Reserve.
For Wasiak, the biggest takeaway was the direction of the future of the Republican Party. Over 50 percent of attendees were in college or high school, and the majority of them voted in favor of the legalization of gay marriage and marijuana, viewpoints typically discredited by older republicans.
“The Republican Party gets the shaft as being anti-homosexual, anti-women and anti-middle class when in reality younger republicans [hold different views],” Wasiak said. “[The Republican Party] is becoming more socially progressive. I learned [at CPAC] the Republican Party is changing for the better while staying fiscally conservative as they always have.”