What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked : It's All Politics Attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference say they want the next president to focus on bipartisanship, faith, security and lower taxes.

What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

Josh DiNatale (left) and Zachary Burns, St. Joseph's University students and members of their College Republicans chapter, get ready to pose for a photo with a cutout of Sen. Rand Paul at CPAC 2015. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Emily Jan/NPR

Josh DiNatale (left) and Zachary Burns, St. Joseph's University students and members of their College Republicans chapter, get ready to pose for a photo with a cutout of Sen. Rand Paul at CPAC 2015.

Emily Jan/NPR

The Conservative Political Action Conference, held this week in Washington D.C., is prime time for 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls trying — yes, already — to win over a key part of their base. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker and others paraded on and off the main stage, trying to fire up the crowd with their ideas for America's next, post-Obama chapter.

But, as many CPAC attendees told us, it'll take more than a rousing (and certainly more than a humdrum) speech on the main stage to win them over. They want a candidate not just committed to their issues and values but someone who also brings, dare we say it, change from the Washington leaders who can't seem to agree on anything lately.

So what do conservatives really want in 2016? To find out, we asked CPAC attendees this: If you found yourself in an elevator with a future presidential nominee, what would you say?

Attendees talked about wanting power handed back to the people, a more secure border, a stronger focus on faith and lower taxes. Here are some of the responses:

What Would You Tell The Next President?

  • Ivan Teo: Keep An Open Mind

    Emily Jan/NPR
    Ivan Teo
    Emily Jan/NPR

    New York City

    "I want him or her to keep an open mind. I think that a lot of times we focus a lot on the principles, and that's what we are here to do. But a lot of times it becomes caught up in the rhetoric, it gets caught up in the heated polarized debate that Washington now is not doing anything right now. Look at the Senate; look at the House. DHS is going to be unfunded, congratulations. I mean, I don't think that's how governments should be working, so I do think that any presidential nominee, whichever party, and [president-elect] ... should just keep an open mind about the solutions that could possibly come to fix our nation's problems."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389526391" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Suzy Mulligan: Support Young Adults

    Emily Jan/NPR
    Suzy Mulligan
    Emily Jan/NPR

    Fairfax, Va.

    "I have five children, and they're all college graduates, and they all have very hefty college loans. There's nothing there to really support them as far as getting out there, after school, getting that job. I'd like to see some kind of program started that will help students who are graduating to really be able to get into the workforce and not have a lot of pressure over them. ... Focus on the young adults because they are the future, and it's our legacy that we're giving to them. And it's our forefathers that fought for us and it's our responsibility to fight for our children the way they did for us, and for this beautiful country."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389526770" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Doug Goode: Protect Southern Border

    Emily Jan/NPR
    Doug Goode
    Emily Jan/NPR

    Wichita Falls, Texas

    "The one thing that kind of sticks in my craw, since I'm from Texas, is the situation on the Southern border. They keep talking about building a fence and putting sensors and drones and such, which is all asinine and silly as far as I'm concerned. What they do need to do is to lean on Mexico and tell them to stop allowing these people to cross their territory into our country. They have a responsibility to help us."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389528734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Andrew Schindler: Cut Spending

    Andrew Schindler (from left), Daniel Goldenstein and Blaze Drinkwine. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

    toggle caption
    Emily Jan/NPR

    Andrew Schindler (from left), Daniel Goldenstein and Blaze Drinkwine.

    Emily Jan/NPR

    Bismarck, N.D.

    "Spend less, tax less. I don't think it's a huge problem with the Republican Party but I know it's something that, especially under President Obama and various other Democrats, I mean spending, we're spending a lot, and just on stuff where I personally believe we don't need it, so definitely spend less, tax less. Stimulate the economy by taxing less so there's more money out in the actual market."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389528674" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Bishop Council Ned: Focus On Faith

    Emily Jan/NPR
    Bishop Council Ned
    Emily Jan/NPR

    State College, Pa.

    "That faith is important. That they actually have some interest in faith and maintaining the tradition of our country and the traditions of our Founding Fathers, and having some interest in things of faith. ... The current administration seems to be really interested in denigrating God and as a cleric, I take issue with that."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389528535" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Rhonda De La Cerda: Bring Back Core Values

    Emily Jan/NPR
    Rhonda De La Cerda
    Emily Jan/NPR

    North Kingstown, R.I.

    "This is the greatest country in the world, and we all have to work together whether we are Republican or Democrat. We need to come together, and we need to fight together. ... Let's go back to the core values of what this country was founded on, and God bless America."

    What Do Conservatives Want For 2016? We Asked

    • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/389482996/389528576" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">