This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference will be very different from those of years past—or even from that of 2009—as an influx of grass-roots populists displaces the old guard. These days, the energy is flowing from the anti-tax, anti-spending tea party movement, and its activists are crowding out the anti-abortion, anti-gay, and defense-centric groups that have dominated in the past, Politico reports.
Many of these new activists are leery of the older groups, believing they’ve essentially become too close to the Republican establishment, says Erick Erickson of RedState.com. “There needs to be a purging of the movement, and I think we’re already starting to see a different of hierarchy of groups,” he argues. “You’re going to see a much more diffuse conservative movement.”