Elizabeth Heng, a former California Republican candidate in my hometown, ran an advertisement during ABC’s Democratic Debate comparing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ideology to the ideology leading to the tragedies in Cambodia.
This has been the main strategy for the GOP in the Trump era and the most popular strategy to turn this into something the mainstream media would pick up. If the goal of the ad was to feed into the narrative laid out for the past 2 years, it was successful.
The feedback was predictable. Many were criticizing the ad on social media, including AOC.
She stated, “Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist.” It was weird to see her lump every Republican in one group, which is what she despises the right for doing to her party. Notice how she had to mention ad hominem insults to make her point.
Of course, her knee-jerk reaction to criticism was to bring up “white supremacy” as a counterargument. This as been the go-to buzz word for the left almost as long as socialism has been the go-to buzzword for the right. It’s all so tiresome.
Her response resulted in a Twitter argument between her and Heng, clarifying the message of the ad. She answered, “Not Republicans. Me. Are you really calling me a racist @aoc? I’m calling all Democrats out for supporting an evil ideology. Or are you just in Congress to hang out with celebrities and tweet out ridiculous ideas like the green new deal?”
Heng went on to defend her controversial ad in a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo. They clashed over what the intentions are behind the progressive wing of the party and why they can have bipartisan compromises with them like AOC has done with Ted Cruz on reducing corruption.
The Republican playbook has evolved a lot over the years, but now there is a younger breed of conservatives introducing ideas to the movement. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh have the anti-socialism talking points ready every single day, so would it hurt to break up those segments with more paleoconservative views on independent media?
While moderate voters try to figure out what side they’re on, they could easily be put off by the right for using the same name-calling rhetoric as their rivals. Maybe the way to persuade progressives to turn away from socialism is to ask them why they like it so much.
There’s plenty of overlap between Bernie voters and Trump voters. It’s enough to show how ideas like non-intervention, populism, and protectionism can be accepted on a national scale. How many “democratic socialists” are really just social democrats trying to annoy Republicans?
The right will always disagree, but they don’t have to try to win by the left’s standards. Taking the high road always pays off and looking for compromise is productive in the long run. Republicans cannot afford to use all their speeches and TV appearances to only talk about Venezuela, Cuba, and the Soviet Union.
This strategy was used during the Red Scare, but it isn’t an effective message going forward.
The most persuasive way to inform people is to go after a politician’s policies. It should be easy analyzing The Squad point-by-point to show how the GOP is more suitable than the left. That allows both parties to be reformed in a reasonable way.
New Faces GOP, the Republican PAC that funded the ad, stated on their website that their goal is to “help elevate the next generation of Republicans.” Obviously, AOC is the polar opposite of what conservatives want in a candidate. However, there is a better way to discuss socialism without polarizing moderate voters.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.