A Republican political action committee (PAC) ran an advertisement during the Democratic presidential debate last Thursday night calling out “socialism” and asked if voters wanted progressive Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.) to be the future of America.
The ABC Television Network ran the controversial ad, purchased and paid for by the New Faces PAC, midway through the televised Democratic debate. The ad begins with a shot of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s official congressional portrait, which then is set on fire and eventually cuts to scenes of the Cambodian genocide.
The video is narrated by Elizabeth Heng, a former Republican congressional candidate in California, and was purchased by a PAC that hopes to recruit more diverse Republican political candidates. The ad continues with a pile of skulls and then cuts to Elizabeth Heng, the daughter of a Cambodian dissident, recalling the violence of the Khmer Rouge regime and warns against socialism in the U.S.
“This is the face of socialism. And ignorance,” Heng said in the Republican’s advertisement. “Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism? My father was minutes from death in Cambodia, before a forced marriage saved his life. That’s socialism. Forced obedience, starvation. Mine is a face of freedom. My skin is not white, I’m not outrageous, racist, nor socialist. I’m a Republican.”
Republicans have long accused Democrats of being socialists, and as 2020 elections heat up, they are expected to continue to push their narrative. To that end, Democratic figures are giving them plenty of ammunition. AOC does call herself a “democratic socialist,” as does leading Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Senator has in the past commended brutal left-wing socialist regimes such as those in Cuba, Venezuela, and even the former USSR.
In response, Democrats have been trying their best to cast all Republicans as white nationalists.
The outspoken freshman congresswoman from N.Y. responded to the ad directed at her, calling it a “love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case.” She also accused Republicans of trying to convince people they aren’t racist.
The New Faces PAC and Heng defended the ad, however, saying, “This ad is about fighting the socialist agenda that has taken over the Democratic Party. I am not afraid to engage in a debate of ideas, and it is the AOC extremists that have to resort in name-calling because they don’t have real solutions for our country.”
The goal of the New Faces GOP is to support diverse Republican candidates running for office at local, state, and the federal level through recruitment and training. The group plans to make a political statement and purchased the Thursday night advertisement as part of its launch, but has not yet started to work with any specific candidates. The PAC is happy with the ad they purchased though, and sources within the group indicate that they saw a substantial increase in both donations and registration for its email list Thursday night after the spot ran on ABC.