The top ten Democratic presidential challengers held a debate last night in Houston. The debate sparked several spirited moments, especially between Joe Biden and Julian Castro, and later Joe Biden was interrupted by demonstrators who wanted ICE defunded. There were great comments about guns and gun violence, and the candidates all went after Donald Trump. The contrasts seemed to be coming into better focus, though we still have a long way to go. Here is the most interesting recap I found afterwards, by John Nichols in The Nation:
Immediately following the debate an ad aired on ABC that started with a photo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which then burned away revealing black-and-white images of skulls and Cambodian concentration camps. A woman’s voice-over begins…
“This is the face of Socialism and ignorance. 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.”
We eventually see the narrator’s face and the melodramatic ad ends. It was produced by New Faces GOP PAC, likely a well funded Republican PAC that will do more of this kind of scurrilous and dishonest advertising. It’s bad enough that AOC’s face burns, but Cambodia under Pol Pot was not Socialist. He was a Marxist-Lenninist who famously demonized and tried to kill all of the educated people in his country. Sound familiar? Conservatives have trouble keeping all of the different political ideologies straight, and they often conflate Socialism with Communism though the two are quite different. Furthermore, AOC is not a Socialist, she is a Democratic Socialist, which is once again quite different. As I’ve written before, the poorest choice of name for any major ideology has to be Democratic Socialism. It has little to do with traditional Socialism but gets tarred with the same brush often.
It’s clear that the GOP will try to paint all Democrats as Socialists, and then lump Socialists in with racists and other deplorable types–to deflect from their own embrace of racism and white supremacy. It’s also clear that they will continue to save their most bitter attacks for Democratic women. Ocasio-Cortez has become the new Hillary Clinton not because there is any similarity in background or policy but because she is an outspoken and (to them) dangerously effective woman who won’t defer to men.
Get ready to see and hear a ton of disgusting, inaccurate garbage like this revolting PAC ad. The GOP know their party is dying and they won’t hold the levers of power for long. The more they feel the 2020 election slipping away, and the more they see states like Texas and Georgia turning purple, the more desperate and hysterical their attacks and rhetoric will become. It’s going to be an ugly and pitiful slide into the muck.
Also get ready for Trump to become more desperate and unhinged. The House Judiciary Committee yesterday began what Chariman Nadler described as an impeachment investigation, and former Trump lawyer and felon Michael Cohen met in jail with New York prosecutors who are continuing to investigate the election fraud that Cohen was convicted of and that Trump is named in as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”