Republican Voters Against Trump, a media project of the conservative advocacy group Defending Democracy Together, is out with a new ad titled “Shining City on a Hill?” that uses footage of a famous Ronald Reagan speech to (indirectly) trash President Trump.
“For the first time in our memory,” Reagan says, addressing the nation in a 1980 speech on the eve of his election to the U.S. presidency, “there are those who question whether history still has a place for America. There are some who answer ‘No’—that we must tell our children not to dream as we once dreamed. Together, tonight, let us say that America is still united, still strong, still compassionate, still willing to stand by those who are persecuted or alone. For those who are victims of police states or government-induced torture or terror, let us speak for them. ...”
As we hear Reagan’s words, the ad serves up unsettling clips from contemporary times, including scenes of Trump cozying up to dictators such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, news footage of American police brutality and caged migrants, and stats about record unemployment.
The ad is being supported with paid TV and social promotion. The YouTube version of the spot includes this introductory text: “Ronald Reagan spoke often of America as a shining city on a hill: a prosperous, free, and virtuous model for the nations of the world. Is Trump’s Republican Party living up to that vision of our potential? Has your party left you? Republican Voters Against Trump is a coalition of Republicans, former Republicans, conservatives, and former Trump voters who can’t support Trump for president this fall.”
That “Has your party left you?” line closes out the “Shining City on a Hill?” ad.
Republican Voters Against Trump formally kicked off in May by announcing plans to spend at least $10 million on advertising across TV and digital to attempt to defeat Trump. RVAT’s parent organization describes itself thusly on its website:
Defending Democracy Together is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization created by lifelong conservatives and Republicans—many of whom have served in Republican administrations and write for conservative publications. We are dedicated to defending America’s democratic norms, values, and institutions and fighting for consistent conservative principles like rule of law, free trade, and expanding legal immigration.