A group of dissenting Republicans is letting their opposition to President Donald Trump be known during Sunday’s Green Bay Packers football game.
Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT) is debuting their newest ad in the Green Bay television market. The target is center-right voters, which RVAT believes are found more heavily in the Green Bay area than in the rest of the state.
“Our data showed that Green Bay has a disproportionate share of persuadable Republicans and there’s no better time to make sure they hear from us than during a break from watching the Packers trounce the Vikings,” said Tim Miller, the political director for RVAT in an email to RightWisconsin.
The ad purchase is “a six-figure buy,” according to RVAT, and there will be at least five showings of the 60 second ad during the game. In Wisconsin, that all but assures that almost everyone in the Green Bay television market will see the ad since the Packers are the civic religion of the region.
The ad, “Still A Shining City On A Hill?” revisits one of President Ronald Reagan’s favorite themes which he took from Puritan leader John Winthrop. (Winthrop himself took it from the Bible, the Book of Matthew.) It first appeared nationally during the Republican National Convention on the Fox News Channel.
Images that contradict Reagan’s vision for America play on the screen while we hear Reagan’s speech from before his election victory in 1980. By reminding Republicans of Reagan’s vision and contrasting that with the experience of life under Trump, RVAT hopes to discourage moderate Republicans from voting for the president in November.
Coincidentally, the Green Bay area was the unofficial origin of “Never Trump” Republicanism. Former Congressman Reid Ribble (R), who represented the district from 2011 to 2017, was the first member of Congress to declare he would “never” vote for Trump.
The current congressman for the district Mike Gallagher (R) has been a Trump critic but still supports the president’s re-election.
Winthrop’s original use of the “Shining City On A Hill” was not the optimistic vision of the New World of Reagan’s speeches. It was a warning that the behavior of the Massachusetts Bay colonists would be seen by the world.
“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us,” Winthrop said in a sermon. “So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”
Given the importance of Wisconsin in the presidential election, the Green Bay area could be “the city on the hill” on Election Night, with the area’s vote totals being watched by the entire country.