“Dangerously extreme Republicans want to shrink our wallets and our rights,” argues in a report called “Crushing the GOP ” and a public letter to party leaders. Urges sharper contrasts in the final stretch on Social Security, Economy & Inflation, Democracy.

October 26, 2022

Dear President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer,

We write out of deep concern that Democratic congressional candidates appear to be ignoring pocketbook issues as we approach the stretch drive of this urgent midterm election.

While it’s essential for Democrats to focus on freedom for women/abortion and the right-wing assault on our constitutional democracy, polling indicates that hasn’t been sufficient to either inspire enough ‘base’ voters or win over enough “soft” Republican and swing independents in numerous close contests.

With inflation ranking as the biggest issue by far, it would be political negligence not to educate voters about the disastrous economic record and policies of an extreme GOP. (See Robert Reich Why aren’t Democrats talking about the real cause of inflation?) Nor should candidates worry that countering Republicans on inflation will further elevate the issue since they are already shouting about it from the rooftops. In political parlance, you can’t beat something with nothing and offense beats defense.

In our view, it’s not too late in debates/interviews/ads/traditional & social media to reframe the current conversation:

Market prices are too high due to world-wide inflation, supply chain problems because of the epidemic, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and price-gouging far beyond costs.

Washington doesn’t set prices of gasoline and groceries – world markets do and big business does. According to FED Chair Jerome Powell, firms with market power are jacking up prices “because they can.”

By opposing the Inflation Reduction Act – which would lower drug, health and energy prices – Republicans promise, if anything, to worsen inflation should they regain their majorities in Congress.

Since 1961, GDP growth has been on average 50 percent higher in Democratic administrations. For one example, Biden’s jobless rate of 3.6 percent in July 2022 was the lowest in fifty years while Trump’s was the first administration since Hoover to finish its term with fewer jobs than at its start.

Despite inheriting an economy from President Obama with the longest economic expansion in history, the Trump administration left us with a steep recession that cost 10 million jobs and lost GDP of trillions in its final year.

  • In 2021, the deficit actually fell by $360 billion. America is now on track for the largest deficit reduction in history this year: $1.3 trillion.
  • The expanded Child Tax Credit reduced child poverty by nearly half in 2021. Yet Republicans united to block continued funding.
  • Republican leaders like Senator Mitt Romney and Sen. Rick Scott, chair of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, want to make Social Security and Medicare discretionary spending reauthorized every five years — not mandatory like now — and House Minority Speaker McCarthy has suggested refusing to increase the debt ceiling unless there are serious reductions in spending in those two programs — what Speaker Pelosi correctly called “health blackmail.”
  • The GOP “plan” on inflation is to spend over $100 million blaming Democrats.

Of course, only Democratic candidates can ultimately decide how to make closing arguments in their particular districts. But silence on an issue like the economy and inflation would be political surrender on the leading issue in 2022.

We urge Democratic candidates and the party apparatus to remind voters that the economy tanked under GOP policies and is now growing again under Democratic programs for average families. Dangerously extreme Republicans want to shrink our wallets and our rights.

Best regards,

Mark Green
Ralph Nader

Victor Navasky, Editor, The Nation (1978-1995)

Roberta Baskin, Former Investigative Reporter

Lewis Black, Comedian

Joan Claybrook, President Emeritus Public Citizen

RoseAnn DeMoro, Former Executive Director of the National Nurses Association

Robert C. Fellmeth, Price Professor of Public Interest Law, University of San Diego School of Law

Stephen Gillers, NYU School of Law

Danny Goldberg, President & owner of Gold Village Entertainment

Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Pastor Emeritus, Plymouth Congregational United Church & Director and Chief Visionary, Faith Strategies

Gary Hart, United States Senator (Ret.)

Jim Hightower, Activist, former elected commissioner of the Texas Depart of Agriculture

Annie Leonard, author and environmental leader

Alan B. Morrison, Co-founder and director for 25 years, Public Citizen Litigation Group

Ray Rogers, Director, Corporate Campaign, Inc.

Stephen Schlesinger, Fellow, Century Foundation

Eleanor Smeal, Co-founder of The Feminist Majority Foundation, and former president of the National Organization for Women

Jim Trengrove, Former Broadcast Journalist

David C. Vladeck, A.B. Chettle, Jr. Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School