It's late — but not too late for Democrats to expose the GOP of corruption, repression and plutocracy: Ralph Nader

It's late — but not too late for Democrats to expose the GOP of corruption, repression and plutocracy: Ralph Nader
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Will Democrats save themselves and the country?

The big mainstream media won’t do it for them. Based on their twin rules that “if it bleeds, it leads” and “both sides-ism,” they’re content to simply keep citing inflation and crime numbers while the Republican Party largely rotates angry slogans (Woke! Grooming! Cancel culture! Critical race theory!) with the subtlety of Russian foot soldiers. Such fears and smears crowd out any sustained coverage of the stakes, of who’s lying and with what consequences.

How can it be that a Democratic Party that has enacted so many successful programs for middle-class families over the past years and decades is no better than tied with a GOP that would have disgusted Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan?

It’s late but not too late for Democrats to retake the offensive and expose a party of corruption, repression, and plutocracy. To advance that prospect, this past spring we organized — 24 prominent public advocates and civic leaders offering their best language and get-out-the-vote strategies. Remember, no one of us knows more than all of us.

The result was “Crushing the GOP,” a collective volume that decodes Republican disinformation and proposes three core messages beyond abortion for the campaign’s final stretch — on democracy, the economy, and Social Security.

Economy and inflation

Until now, Democrats have avoided rebutting hyperbole about inflation for fear of elevating what Republicans believe is their strongest issue. The GOP, however, has already been shouting about it from the rooftops, and you can’t beat something with nothing.

Democrats have to hit back on two fronts — explaining why there’s inflation and then turning the tables.

High prices are the result of worldwide inflation, as well as the pandemic, Vladimir Putin’s war, and price-gouging of consumers, since — when it comes to gas, food, cars, etc. — prices are set by businesses, not government.

What is the GOP plan to lower them? It has none, other than running $100 million in ads that blame Democrats while the Biden administration is striving to lower drug and energy costs and health premiums in the Inflation Reduction Act, which the GOP unanimously opposed. And this administration produced more jobs in two years than the 16 years of Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump combined, each of whom bequeathed America two steep recessions.

There must now be a relentless comparison of the economic records of Biden and Trump.

GOP vs. democracy

Although each party blames the other for the crisis of democracy, there’s no comparison: Only one party started a bloody insurrection to overthrow a democratically elected government, enacted state voter suppression laws, and is mobilizing “Vote Watchers” to menace people using ballot drop boxes.

The focus on democracy is not mere virtue-signaling but explains why we can’t fix the economy. Fair elections are the way we translate public sentiment into public laws, which won’t happen when the minority party tries to stifle votes of, especially, people of color.

That’s the reason Congress refuses to increase the $7.25 frozen minimum wage and extend the $300-a-month child tax credit to 58 million children.

Less democracy means less income for average families. Yes, market-driven prices are too high, but democracy is priceless.

Social Security and Medicare

Americans know they’ve paid into these programs over a lifetime but most don’t know that the GOP wants to sabotage both. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rick Scott of Florida, are threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless these programs are cut. This is an issue that can move undecided voters.

At this point, only the Biden White House has the “bully pulpit” to reach voters over the shouting of the hosts at Fox News and talk radio. Biden got where he is by being a nice guy and an avatar of bipartisanship. His administration and party will now be judged by whether he can rise to the occasion and respond to the eternal political question, “Who’s on your side?”

The answer: “Republicans are dangerous extremists who are stealing your rights and wallets.”

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