"One Vote Away" Ad Warns of Right Wing Control of All Branches of Government

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So far in this election season, there has been almost no attention to the fact that for the first time since 1929, the right wing of the Republican Party might have effective control of all three branches of government. Given the consequences of that dominance, it is urgent that the silence on this issue be broken. People For the American Way is ready to end that silence with a hard-hitting television ad. (See links at end of release to view ad.)

Text of “One Vote Away” Ad:

Today the White House and the House of Representatives are controlled by the right wing of the Republican Party.

And with just one more vote they’ll control the U.S. Senate.

Their unchecked political power would be devastating for a woman’s right to choose, our environment, social security, and corporate accountability.

And could guarantee a Supreme Court controlled by the far right for decades.

With your family’s future at stake, should one political party have this much power?

Your vote for Senator counts on November 5th.

There is strong evidence that this message will resonate with voters. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Sept. 23-26 asked more than 1,000 adults which statement comes closer to the way they think: “Since the President is a Republican we need Republicans in charge of Congress to help support the President’s agenda,” or “Since the President is a Republican, we need Democrats in charge of Congress to act as a check on the President and his agenda.” By a 22-point margin – 56 to 34 percent – Americans chose the checks and balances that a Democratic Congress would provide. Similarly, a New York Times poll conducted in August found that three out of five Americans think it is better for the country to have the White House and Congress controlled by different parties.

Today, right-wing Republicans control the White House and House of Representatives. The 5-4 “states’ rights” majority on the Supreme Court is turning back the clock, with President Bush’s favorite Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia urging the Court to engage in even more radically regressive activism.

From 1994 through 2000, President Clinton’s veto proved an effective check on the right-wing leaders’ power. In 2001 and 2002, Democratic control of the Senate has provided a crucial check. But if Republicans take the Senate in November, that last check in our federal system will be gone. The far right is just one vote away from replacing Tom Daschle with Trent Lott, Patrick Leahy with Orrin Hatch, and making similarly disturbing leadership changes across the board.

The consequences of total right-wing control would be devastating for reproductive rights and privacy, environmental protection, civil rights, Social Security and Medicare, corporate accountability, health care, religious liberty, public education, workers’ rights, and more.

The single most disastrous consequence of right-wing control of the Senate would be a Supreme Court controlled by the far right for decades. The current conservative majority is bad enough. But with one or two more justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, more than 100 Supreme Court precedents could be overturned. Much of the legal and social justice victories of the past 65 years could be wiped away, and our constitutional framework returned to a pre-New Deal era, when states’ rights and property rights were predominant.

Moreover, a right-wing dominated Supreme Court would not only turn back hard-won achievements, but could also make new progressive gains nearly impossible. It could overturn on constitutional grounds any progressive legislation for a generation, regardless of who controls Congress or the White House, similar to what happened during the first third of the 20th century.

It has now been more than eight years since the confirmation of Justice Stephen Breyer, the longest interval between Supreme Court vacancies in 179 years. Since 1950, there has been an appointment every two years on average. We are long overdue.

It is urgent that the consequences of right-wing dominance in all three branches of government be openly debated over the next three weeks. Before voting, every American should understand fully what is at stake.

People For the American Way’s straightforward and compelling television ad makes the case for the checks and balances that a divided government provides and points out the consequences of complete right-wing control. We are planning to run the ads in a number of states where the Senate races are toss-ups.

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