Former Democrat Sen. Al Franken blamed his own party for not doing enough to reduce inflation, warning on Tuesday that the slow impact of the Inflation Reduction Act has him “stressed” about the Democrats’ chances in November’s upcoming midterms.
Franken made the comment on a recent episode of “The Al Franken Podcast,” where he discussed the party’s lackluster solutions to sky-high inflation and the mounting economic woes facing American families. The Minnesota Democrat told listeners that while he finds the proposed Republican solutions inadequate, the impact of the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act has been too insignificant to resonate with voters come November.
“Americans are rightly concerned about inflation. Gas prices are trending back up, rent, food, it’s hard to care about anything else when you don’t know if you’re gonna make it month to month or even week to week. It not like Republicans have offered any solutions. Of course. The unfortunately named Inflation reduction Act — unfortunately, mainly because so little it has kicked in and we are not seeing inflation reduced,” he said.
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The former senator also took shots at members of his party for attempting to downplay America’s inflation rates by comparing them to other countries. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted in a “Face the Nation” appearance over the weekend that Democrats should stop harping on inflation because it is a global issue and not exclusive to the U.S.
“Americans don’t care that inflation is a global problem — that the inflation rate is actually higher in almost every other developed country. Democrats are not gonna win a lot of votes saying, ‘Oh yeah, you know what the inflation rate is in Hungary, 11%,’” Franken said.
“‘Oh, I didn’t realize that. When my family’s having peanut butter sandwiches again for dinner, I’ll bring up Hungary’s rate of inflation,’” he quipped.
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Franken said his party’s overall handling of surging inflation has left him worried about how Democrats will perform on November 8.
“I gotta say, I’m a little stressed about the midterms. Things have not been trending in the right direction of late,” he said.
Polls show a possible grim midterm outcome for Democrats with the economy and inflation among the primary issues for voters. Results from the New York Times and Associated Press indicated big gains for Republicans, showing that voters trust Republicans to handle economic issues more than Democrats.
While the electoral impact of inflation is expected to be significant, Franken said he’s hopeful that the recent Roe v. Wade decision will be enough to boost voter turnout for the Democrats.
“Things have been trending badly. I still believe the Dobbs decision will drive turnout. We seem to be seeing that, for example, in Georgia at least. I think that’s what’s happening there. But I’ve been a little down because I hadn’t liked the trends I’d been seeing,” he told listeners.
Franken, who resigned in 2018 amid pressure from his own party after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, recently said in an interview that it would be “tempting” to run for office again.
In a separate interview, Franken said he was still “keeping” his options “open.”