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Opinion | A real outsider


Donald Trump got a lot of votes in Alabama.

Even today, after two years of implementing policies that have undeniably hurt this state, he still enjoys healthy support in Alabama.

While it would be easy to tie that support to Alabama’s history of racism and Trump’s tendency to say racist things and support racist people and push racist policies, there’s more to it than that. Oh, sure, a good portion of this state loves that Trump is rolling back civil rights investigations of police departments and coddling Nazi-sympathizers and terrorizing Hispanic babies, but there’s a larger percentage of people who like Trump because he was different.

He was an outsider. He was going to buck the system. He was going to change things, kick out the career politicians, get rid of the lobbyists and bankers and return control of America to the regular, working-class people.

Now, we can discuss the gullibility of a grown person believing a New York City millionaire, who was born with two silver spoons and no concept of an average American’s life, would ever be the one to restore power to the regular people, but that’s what they believed.

And that’s where this whole thing went wrong.

As a matter of fact, the entire Trump phenomenon in rural, white America is a microcosm of a larger problem — one that has destroyed the middle class and stagnated workers’ wages and led to decreasing paychecks and increasing bills.

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They keep picking the wrong outsiders.

Poor white people continue to believe that the next rich white guy they elect is going to be the one to finally share the secret of how they too can become rich.

Instead of voting for people who represent their interests, who understand their daily struggles, who feel their pains, the white, working-class and poor voters in rural America have voted in one wealthy conman after another. Falling time and again for ridiculous lies.

Here’s what that looks like in Alabama: A group of lawmakers who have found countless ways to trim from programs that help the poor, the disabled, the elderly, teachers and children have yet to broach the subject of Alabama’s lowest-in-the-nation income taxes or a property tax system undeniably created to disenfranchise black citizens.

Last year, on the heels of several rural hospitals closing and the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid, the state’s answer to health care funding woes was to implement a Medicaid work requirement that will undoubtedly prevent needy people from receiving health care they need.

At the same time, despite billions in economic incentives doled out to rich corporations and car manufacturers, Alabama remains a state with one of the highest poverty levels and lowest worker wage levels. And those wages, despite the alleged influx of “good paying jobs” brought by the incentive deals, aren’t growing.

Do you know why these things happen?

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Because Alabama voters go to the polls and elect people who do not understand their daily struggles. Instead of doing what the people of the Bronx and Queens did: Boot out the rich incumbent who had lost touch with the people he served and replace him with someone who understood them.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

That’s right, the 29-year-old who Fox News has convinced you is an evil socialist is actually the perfect example of the sort of an outsider that working-class people should be voting for.

Because she is a working-class person. She’s someone who understands the plight of working men and women. And she believes that if government is going to help anyone in this country, it should start at the bottom, where the aid is most needed and most impactful.

She hasn’t even officially started in Congress yet, and she’s already causing waves as she pushes back against a system that has been manipulated to favor the wealthy.

She has publicly criticized her colleagues on both sides of the aisle for not paying their staffers living wages — criticism that apparently pushed many to change their ways.

Do you know how that came about? Because AOC is broke until she starts receiving her Congressional pay, she’s dining in dive bars and cheap restaurants. While in one, she was speaking to the wait staff and discovered that many of them were also Congressional staffers working second jobs.

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Funny the things that happen when people who actually represent the majority of America show up to govern.

Before the deal with the staffers, she publicly discussed the absurdity of her receiving the Congressional, super-cheap health insurance plan, but was forced to pay twice as much for basically the same plan when she worked as a waitress.

During the campaign, she refused all corporate campaign donations.

You see, that’s a person who represents regular people, who’s fighting to solve everyday problems.

That’s an outsider.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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