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Opinion | Alabama Dems’ pathway to relevancy: Alabama workers

Strike of workers in heavy industry

There is nothing Alabama Democrats can do about Republican supermajorities in this very red state. 

Have you heard that one? 

I have. Heard it repeatedly, in fact. Hell, the leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party said it recently, as it attempted to justify its pathetic inaction — and subsequent tail-kickin’ — in last year’s midterm elections. 

Nothing they should have done would have mattered, Nancy Worley and Joe Reed said, because Republicans were going to trounce Democrats in Alabama no matter what. That’s just how it is here. 

Except, that’s not really true. 

There is one certain pathway to relevancy again. There is one group of voters with whom Democrats should always fare better with. There is one group that can save us from the never-ending pandering and out-Jesus’ing of the one-party GOP. 

It’s the workers, dummies. 

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When it comes to the working class in this state, the Alabama GOP is toast. Or it should be if anyone with the Democratic Party would simply point out its shortcomings. 

Its many, many, many shortcomings. 

I mean, just ask a few simple questions. Like, oh, say: Can you pay your bills? 

How many jobs are you working? 

Do you enjoy being taxed more every time you put gas in your car to get to work? 

Why is unemployment so low but workers’ wages so pitiful? 

Are you OK with CEO pay increasing 300 percent the last three decades while worker pay remained stagnant? 

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Are you OK with CEOs in Alabama paying less in taxes than their custodians? 

Here’s the simple truth: The majority of Alabamians — white, black, poor, middle class — want the same thing out of life. 

They want to get paid a decent salary for an honest day’s work. 

They want to pay their bills. They want to have a little left over for vacations and new clothes for the kids. They don’t want to have to worry every single night about money. 

And the fact is, as Republicans — both in Alabama and nationally — have repeatedly shown, they can’t answer those questions or provide that quality of life.

They have no plan for doing so. And no economic plan they’ve ever tried has accomplished it. In fact, most often, their plans do the opposite, and create economic chaos, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. 

This is why there has been a dramatic shift to more progressive candidates nationally — people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Because those candidates have honed in on a true national crisis: the income disparity in America, and the way the deck is stacked against those in the dwindling middle class and below. 

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You might be iffy on the notion of free everything for everyone, but there’s something to be said for a national conversation about workers’ rights, fair pay, and — most importantly — unions. 

Unions are currently enjoying their most favorable polling nationally in decades. And it’s not because unions have changed. 

They still do the same things — provide workers the ability to collectively bargain their pay, thus ensuring a more fair percentage of profits goes to the workers. 

But all of a sudden, with presidential candidates focusing on our wealth disparity issues, the American people are once again seeing value in a union that can make life a tad more fair. 

And Alabama workers realize it too. 

They know that not one single unionized car marker — or auto parts supplier plant — in America pays their workers lower wages than what they make. Not one. 

They know that their benefits and retirement options and vacation days have all been toyed with by greedy CEOs looking to fatten the bottom line at their expense. 

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They know. 

And the ALGOP knows, too, that it has one big Achilles heel, should someone in the Alabama Democratic Party ever notice. 

Alabama’s workers.


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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