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Opinion | What’s in your best interest? Vote that way

Joey Kennedy

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Don’t count Doug Jones out. That happened once before, and those who counted him out have to call him U.S. Sen. Jones now.

Sure, as a Democrat, Jones is a long shot once again in his re-election bid for 2020. Lots of Republicans are lined up to try to be the one to challenge him, including disgraced former Chief Justice Roy Moore, the loser to Jones in 2018. Moore’s reputation for seeking out teeny boppers is so awful that even President Trump, who has lusted after his own daughter, won’tsupport him.

There are other Republicans, though, who seek to take Jones’ seat. And, truly, Jones will be the underdog. Again.

Remember, though, that in Alabama, if Jesus ran as a Democrat – and He would – he’d be an underdog, too.

In late 2018, after Moore was exposed as a child molester, he was still the heavy favorite to defeat Jones. The governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, who said she believed Moore’s accusers, still voted for the crazy-eyed religious zealot because he is a Republican. Not even Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator and a longtime Republican himself, would go that far.

In Alabama, though, voters almost always vote against their best interests. Democrats want to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act so that more uninsured Alabamians will have health coverage. Rural hospitals will be saved. The economic boost runs into the billions of dollars.

Republicans say no. And voters – even poor, uninsured voters – go with them.

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Democrats support a higher minimum wage, so that workers in minimum-wage jobs have a shot at finding housing and sort of supporting their families. Republicans oppose an increase in the minimum wage – something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade. Birmingham increased the minimum wage within its boundaries, and the Republican Legislature overturned that independent decision. And voters – even voters earning the minimum wage – go with Republicans.

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Democrats want to protect important social programs, but Republicans target Medicare and Social Security, the vital safety net for older Alabamians, for huge cuts. And voters – even older voters who receive Medicare and Social Security – go with them.

The Republican Party, with Donald Trump at the head, is the party of corruption. It’s the same in Alabama, where a chief justice (Moore), governor (Robert Bentley), and speaker of the House (Mike Hubbard) were all removed during the same cycle. Yet voters – even voters who bemoan the swamp and say they want to drain it – go with the party of corruption.

These days, the Democratic Party is the party of fiscal responsibility. That makes me dizzy. Readers know I support social programs – food stamps, Medicaid, free lunches, universal health care – which costs a lot of money. But I’d rather spend that money on our people instead of giving fat tax cuts to billionaires and rich corporations and paying for wars we shouldn’t be fighting. Republicans, who once claimed to be the responsible adults in the room, give away the farm to the rich and have increased our national debt and deficit more than Democrats ever did. Yet voters – even voters who claim to be conservatives on spending – vote for today’s fiscally irresponsible Republicans.

Clearly the Republicans are better at getting their misleading message out there, and Alabama voters are gullible enough to believe it. Despite what they see, they vote against their interests.

Still, don’t count Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, out. Alabama voters can learn. They can investigate the candidates. And Jones has already proved he’s never down or out.

Always vote your best interests. That’s why we have elections.

If one party is further enriching the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor, that likely is not in your interest. If one party is allowing corruption at the highest levels of state and federal government, that is likely not in your interest. If one party favors separating families and caging infants and children, that better not be in your interest.

Be kind, and vote kind. Be smart, and vote smart. It’s in your best interest.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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