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Opinion & Editorial

Americans for Prosperity: Out of Touch with Middle Class

An elderly man with withered skin and a wiry, white beard parks his truck on High Street. He sits dazed and with an expression of apathy, which appears out of place inside his obtrusive truck on which are  plasters of graphic pictures of abortions and with screams for pro-life slogans in bold red font.

Beyond the old man’s fetus-painted truck, protestors wave their union signs and chant against big-money interests. Their crowd blocks off the road and attracts the support of former Governor Ted Strickland who says, “Ohio is not for sale to the billionaire class.”

This chaotic scene took place on a late summer Saturday because Ohio’s role as the battleground state has begun again, and it’s first skirmish of the 2016 election took place onAugust 21st-22nd in the heart of the Columbus.

Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group under the thumb of the billionaire Koch brothers, hosted the Defending the American Dream summit. Candidates Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio were all invited to speak at the event to preach about economic empowerment. Ohio Governor John Kasich was not invited to speak for reasons the Koch brothers chose to leave unexplained.

Despite the mighty lineup of the event, the protests led by the AFL-CIO stole the spotlight. The crowd mocked the event’s title, arguing that Americans for Prosperity policies do nothing to protect the “American Dream.”

Marco Rubio spoke about the value of the middle class while the middle class rallied outside against him with signs reading, “It’s time to treat workers right.”

Rubio said, “Let’s put power back in the hands of state and local communities.” Outside these local communities argued Republican candidates were the ones keeping the power with billionaires like the Koch brothers.

The other speakers covered all the other conservative bases: no amnesty, no planned parenthood, no compromises, no Obamacare, no environmental regulation, and on and on they went. As a result of the protests, however, these candidates all appeared out of touch with the actual middle class they claim to champion.

Written by Maddie Vaziri’16






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