Blame the Neoliberals: Democrats' Toxic Ideology Paved the Way for Trump
How corporate centrism has failed to defeat even the most incompetent figurehead of the nativist right
Publisher: Common Dreams
Date Written: 10/11/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20121
The Democratic Party is ideologically bankrupt. Neoliberalism, the party's driving force, is toxic, and it has failed not only much of the United States, but also much of the world, driving wealth into the hands of the few. Without a populist left offering an ambitious alternative to the status quo, the nativist right has thrived.
For decades, Democrats have been expanding their coalition, but in the wrong direction. Instead of strengthening their relationship with organized labor and building a platform sufficient to inspire and raise the expectations of working class Americans, the so-called Third Way Democrats devised a plan to win over the professionals, the so-called moderates - these "reformers" wanted the party to become what it has, in fact, become.
But it's not just that they have left the working class in a state of stagnation. Democrats have done tremendous harm. A Democrat destroyed welfare; a Democrat signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law; a Democrat, at the behest of the business class, tore down much of what was left of the regulatory apparatus that was tenuously restraining the financial sector.
This should be a wake-up call for those bent on perpetuating the neoliberal order that has given us soaring inequality and a political system thoroughly captured by organized wealth. This should be a wake-up call, also, for those who have insisted, in response to Trump's nostalgic rhetoric, that "America is already great."
It's not. People are in serious pain, and the pundits who point smugly to recent economic data as evidence that, as Matt Yglesias put it, "we are currently living through the best of times" are part of the problem.