How Neoliberalism destroyed the Democratic Party

Zach Toillion
7 min readJun 13, 2019

In politics and history, past is prologue. To quote Mark Twain “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. As the Democratic Primary continues to heat up, looking at the last three Democratic Presidents is instructive on how we got to this point in US history, and what may happen if another Democrat is elected.

Put simply, the last three Democratic Presidents turned their backs on the people they were supposed to champion. Instead they became proselytizers in the cult of neoliberalism-an ideology so bereft of popular supporter it has led to the rise of populism worldwide. It all started in Iowa with a Peanut farmer running for the Presidency in 1975. This is the story of how Neoliberalism took over and defined the Democratic Party.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter campaigned as a conservative outright, stating he was more similar to Dwight Eisenhower than a “New Dealer”. In his stump speech and ads he stated “I believe in balanced budgets. I believe in eliminating programs that have outlived their usefulness. I believe when there is a choice to be made between government and private industry, I’d go with the private industry. This is a kind of concept that is generally considered to be conservative.” Carter often described himself as a fiscal conservative and campaigned on balancing the federal budget. Carter was also one of the first candidates to actively campaign on his religiosity as a major selling point.

Carter supported Indonesian as a Cold War ally against the Soviets, giving them weapons and training in 1977. (A continuation of Republican Gerald Ford’s policy). They committed a genocide in East Timor which left 80,000 slaughtered. In 1979 Carter armed the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, a group which later led to the creation of Al Qeada. In doing this, the US gave money and training directly to Islamic fundamentalist terrorists including Osama Bin Laden.

Carter had a massive Democratic Congressional majority, but completely squandered it. Carter had a Democratic Congress that had a filibuster proof majority and nearly 70 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives. Plans were being drafted in Congress to do major progressive action. Bill were written to create a National Health Insurance system, a Negative Income Tax, Statehood for Washington DC, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, bans on assault weapons, a form of universal Basic Income, massive infrastructure programs, progressive…

Zach Toillion

Libertarian Socialist who writes about politics, economics, philosophy religion & history. Former Newspaper Columnist.