You might have heard some people say that we should vote for the lesser of two evils. Why vote for a conservative when there are plenty of neoliberals? Conservatives and their policies (or obstruction of) have been tremendously destructive to the African-American and Latino communities. But have neoliberals been any better for us?
According to Investopedia, neoliberalism is: “An approach to economics and social studies in which control of economic factors is shifted from the public sector to the private sector. Drawing upon principles of neoclassical economics, neoliberalism suggests that governments reduce deficit spending, limit subsidies, reform tax law to broaden the tax base, remove fixed exchange rates, open up markets to trade by limiting protectionism, privatize state-run businesses, allow private property and back deregulation.”
In other words, they’re more than willing to do away with needed government services by outsourcing them to the private sector for the sake (or pretense) of reducing cost, but in turn and without fail, the private sector will charge many times more than the government in the first place. This is why they’re in bed with the private sector; because their campaigns are funded by them and they’re given the master key to the rotating door of the system: government, private, and nonprofit—the axis of evil.
Neoliberals have hoodwinked an entire nation, including people of color, of their nefarious benevolence. They love to point out how horrible things would be if conservatives took the reins. They are high on image and low on substance. They make promises they know they won’t keep. And their policies have been as equally ruinous to minorities.
Neoliberals have gutted social services. Neoliberals brought us the three-strike law. Neoliberals deregulated Wall St. Neoliberals are tardy to the immigration, LGBT, and the racially progressive party. All of these, and more, will continue to disproportionately affect Latinos and other vulnerable minorities.
So how do we push back against neoliberals? By electing more progressives beyond Bernie Sanders. It’s futile to elect a progressive to the presidency while staying at home when elections come for the Senate, House of Representatives, and local elections (which should matter more or as much to us). It’s futile because whatever progressive policies they put forth, they will be watered down for the sake of bipartisanship. It’s futile because conservatives will obstruct them. So we’re left with mediocre, or worse, skeletons of truly progressive initiatives that barely put a dent in solving our problems.
We need to go beyond electing Bernie Sanders to give us Universal Healthcare. We need to vote beyond Bernie Sanders to get rid of Broken Windows. We need to see beyond Bernie Sanders to at least level the playing field for us and our children in every facet of life: education, the economy, health care, immigration, and so on. We’re nowhere near equality in this nation, let alone equity. Which should be the ultimate goal to rectify the transgressions both conservatives and neoliberals committed against us.
A neoliberal like Hillary Clinton, who has been incriminated with all of the above, will never work to truly make this nation more progressive no matter how many times she changes her stance for our support. She campaigned for the gutting of social services, three-strike law, was opposed to gay marriage, represented Wall St. before they illegally collapsed the economy and sent us into another Great Depression (which we are still suffering from), did not want undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses in NY, and doubled down on her stance to send refugee children running away from abject poverty, gang violence, and death back to their countries as quickly as possible. I can’t fathom a decent human being, let alone Latino, support any of those things. The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton is Republican lite, and Latinos who vote for a Republican, to paraphrase John Leguizamo, are like roaches for Raid. It’s too bad he can’t see beyond the progressive façade and endorses her.
This nation is ready for a political paradigm shift. We need to swing the pendulum back to when progressive policies reigned supreme so minorities can also take advantage of the same initiatives that white folks enjoyed during the golden years of White Affirmative Action. We almost had that chance, but as soon as neoliberals took over, it was game over for us. Increased incarceration rates of Blacks and Latinos, perpetual poverty without the possibility of upward mobility (but I repeat myself), crippling student loans, deregulation of big business, destabilizing of Latin American countries, mass deportations... is the legacy of neoliberals. Tell me, do you want that on your conscience? Is that the world you want to leave your kids?
Another thing: In this country, like any other country of the world that’s been colonized by white supremacy, race and class goes hand-in-hand. You can’t divorce racism from classism. So no matter how much socially progressive neoliberals might seem to you, they still support fiscally conservative policies and initiatives that hurt people of color disproportionally. It’s incredibly baffling to see people of color and other vulnerable groups endorse and vote for neoliberals because they can’t see (or, frankly, don’t care) how classism affects their own people. It’s voting against your own interests. No different than when poor whites support Republican candidates that fool them with social issues and hit them with fiscal ones. You can’t divorce those two either. Again, they are high on image and low on substance.
Those are the facts. Let us respawn by becoming more civically engaged; electing Bernie Sanders, and putting in office more representatives like him.
By Cesar Vargas