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Trump's victory over Clinton was sealed 40 years ago

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her husband former President Bill Clinton, pauses as she concedes the presidential election at the New Yorker Hotel on November 9, 2016 in New York City.
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her husband former President Bill Clinton, pauses as she concedes the presidential election at the New Yorker Hotel on November 9, 2016 in New York City.

In the afterglow of Donald Trump's historic presidential victory, the Democratic firing squad is already out, looking for someone to blame.

It's time to look in the mirror.

Despite being a historically weak candidate, Hillary Clinton's demise wasn't just about Hillary Clinton.

Clinton was the final lifeline to a neoliberal bubble built by the Clintons and many others—that finally popped on November 8th, 2016.

As Thomas Frank brilliantly chronicled in his book "Listen, Liberal," following Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972, the Democratic Party decided progressivism had expired.

Democratic leaders—including emerging ones like a young, charismatic Arkansas laywer named Bill Clinton—saw a fork in the road, and the path to victory was in abandoning working people.

Sure, in later years, Bill and new wife, Hillary Clinton, would talk the populist talk as they began their climb to power in Arkansas politics on the road to the White House.

But as Ronald Reagan assumed power and began America's shift to a country based on social Darwinism and "I'm gonna get mine," the Democratic Party, now led by the neoliberal, Clinton-backed Democratic Leadership Council, sat to the side—complicit.

Seizing on the loosening of regulations and laws that previously kept corporate money and excessive special interest money out of elections, the Democratic Party began catering to Wall Street, big oil, big pharmaceutical companies, and the "professional class."

"The GOP, and Donald Trump, is not the answer. Unfortunately, a cowardly and corrupt Democratic Party let millions of people think they are."

They, along with Republicans, began pushing the Wall-Street-loved, fairy-dust BS of the "new economy" and the "global economy"—also known as closing down plants across the United States, stripping millions of blue-collar workers of their jobs and dignity, all in the name of cheaper labor so multi-corporate conglomerates could soak in as much money as they want—and then send Democrats their cut in large campaign contributions.

Bill Clinton continued this trajectory, talking the populist talk as a candidate, but governing like Wall Street's best friend.

Clinton, NOT Reagan, deregulated the Telecom Industry. Clinton, NOT Reagan, repealed Glass-Steagall, the cornerstone of banking regulation for 60 years. Clinton, NOT Reagan, deregulated credit-default swamps—which was the gasoline that lit the financial crash fire. Clinton, NOT Reagan, loosened banking rules that forced them to make loans to low income neighborhoods.

And it was Clinton, NOT Reagan, who signed NAFTA, which was the largest nail in the American middle class' coffin, with the TPP potentially being the final one.

Fast forward to Barack Obama, who in 2009, entered the White House with the same historic mandate FDR did in the 1930's. President Obama became president when GDP growth in America shrunk to alarmingly similar levels to that of the Great Depression.

He won in convincing fashion, with complete control of Congress—and his first effort: a healthcare plan originally drafted out of a right-wing think tank.

Instead of surrounding himself by economic figures who represented the victims of the financial crash, the president surrounded himself by figures who were symbols of the bankers that perpetrated the fraud—Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner, Gene Sperling, Michael Froman, to name a few.

He appointed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a one-time-progressive turned bought-off-corporate Democrat, as DNC Chair.

And we all know how that turned out.

All of this brings us to Hillary Clinton, who was just the final diagnosis of long-running-fever that finally knocked the Democrats on their feet last night.

Neoliberalism.

This is NOT to excuse the Republican Party, who make no mistake—is not the party of the people or the blue-collar worker. This is not to confuse people into thinking Republicans are better than Democrats (on the margins, the Democratic Party is better as far as social issues and economic issues).

The GOP, and Donald Trump, is not the answer. Unfortunately, a cowardly and corrupt Democratic Party let millions of people think they are.

Because 40 years ago, they stopped fighting for them.

Commentary by Jordan Chariton, a political reporter for The Young Turks, reporting on the presidential campaign trail. He can be seen on TYT Politics. Before TYT, Jordan was a reporter for TheWrap and TVNewser. Follow him on Twitter @JordanChariton.

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