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Since there is so little substantive difference between them, how can the voters be blamed for selecting the candidate who they believe will vacillate the least and follow through with the greatest enthusiasm? And more importantly, how can the returns be interpreted as a shift to the right when the Democrats never offered a left alternative? For all practical purposes, both candidates ran as Republicans. Faced with this choice, the voters simply chose Ronald Reagan and his political allies. As long as they were going to get Republican policies, why not opt for truth in advertising and elect Republican candidates? The Democrats, of course, could have offered a left alternative to Reagan’s free enterprise, militaristic programs. But as they became trapped by business hostility and the weaknesses of traditional liberalism, they refused to pursue more progressive policies. Instead of moving to the left and challenging both the corporate agenda and big business prerogatives, some Democrats moved further to the right and became indistinguishable from Republicans. Still others counselled continuing along the same path as if nothing had ever gone wrong with their liberal programs. Jimmy Carter, for example, surrendered to big business early in his administration. When he first took office, he pilloried the oil companies for their obscene profits and three-martini, taxdeductible lunches. He wanted to reduce unemployment and argued that poor people and workers should not bear the brunt of the fight against inflation. However, as he pursued these policies, he discovered that business had lost confidence in him and that they had set out to sabotage his programs. Their hostility to progressive policies was reflected in the decline of the dollar, a refusal to invest, continued stagflation, world commodity speculation, and reduced domestic drilling for oil and gas. At this point, Carter could have rallied the people to his side and clamped down harder on big business. Admittedly, this would require government controls on investment, capital flows, dividends, imports, and runaway shops. It might even have required a public energy corporation that would drill for oil and gas on federal lands and eliminate the oil companies’ stranglehold over the nation’s energy supply. With the profits from this venture, he could have reduced the federal deficit, induced the Federal Reserve System to lower interest rates, and avoided cuts in social programs. But instead of mounting a direct challenge to business power, Carter backed away from his earlier, more modest proposals. When his political support began to erode, he retreated to Camp David and mistakenly blamed his failures on the selfishness of the American people. In reality, though, Jimmy Carter has only himself to blame for his political failure. He owed his 1976 victory to a relatively progressive constituency composed of blacks, Jews, Chicanos, and union members, but he abandoned them to curry favor with the business community. Because of his timidity and vacillation, neither group supported him and his defeat became a foregone conclusion. The Kennedy wing of the party must also shoulder part of the blame for the Democrats’ defeat. Although it opposed Carter’s shift to the right and argued vehemently against caving in to business pressure, it too refused to mount a direct assault on those business practices that caused the problems in the first place. For example, liberals favored full employment, but never blamed the loss of jobs on U.S. business investments in the Third World and Europe. They commiserated with laid-off auto workers, offering them extended federal benefits and protection against imports, but they rarely blamed management for refusing to produce small cars until it was nearly too late. They opposed steel mill closings in the Northeast, but they rarely mentioned that the Lykes Corporation purchased Youngstown Sheet and Tube so it could use its depreciation revenues and profits, not to modernize the plant, but to buy electronics firms for its conglomerate portfolio. In short, liberals only wanted to aid the victims of corporate practices. That was admirable. But they did not challenge the corporations’ right to create victims as a by-product of their investment and management practices. After years of following the liberals, workers perceived correctly that liberal welfare policies would neither prevent unemployment nor reform current business behavior. In addition, they knew that liberal palliatives produced large deficits and rampant inflation. Since the liberals flubbed their opportunity to provide effective cures, workers turned in desperation to Reagan, the only candidate who discussed the bankruptcy of traditional liberalism and offered alternate, albeit right wing remedies. In short, while Carter mismanaged the economy and failed to chart a consistent foreign policy, liberals tried to throw money at social problems without addressing their cause. The Republicans on the other hand recognized the Democrats’ vulnerability and exploited their weaknesses. As a result, the Democrats have lost their monopoly in Washington,