Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Margaret Susan Thompson
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
American Politics | Political Science
The following paper examines the relationship between Populism and Neoliberalism in the early 21st century in the U.S. Through the lens of a historical-structural analysis, it tests the hypothesis set forth by authors David Harvey, Dawson Barrett, and John B. Judis that the prominence of Populism in the 2016 election cycle could not be explained without the phenomenon of Neoliberalism in the U.S. To accomplish this, it examines the rise of income inequality and Neoliberal globalization and uses statistical and polling data to determine whether these variables were related to Neoliberalism and whether voters reacted to them in 2016. It further examines the issues espoused by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and looks at polling data to determine the beliefs of their supporters. By categorizing Bernie Sanders as an anti-Capitalist and Donald Trump as an anti-Globalist Populist, it sets up an empirical test to determine whether their supporters were primed for these Populist arguments. In finding that their supporters were indeed especially primed for these arguments and further finding that these rhetorical styles were linked to Neoliberalism via their opposition to the issues of income inequality and Neoliberal globalization – policy positions which are coded in this paper as anti-Neoliberal - this paper comes to the conclusion that the hypothesis that Neoliberalism provided a unique rhetorical catalyst for Populists to exploit is supported.
Mullins, Ryan, "Neoliberalism: A Populist Crisis of Conscience" (2019). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 1103.
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