Many poor people don’t bother to vote, and those ones at least are clear-headed about what’s in their best interest. Poor people are easily exploited in any number of ways, which is frustrating but difficult to blame them for. A lot of middle-class people make the mistake of believing that because they have agency in their own lives, then poor people must have agency in their lives.
The reason for the draconian neoliberal ideology
It’s relatively easy to understand modern political reality if we examine the expected future reality. By the end of the 21st century the world will only be able to support half a billion people (best case scenario, assuming the existing power structures continue). So something needs to kill 6.5 billion people between now and then. Some of that will happen “naturally”, from poor people being unable to migrate (ala the Congo or New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina) when either military or climate change devastation reaches them. But a lot of it will have to happen in some more direct way.
This is the fundamental reason for the draconian neoliberal ideology. The rulers understand that the only system they are capable of ruling is destroying the world, and that as the world dies it will support fewer and fewer people – therefore the logic is to devalue humanity because they are going to die soon anyway – and to build walls, gated communiities, and surveillance systems to maximize the security and well-being of the people who will be the last to die.
Running concurrently with this is technology as a religion – since technology has the very real possibility (not high possibility though) of allowing the rulers to live even longer, through medical science, genetic modification, and advances in colonization of other planets. It’s very difficult to see this extending the life of the species much beyond a few decades, at least if the ruling structures remain in place.
There’s a phrase to deeply consider the meaning of – “facts on the ground”. In principle this means that if the ruling structures remain in place long enough to make human catastrophe a certainty, then the ideology of the rulers will triumph – it’s difficult for ordinary people to stand against the rulers selecting which people will be left alive if the world simply can’t support additional people. In the Mad Max movies for example it’s “dog eat dog”, not because poor people had suddenly lost their morality but because the world had been made into a place where nothing more is functional.