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How to end crony capitalism

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

There you have it, folks. Big money is buying giant tax cuts, allowing Russia to interfere in future elections, and killing Americans. And that's just the tip of the corrupt iceberg that's sinking our democracy.

Republicans may be taking more big money, but both parties have been raking it in.

Average Americans know exactly what's going on.

I just returned from several days in Kentucky and Tennessee, two states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

A number of Trump voters told me they voted for him because they wanted someone who'd shake up Washington, drain the swamp and get rid of crony capitalism. They saw Hillary Clinton as part of the problem.

These people aren't white nationalists. They're decent folks who just want a government that's not of, by and for the moneyed interests.

Many are now suffering buyer's remorse. They recognize that Trump has sold his administration to corporate lobbyists and Wall Street. "He conned us," was the most polite response I heard.

The big money that's taken over American politics in recent years has created the biggest political backlash in postwar American history -- inside both parties.

It's splitting the Republican Party between its large corporate patrons and a base that detests big corporations and Wall Street.

Trump is trying to straddle both sides by pretending he's a champion of the working class while pushing for giant tax cuts. But if my free-floating focus group in Kentucky and Tennessee is any indication, the base is starting to see through it.

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