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What do Venezuela and New Hampshire have in Common?

Venezuelan Riot

The left-leaning Washington Post predicts the imminent collapse of the Venezuelan government and economy, blaming cronyism as the root of the socialist democracy's downfall. According to the Post, former President Hugo Chávez derailed the South American nation's lucrative oil industry, which funded the nation's generous social welfare programs, by replacing executives who knew how to run the business with "those who were loyal to the regime," but had little to no experience in the oil other words, cronies. 

We need look no further than New Hampshire to see the power cronies have to game the system here in the U.S. New Hampshire voters came out in history-making numbers to support Bernie Sanders, but Hillary Clinton will leave the state with at least as many, if not more, delegates. Cronyism isn't about liberalism or's about the politically-connected vs. the rest of us. It's not about electing the "true believer," be it Sanders or Cruz, depending upon which side of the aisle you sit. Nor is it about installing a "political outsider," like Trump; because once they're sworn in, they become a political insider...if they weren't one all along (see Donald Trump, Puppet Master for more on that).

Believe it or not, American capitalists didn't invent cronyism. Trading in political favors is as old as government itself. It had been going on for millennia by the time our Constitution was drafted. The Founders knew that cronyism could take root anywhere, not because they had a crystal ball, but because they had read a history book or two. Around the world and throughout history, whether the government is democratic or despotic; capitalist, communist, or socialist, there is a cabal of power brokers running the show and living a whole lot better than the people they claim to "serve." The Founders didn't want America to be like that. That's why they carefully constructed a government whose key features were accountability to the people, the separation of powers, and a system of checks and balances. In other words, a level playing field.

These safeguards have been eroded over the last century, one law, one court decision, one bureaucratic abuse at a time. Rather than checking one another, the three branches of our federal government, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, have instead turned to enabling each other in taking power away from We the People and consolidating it in Washington, D.C., where cronyism runs rampant.

Liberals and conservatives I've spoken with seem surprised to learn that the other values a level playing field just as much as they do. It's not a Democrat or Republican's an American value.

~Vickie Deppe, Illinois Legislative Liaison, Convention of States Project

This problem is bigger than one politician or party, and it won't be solved by this election. Not by electing a "Constitutional Conservative." Not by electing a "Democratic Socialist." The destructive practice of cronyism can only be stopped by taking away the goodies politicians, Republican or Democrat, have to dispense once they get into office. Americans on both sides of the aisle agree that a business should succeed because it offers a superior product or service, not because it has friends in Washington pulling regulatory and tax strings that give them an unfair advantage over their competitors. That honest people with good ideas should represent them in Washington...not the fraternity brother of a predecessor, or an incumbent whose career it built on nothing but access to power brokers and insurmountable piles of cash.

It's time to excise the cancer known as cronyism from American politics. Join us at, and use the buttons below to SHARE with your friends. 

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