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Former Congressman Jim Leach: Citizens United "Doing Enormous Damage" to America's Political Process

Clare Roth
Iowa Public Radio
Jim Leach and River to River host Ben Kieffer

Former Congressman Jim Leach pointed to Citizens United, and the equation of money to free speech, as a key catalyst for much of the electorate's dissatisfaction with the system.

"It is doing enormous damage to the American political process and it's moving us in an oligarchic corporatist direction when we should be moving to a more democratic direction. And by 'more democratic,' I don't mean anything related to a party--I mean, we need to have a system in which the average American knows they play a part. And today, we have a system in which many Americans feel they're being manipulated."

He says the disgust with politics expressed by supporters of Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump is rooted in something real.

"Rigged is an over-exaggerated term, but there are elements that are valid. And, unfortunately, Iowa is a problem in this."

He points to, among other things, the public nature of voting in the Democratic Party's caucus process as a source of that umbrage. 

In this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Leach about how this election fits into the precedent of former elections.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River