Who’s Afraid of Larry Lessig?

By James Kwak

Larry Lessig is running for the Democratic presidential nomination on a single issue — political equality — and a promise to resign as soon as Congress passes a bill that would help level the electoral playing field, end partisan gerrymandering, make it easier for working people to vote, and reduce the power of money in politics. As I’ve said before, he has my vote(and my money).

The funny thing is, the Democratic establishment seems intent on making Lessig’s point for him by keeping him out of the upcoming debates. To participate in the first debate, candidates have to get at least 1% support in three national polls. Lessig so far has only been included in one qualifying poll — in which he got 1% — but not in any subsequent ones. It’s not entirely clear why, but one factor is that the Democratic National Committee has not officially welcomed him to the race — and the DNC certainly isn’t lifting a finger to help him.

Nor, for that matter, are Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Clinton and the DNC presumably don’t want anything that could upset her coronation. Sanders is probably afraid that Lessig could split the not-another-Clinton vote and the not-another-moderate-Republican vote, both of which are his at the moment. As far as I can tell, neither Clinton nor Sanders has mentioned Lessig, let alone said that he should be included in the national polls.

There’s a petition you can sign if you want Lessig to be allowed to qualify for the debates. But for now, it’s money that talks. And Hillary Clinton’s campaign just invited me to a fundraising event in Western Massachusetts.

So here’s my pledge:

I will not donate any money to any Democratic presidential nominee (or his or her “unaffiliated” Super PAC) in this election cycle, either in the primary or the general election, who does not publicly state that Larry Lessig should be given a fair chance at qualifying for the Democratic debates.

In addition, I will not donate any money to the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC, or any of their “unaffiliated” Super PACS this election cycle unless the DNC treats Larry Lessig on an equal footing with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, etc.

Because, at the end of the day, there are only two things that matter. And Hillary Clinton being president is not one of them.

Also posted at Medium.

10 responses to “Who’s Afraid of Larry Lessig?

  1. Kudos to you James for taking the hard stand on this issue, I have no desire or time for politics, yet I applaud your drive in the matter, another example of the minority MAKING a difference.

  2. James, I think the world of Larry Lessig & I gladly support his efforts but I also think the world of Bernie Sanders & I do not wish to dilute his chances. What’s your recommendation? BTW, I do not think the world of Hillary Clinton or Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Carl Newman (cnew4342@gmail.com)

  3. What really matters

    This article is so wrong headed, from an analyst that is usually spot on o wonder what’s really going on here. Clinton and Saunders have already staked out their positions supporting this very campaign reform. Lessing has absolutely zero chance of winning the nomination. Therefore votes and contributions to him just subtract and divide campaign contributions and votes. You want us to elect some unknown single issue candidate pledging to resign?? And you critise candidates for not supporting their competition? We’re you drunk when you wrote this?

    Look, I’m with you on getting big money out of politics. Most of us are. But lobbying us to support a nobody that has zero chance for a noble cause is counter productive. You of all people should know better. Keep this damaging advice up and you will lose this and probably many other readers.

    I suggest you focus on the possible, and stop looking for flaws with a microscope in very good candidates instead of trying to suck their political oxygen and helping those crazy (in some cases literally) republicans get elected.

    We expect better. Do better than this crap.

  4. If you believe Hillary is a so called good candidate, you need to have your head examined, she is everything that is wrong with this country and world politics. It’s been proved already so don’t even ask me to explain for you will then be in denial and running out of time with your denial. Mr. Matters.

  5. This is just profoundly stupid — as is Anonymouse, unless, of course, which is likely, he/she is a Republican plant trying to discourage the Democratic-leaning turnout while pretending to be coming at her from the left. The overwhelming need is to devote the next 10 years getting every Republican possible out of office. It doesn’t matter if the candidate is a “DINO,” because even a DINO will vote to increase the minimum wage, to employ hundreds of thousands in re-building and modernizing infrastructure, and to introduce many other demand-generating and fairness-oriented programs that absolutely no Republican — not a single one — will support. Clinton is the strong favorite to be the Democratic candidate. Success by Democrats requires strong turnout. Threatening to withhold votes because of sophomoric pique at a record that like anyone else’s is less-than-perfect is a pro-Republican move. You can deny it or ridicule it all you want, but there’s no avoiding it.

  6. I guess that all depends on your definition of getting out of office, today’s politics are doomed as are the humans that pursue it, your missing the bigger picture in pursuit of some personal ideology which can never succeed. And are we STILL voting? Politics has gone beyond fairness and the consequences of doing so are all that needs to be paid, left or right, there is no avoiding that. We are in a perpetual election cycle which needs to end before this next election, and will, trust me.

    Lets drug test these candidates, I mean who needs people who are beholden to their drug dealers, lets have our representatives do their own taxes, who needs people who have to rely on others to do their taxes, lets get rid of the delegate system, it’s time has past, nobody is voting twice. Lets get rid of some things before we add more junk and expense to politics. I could go on and on but that would get sophomoric, troubling and boring, huh Mr. legend.

  7. @anon, “…We are in a perpetual election cycle which needs to end before this next election, and will, trust me….”

    Bat sht crazy to the very end….guess those rumors about there not being another presidential national election because of a despicable and depraved man-made manufacturing of a “religious” “end times” are true….

    There’s the Global War, Drug, and Slave Lord answer to the question asked at the UN this week, “…do you NOW know what you have done…?”

    Uh, nope.

  8. Blackeyebart

    Well now, setting aside the abuse, which is insufficiently funny to be tolerable, I agree with Anonymous. This is a very bad idea. If you support campaign finance reform you need to support the best option so far this year, which I am sure is Sanders.
    He may not be successful himself but he has already shown that ordinary people can make a difference with small donations. I do not know Legend, but he is not yet a legend for the right reasons. I wish him well. But I will not vote vote for him this year or next. Reform takes common sense as well as courage.
    Oh and don’t forget to send Sanders a donation. It may just change the world.