It’s Time to Talk About Lawrence Lessig

The 2016 Presidential race is already one of the most interesting in memory.  That’s thanks to Donald Trump, Hillary’s emails, and the emergence of the first self-described socialist candidate since before WW2.  But it could get even more interesting if a prominent third party candidate emerges.

Enter Lawrence Lessig.  From his piece in The Atlantic:

That makes sense—for a politician. The data show that from a politician, the message of reform isn’t effective. People don’t believe it. For a politician, the better strategy is to promise the moon—ignoring the truth that the rocket can’t get off the ground.

But I am not constrained in the way the politicians are. Westen’s data shows that. And so if you believe as I do that restoring our democracy is the most important challenge before us—the thing we must do if we’re to do anything else—then it’s time to swallow pride, and follow the data.

If the Democrats won’t take seriously a candidate with a viable, credible, and professionally managed campaign just because it includes a promise to step aside once the work is done, then fine. You win. I drop that promise.

I am running for president. I am running with the purpose of restoring this democracy. I will make that objective primary. I will do everything possible to make it happen first, by working with Congress to pass fundamental reform first.

Lessig is running as a one-issue candidate — his sole concern will be getting money out of politics.  Who could argue with that?  Well, the political establishment, for one.

The Democrats refused to allow him to take part is their debate (Lessig had declared that he would run as a Dem), citing the fact that he promised to resign the presidency once he met his goal.  He’s since retracted that promise, but something tells me the Dems have already cooked up some other reason to exclude him from their primary.

Naturally, the Right doesn’t like him, either.  He’s an intellectual with strong Leftist leanings, very open about his support for Bernie Sanders’ policies (but quick to point out that Sanders will be unable to achieve anything without extensive political reform first).

So, basically, Lessig’s one goal is to achieve the kind of reform that everyone agrees we need, but nobody likes him.  That sounds about right.

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