Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig Launches Quixotic Presidential Bid
Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig is officially a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President:
After exceeding his $1 million crowd-funding goal, Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessigannounced today on “This Week” that he is running for president.
“I think I’m running to get people to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We have to recognize — we have a government that does not work. The stalemate, partisan platform of American politics in Washington right now doesn’t work.”
If elected, he says he will be the first “referendum president,” promising to serve only as long as it takes to pass his Citizens Equality Act of 2017 — a bill aimed at reforming campaign finance,voting rights, and Congressional refpresentation. Once the bill is passed, Lessig said he would then step down, handing over the reins to his vice president.
Lessig announced his interest in possibly running for President about a month ago, and he apparently convinced enough people to donate to his campaign to meet his goal. Even with that, though, it’s likely that he won’t make much of an impact on the Democratic race. For one thing, the issues he’s talking about are ones that are pretty universally held by all the Democratic candidates, so there’s really nothing that distinguishes him from the other candidates other than his complete lack of political experience. Additionally, it’s entirely unclear if he will even qualify for the upcoming Democratic debates. The criteria for the Democratic debates have not been set as of yet, although Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has said that there will be some kind of “threshold” that candidates will have to meet to receive an invitation. Since Lessig is essentially a non-entity in the polls in which he has been included, it’s probable that he may not even meet that threshold. However, the fact that there are only six Democratic candidates at the moment, and that there have already been complaints about a debate schedule that many see as designed to protect Hillary Clinton may mean that it will be difficult for the DNC to exclude him or other low-polling candidates such as former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.