Lessig raised $1M for his amazing, unprecedented presidential bid, where he promises that, if he wins, he'll immediately pass campaign finance reform and then resign, handing over the presidency to his running-mate.
Lessig is promising to do what every reform candidate, from Clinton to Sanders, has pledged: remaking American politics so that politicians are beholden to voters, not big money. But unlike those other candidates, he has a program for actually accomplishing this.
Even though Lessig is polling higher, and raising more money, than many of the candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination, the Democractic Party machine has sidelined him throughout, and will not even discuss putting him into the upcoming debates.
This is especially urgent now, because Joe Biden is likely to enter the race soon, and will likely take the field when he does. Biden is an IP extremist who has architected many of the worst Internet censorship and surveillance initiatives in American legislative history in his bid to keep his Hollywood friends happy. Letting Biden onto stage without someone who gets the Internet there to counterbalance him would continue the Democratic Party's tradition of destroying the Internet to keep its entertainment industry donors happy — remember, it was the Clinton administration that gave us the DMCA.
Sanders has promoted open debate and inclusion of all points of view — will he take a position on Lessig being admitted to the debates?
The policies that these politicians are pushing are fantasies. Not because, as the Wall Street Journal might argue, we can't afford them. Of course we can afford them. If we can afford a trillion dollar war that has only made America less safe, we can afford a real social security system, or a health care system that doesn't sell out to pharmaceutical companies.
The reason these policies are fantasies is because of the corruption that we have allowed to evolve inside Washington, D.C. One NASA scientist, Jim Hansen, has written that the biggest obstacle to climate change legislation is money in politics. That's certainly true, but it's not just true about climate change. Every important issue that Washington faces is affected by this corruption. And what America needs right now is candidates willing to explain this truth, to describe a plan to fix it, and to commit to fixing it not someday, but on Day One.
A "democracy" in which 400 families give 50 percent of the money in campaigns is not American democracy. It is a banana republic democracy. A "democracy" in which candidates for Congress spend 30 percent to 70 percent of their time raising money from the tiniest fraction of the 1 percent is not a democracy that could be responsive to the people. It is a democracy that will be responsive to those funders only. What America needs right now is to recognize—all of America, not just the Democrats—that until we fix this democracy, none of the urgent and important policies pushed by these politicians is possible.
I'm Trying to Run for President, but the Democrats Won't Let Me [Lawrence Lessig/Politico]