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Larry Lessig Launches Presidential Bid to Reform Campaign Finances Then Resign

August 11, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Have a serious issue? Why not run?


The Paul Revere of campaign finance reform rides again.

Larry Lessig, the Harvard professor-turned-constitutional reformer who for years has been publicly banging his head against the corrupting ways that begging for campaign contributions corrupts candidates and bends the governing class to servicing the rich and powerful, is forming an exploratory committee to run for president.

In a three-minute YouTube video posted Monday, Lessig said that an “intervention” was needed to break American political culture’s addictive dance with rich donors, that “hack[ing] the system” was the “only way” the “death star they call D.C.,” could be destroyed and democracy restored.    

“Most Americans think the way we fund campaigns in America is crazy and corrupt,” Lessig began. “Did you know the number of relevant funders in campaigns today represents a tiny fraction of one percent of the population? The consequence of that system is a democracy that’s responsive to those funders only.”

Lessig is making a serious critique—but then turns to a novel remedy that invites ridicule—running for the White House but promising to resign after Congress enacts sweeping reforms. His video quickly puts the blame on Congress and then calls on people to help him blow up the system.

“Congress, however, has done squat little to fix this corrupt system,” he said. “They whine a bunch about it, but Congress has not voted on a proposal to change the way campaigns are funded in more than 20 years. A representative democracy is supposed to represent us, but sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it gets stuck and can’t hear us. Sometimes it needs an intervention. They’re stuck in a corrupted and unequal system. They need an intervention. And that’s why we are going to have to hack the system to intervene.” 

Then Lessig made his pitch—launching a single-issue presidential campaign based on the promise to pressure Congress to replace the current fundraising regimen with what presumably would be a system of taxpayer funded grants, which would make elected officials more responsive to average Americans.   

“Imagine someone ran for president with the single promise to remain as president …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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