Democratic machine won't let Larry Lessig into the debates; will Sanders stand up for him?

A cool million? The Rent is Too Damn High guy could raise a million. If we let every yahoo into the debate, we’ll end up looking like Republicans.


By that standard… what, anyone who can put together a million on indiegogo and a left leaning agenda gets to debate as a Dem because it would be wrong to preemptively single them out for exclusion? That
s a paltry sum in modern American politics, for the very reasons he wants to reform campaign finance. I believe he set it that low because he knew he could meet that barrier already.

Let him in and someone will put together a gag pokemon themed candidacy or something and then you’ve got to let them in because you said it’s wrong to disqualify them preemptively based on their positions or qualifications. Keep him off the stage. We shouldn’t have our time wasted with fundamentally unserious candidates.

I like Lessig. I like a lot of what he stands for. I don’t like that he’s launched a campaign where he is not even intending to be a serious candidate. I don’t like that he went on Reddit and had no answers for serious questions about how he would handle non-finance reform stuff coming up while in office. He just punted on the question, said he admitted it was a serious problem that he couldn’t answer. I don’t like that he slags Bernie Sanders for holding essentially the same beliefs and goals but not being monomaniacal about campaign finance reform. What would Lessig tell BLM people? The monomania of his campaign is functionally telling them to fuck off and that they aren’t important.

Governing any nation state larger than the Vatican means being able to address more than one issue at a time. Lessig wants to pretend it doesn’t. He’s probably telling himself it’s to shift discussion toward campaign finance reform, but all he’s really doing is getting people to say his name while diverting attention from Sanders.

Can I get @Cowicide in here to say Lessig is a Clinton plant?


I’d say he understands it just fine; he’s simply fucking with it to no appreciable purpose at the moment.

He’s pretending he doesn’t understand why anybody, including people who agree with him, would have a problem with him fucking with the actual nomination process. He does, in fact, understand, but what he’s doing requires him to pretend he doesn’t as part of the act.

If he were the only person pretending he doesn’t understand basic facts, there might be a case to be made for it, but unfortunately cynical, feigned ignorance is all too common already in politics.

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Less Lessig, more Bern.


I actually don’t get this Biden lust at all. I like him well enough, but this odd desperation I don’t get. Do dems really dislike Hillary that much? Biden’s cool and all, but what actually makes him someone people desperately want to be president?

I think more likely its being drummed up by the media, more candidates and more controversy give them more material and the more campaigns there are the more ads they buy. They have every incentive to enhance “horse-race” political coverage. They want campaigns to be uneasy so they will buy more ads.



there has been a media hatred, especially among the washington media, for the clintons since before david broder’s famous remark about bill-- “he came in here and he trashed this place. and it’s not his place.” when david “both sides do it” broder came out and said something like that he was speaking for the entire company town that is washington. add the clinton-hatred to the tendency for political reporters to want a “horse race” narrative and you have the roots of the biden lust.

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If true, then he is wasting everyone’s time. If not, then he is essentially incompetent for the Oval Office.

But if Democrats won’t have him, perhaps there are other parties who may find his pretensions entertaining.


But it ain’t. The requirements are actually much different:

Here’s how you make the debates: After one declares, a candidate is formally welcomed into the race by the Democratic National Committee. Polling firms, taking a cue from the DNC, include that candidate on their questionnaires. Candidates that poll at 1 percent nationally in at least three separate polls earn an invitation. Simple enough.

That’s how the process typically works for other candidacies—but not for mine. The DNC still has not formally welcomed me into the race—despite my raising money at a faster pace than more than half the pack, and being in the race nearly a full month. Polls, in turn, have taken the hint, only including me sporadically on questionnaires: of the last 10 major polls, only three mentioned my candidacy. One poll recently put me at 1 percent (for comparison, candidates O’Malley, Webb and Chafee, who will each get a podium at the debates, are all currently polling at 0.7 percent or less, according to Real Clear Politcs). Were I actually included on every poll, I would easily make the debates.

Read more (or maybe just the first time for many commentors): Lawrence Lessig: I’m Trying to Run for President, but the Democrats Won’t Let Me - POLITICO Magazine

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Lessig is trolling the primaries with his asinine pledge to pass campaign reform (because of a heretofore undisclosed ability to hypnotically dominate Republican members of Congress, I suppose), to blow off all the rest of the issues facing the country or that might emerge, and then to resign in favor of Someone Or Other.

Oh, and he’s polling about 12. Not about 12 percent; about 12 voters. Fnck him, and fnck your silly demand that he get into the debates. Any other prank, stunt, or troll candidates you want in there? And that you think Bernie needs to stand up for?


I suspect Biden is playing Fortinbras, biding his time until Clinton and Sanders slay each other and he can pick up the pieces.

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This is sort of true. If Lessig’s name were added to the three, four, or five currently being polled there’s an excellent chance Lessig would clear the 1% bar and make the debates. But if you added not only Lessig but also a half-dozen names you made up, Lessig probably wouldn’t clear that bar. This is because almost no-one has heard of Lessig - and even of those familiar with him, considerably fewer support his trolling of the primary.


I think everyone (certainly myself included) feels very sorry for him right now. He’s been through a lot of tough times, and removed from the political arena (i.e. Vice President to a real President) he’s a mostly decent guy. But his politics are utterly crummy: the old saw is Joe Biden, D-MBNA.

It may be that Beltway Democratic consultant/cocktail party goers are peeing their pants over Hilary losing to Bernie, and I’m sure they were always unhappy with running a woman, and a popularity-bumped Biden probably seems like a dream come true to them.

Lawrence Lessig makes the case for publicly funded elections as a way of ending the culture of corruption / gift economy that pervades our election system. Lawmakers hold the budgetary purse strings and yet they are beholden to political fundraising from non-constituents. read: LOBBYISTS and PACS pay for political campaigns.

Lessig refers to this as dependence corruption, where the lawmakers are dependent on someone other than We the People. This dependence redirects their attention and focus. Things that matter to constituents go ignored and unaddressed. In short, they no longer represent the people who elected them; they represent the entities that paid for their (re-)election campaigns.

Your Congressional representatives spend anywhere from 30% to 70% of their time pursuing the campaign contributions for their political party or so they can mount a reelection campaign. They no longer have nearly enough time to deliberate or even read the bills that come before them. They are dependent on their staffers AT BEST or are just shoveled talking points AT WORST.

The amount of our federal budget which goes into lobbied-for corporate welfare is staggering. The cost of publicly funding elections is a pittance by comparison. Whether you are a budget hawk, a small government advocate, or just care about our Republic, the changes Lessig recommends are no-brainers.

If you take the time to hear him out, Lessig lays out, in painful detail, the case for publicly funded elections.
This is a complicated issue and you can count on the entrenched interests fighting it every step of the way. That is why the solution to campaign finance reform most likely lies outside of Congress. The most direct path to this reform is a referendum presidential candidate. Having studied this issue for years and written on it extensively, Lawrence Lessig offers up himself as that candidate.

for anyone NOT here defending the status quo:

  1. If you want to understand just how fucked up things are in Congress, dedicate a few minutes to at least hearing out why Lessig is willing to run as a single-issue referendum candidate.

There’s the 1 hour @Google talk: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It or a 48 minute version given a Berkeley on the same day:

and of course the book:

  1. I’m now pledging $50 PER MONTH to both the Lawrence Lessig and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns and hope that we see more than a capitulated Hillary Clinton coronation come January 2017
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A Sanders/Lessig ticket would be the best thing the Dems can offer in this race right now. But only if Lessig is willing to serve a full term as VP and be the voice of reason.

I agree that single-issue candidates, but IP has become one if not these most central issues to democracy, and it’s importance will only continue to grow. We need candidates on the ticket that aren’t going to sell the modern avenues of free speech to Big Telco and the elites that use it to manipulate public discourse. Clinton or Biden would be a disaster for the nation, the Democratic Party and center-left that’s all that remains of liberalism in American national politics. They’re neither conservatives nor liberals; they’re careerist politicians working for the ultra-wealthy.

  1. Not really.*
  2. He’s not even running on that single issue.
  • to be sure, it matters a lot to me.

Honestly, if they don’t want him in debates because he has nothing to debate it makes sense to me. When a question comes on foreign policy, on taxation, on for profit prisons, on health care, what is he going to say? If they have a debate on campaign finance reform or on whether it is productive to resign the presidency shortly after winning it then it would make sense to have him there.

  1. Disagree.
  2. Without the free marketplace of ideas, there is no democracy. I believe (and maybe I’m being naive) that Sanders understands this quite well. Regardless, I don’t believe he’ll be the corporate puppet Clinton or Biden already are. Lessig as his veep would provide a (politically astute) voice of reason to advise him on IP and tech issues like net neutrality and copyright. Lessig may want to run for POTUS on a single issue. But the difference between a statesman and a mere politician is serving the body politic in the role to which your called by the people, not your own personal hobby horse. I want him to commit himself to the general weal of the republic. If he won’t do that, if he insists on this finance-reform-only campaign that cannot get him elected and therefore will only divert votes from Sanders to Clinton, then he needn’t bother. But if he and Sanders can run together, he can be a true public servant and not a sideshow.
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I could be wrong, maybe he thinks he actually has a chance at winning despite promising to drop the mike and walk off-stage the minute he pushes through reform. But I don’t think Lessig is that stupid. My guess is that, like a lot of reform candidates before him, he sees this is a way to focus attention on the one issue he regards as most central to all others. And, as with Nader in 2000, it won’t pan out well for anyone but the opposition. That said, like Nader, Lessig has a lot to offer that the Dems badly need if he’s willing to serve instead of showboat.

On point two you start out arguing against @Ratel and then either appear to reverse yourself and agree with him, or talk yourself out of a solid position on it. Are you confident that he’s running on more than just campaign finance reform or do you just hope he won’t?

I don’t think many of the people in this thread arguing against Lessig’s candidacy think his ideas about how fucked up campaign funding are. They mostly agree with him. Those first three paragraphs of your post? He’s not wrong and most of the people posting here are probably nodding along. I know I am.

The thing is, this candidacy is not the way to get things fixed. First off, declaring it a referendum candidacy only has a benefit if he actually thinks he can win. The idea being that if you win, the other side can’t claim you don’t have a mandate to fix issue x because that was the one goddamn thing you ran on. (Not that this would stop the Republican Party, see, their response to the 2008 election) But we know and he knows that he can’t actually win either the primary or the general. So the traditional way to deal with that is run as a full spectrum candidate and try to shift the conversation as you go. That way people take you seriously as a candidate and you can get your message out. I think that was what Sanders was trying to do, pull Clinton to the left, until it turned out he actually had a chance and now he’s going all out because he was prepared to actually win this thing. Lessig can’t do that.

Lessig had several ideas for reforming campaign finance, and he laid them out in Republic, Lost, articles, speeches, etc. Now he’s running as a referendum candidate. You say that the reforms he advocates are no-brainers. I agree. But his referendum candidacy is not a no-brainer. It is a candidacy built on a foundation of unicorn farts (his ideas about how the campaign, not the ideas about finance reform) that is doomed to fail. You are giving $50 a month to both Lessig and Sanders? Great. You’re wasting half of that money. You’d be better off giving all of it to Sanders, who fundamentally agrees with Lessig, but doesn’t stoke Lessig’s ego, because he is not Lessig.

And I say this as a person who wants Sanders to win, but is worried that people won’t be able to get past the word socialist in the general election. Give your money to Sanders. He’s simply a better bet than Lessig.