Larry Lessig considers running for the Democratic presidential nomination

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So he does know that the president doesn’t get to just unilaterally declare something the law, right? If not, someone should tell him.


I appreciate Lessig’s goals. If I were king, I would happily implement his plan.

But presidents don’t pass laws. What makes him think Congress would do that for him?


If he were to be elected, don’t you think that would send such a resounding message to every Congress-critter that they might sit up and take note?


Can we do a kickstarter first to get him glasses that fit his face?

The pessimist in me says this guy could do 8 years and still not get the laws he wants passed.

The optimist in me says I’d vote for him - maybe - solely on the ranked voting scheme.

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No, they’d just ignore him like they did Jimmy Carter. POTUS has a microphone and little else of actual power inherent in the office. Without a party behind him, he’d be unable to do anything.

Shrub was able to do incalculable damage to the US and the world because he had the tailwind provided by 40 years of conservative political movement-building. (He lost the election anyway because he was such a weak candidate. Good thing conservatives had been stacking the Supreme Court for decades.)

Political change requires deep grassroots. It starts locally, at the town, county, state level. The architects of the modern Republican Party understood this, which is why they’ve, among other things, emphasized building the state parties over the last 50 years. Howard Dean understood this. Obama doesn’t understand it, unfortunately; he undid Dean’s work immediately on winning the nomination in 2008.


Yeah, I remember how once Obama was elected we immediately got Single Payer health insurance and removed our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president is elected (generally) by a small majority of the entire US population, plus a bunch of places that have little or no impact on Congress. Every congressperson and senator is elected, usually by a much wider margin, by a district or state that they know well and can generally rely on. Outside of being head of the party (i.e. in a position to cut funding or support, or manipulate committee positions, something a one issue candidate would never be), the president’s ability to force Congress to change votes is pretty negligible.


That’s a great system if your country wants to live decades in the past. Otherwise, there is no time like the present for making other new systems.

He’ll be a “referendum candidate”: if elected, he’ll immediately pass campaign-finance reform, then resign.

Specifically, he’ll pass the “Citizen Equality Act,” which increases access to voting, shifts to citizen-funded elections, and de-gerrymanders the Congressional districts.

That is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard from a supposed constitutional scholar, and has put an enormous dent in what used to be a very good opinion I had of the man.


We all have to live with our crazy uncles, kooky aunts, and strange parents. A single election or set of issues won’t change that.

What will change support is something grassroots GOP operatives are doing with aplomb–change the voting behavior of people one at a time. Look at their Planned Parenthood initiative.

Progressives need more of that.


I’ll happily vote for anyone who both clerked for, and still greatly respects, Justice Antonin Scalia. As he does.

The power of an issue candidate is all about the plausibility of at least fucking over a frontrunner if not winning the nomination. So let’s assume he gets elected. Then, there’s either a constitutional crisis as he refuses to sign any other legislation until Congress takes up his bill since that’s the most leverage he could bring to bear. Or, the referendum goes up in smoke as the daily responsibility of keeping the government running subsumes the issue as Congress fails to pass part or all of the program.

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You do know that Jimmy Carter had massive Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate throughout his Presidency. (Senate, 61-38; 58-41; House, 292-143; 277-158)

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Help me out here. I mean, seriously, I wasn’t born when Carter was elected, but my right-leaning gun toting libertarian father always gave him respect as a moral president, whose good intentions were gutted by congress.

Obviously, I wasn’t alive. What’s the story?

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Well, that depends on whether you believe in Executive Orders or not. The last few commanders certainly did.

Both you and tennfan should actually go to the Lessig site that is linked and watch the video. It’s actually a great idea and if it doesn’t work this time it is bound to work at some point. If you think the general populace–both red and blue–aren’t more than just a little tired of corruption then I think you haven’t been paying attention.

If elected Lessig would actually have quite a bit of power since it would be absolutely unescapable why he was in office. Congress would ignore that people’s mandate at their own risk.


Manipulative dishonesty?

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Don’t think anyone has a monopoly.

A microphone (arguably) more powerful than the rest of the branches, plus Veto power.

That alone is more power than any king or queen today.

I’m not saying that is good or bad, because I don’t know.

Yeah, plus Executive Orders!

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