I’ve Already Forgotten About Lessig’s Campaign

Lawrence LessigI am a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders. But it isn’t without some reservations. If I were an ideologue, I wouldn’t be a Democrat. I am very much in favor of strategic voting. So I have some concern as to whether Sanders acceptance of the “scary” socialist label wouldn’t be enough to destroy his chances in the general election. But in general, I don’t think so. I think “socialism” is a bad word primarily to people who would never vote for a Democrat. For most people, “socialism” means Sweden, not communist China. And Sanders’ policies are so popular, that I think the attacks wouldn’t stick.

But when I heard that Lawrence Lessig was thinking about running for president as a Democrat, I thought it was odd. I’m a big fan of his. Just the same, I have a problem with people who have no political experience running for president. It just isn’t what we as Democrats are. Above all, Democrats are competent. Governing is a question of skills. The Republicans may think that all a candidate needs is the right ideology, but the results of that can be seen in the House of Representatives right now. What does Lessig think he is adding to the debate? Is it really important enough to take time and attention away from candidates who are actually qualified to run for president?

The question defies a simple answer. Lessig is pushing the Citizens Equality Act of 2017. He says that he would serve as president only until it was passed into law. It has three parts to it: first, it would assure the equal freedom to vote (make elections a national holiday); second, it would assure equal representation in Congress (eliminate gerrymandering); and third, it would secure citizen funded elections. I don’t think any liberal would have a problem with this. And as Lessig indicates in the following video, it really isn’t partisan. Except that it is because conservatives know that in a fair fight, they lose, because their ideas are bad.

I guess Lessig is trying to push against the argument that I’ve made that he doesn’t have the experience to lead the country, by saying that he will resign after the law is passed. But that doesn’t really fly for a couple of reasons. First, it requires not only that he be elected, but that a Congress be elected that would agree with the Citizens Equality Act. That’s certainly not going to happen. What’s more, Lessig would be running as a Democrat. At least a third of the country is going to vote against him just because of that. On this level, his candidacy doesn’t make sense.

But as pretty much everyone is saying, the bigger problem is that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley are all in favor of the plan. So what’s going to happen? We’re going to have a debate where Lessig says, “Citizens Equality Act!” And the other candidates say, “Sure!” Lessig himself says that he knows other candidates care about the issue, but that they don’t have a plan for getting the policy passed. But neither does Lessig given that there is no way in hell he is ever going win the nomination, much less the general election.

As a Sanders supporter, I don’t understand why Lessig doesn’t just help Sanders’ campaign. In his work, he could highlight Sanders’ support for electoral reform. He could also push Sanders even further to the left on the issue. That seems like a much better use of his resources. But I’m open minded. If Lessig starts attracting thousands of people to his events, or starts getting a couple percent in polling preferences, I’ll give him a look. As for now, I’ll forget all about this ever having happened. But maybe I’ll read Republic, Lost again.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “I’ve Already Forgotten About Lessig’s Campaign

  1. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets the requirements to hold office. A president must:

    be a natural-born citizen of the United States;[note 1]
    be at least thirty-five years old;
    have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
    A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of president under any of the following conditions:

    Under the Twenty-second Amendment, no person can be elected president more than twice. The amendment also specifies that if any eligible person serves as president or acting president for more than two years of a term for which some other eligible person was elected president, the former can only be elected president once. Scholars disagree whether anyone no longer eligible to be elected president could be elected vice president, pursuant to the qualifications set out under the Twelfth Amendment.[69]
    Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 7, upon conviction in impeachment cases, the Senate has the option of disqualifying convicted individuals from holding other federal offices, including the presidency.[70]
    Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no person who swore an oath to support the Constitution, and later rebelled against the United States, can become president. However, this disqualification can be lifted by a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress.

    Lessig is a Law Professor… maybe he is over qualified to be president!

    And your candidate may became his VP or better said a #2x1Presidency!

    • I really did forget all about him! I had to go back and read the article. I’m not suggesting that Lessig doesn’t have a legal right to vote. I think my argument is pretty simple: I like Bernie Sanders. I don’t like Lessig enough to jump ship. So if Lessig wants my vote, he better start attracting some attention. If he does, I will give him serious thought. As it is, I’ve already given him money by buying two of his books…

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