Lessig quits presidential race to spend more time with his idiotic ideas

Like running as an independent

Law professor Lawrence Lessig has quit the US presidential race.

The author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and the driving force behind Creative Commons announced the decision on Monday, after it became clear he wouldn't make it into the second Democratic candidate debate.

In a video explaining the decision, Lessig complained in some detail about how the Democratic party had changed the rules to exclude him from the debate, although he also admits it was unlikely he was going to reach the one percent voter support level necessary to get a podium spot anyway.

Without the debates, even Lessig realized his idea was an enormous waste of everyone's time. "From the start, it was clear that getting into the Democratic debate was the essential step ... Our only chance to make this issue central was to be in those debates," he whined at the camera.

Lessig has been standing on an unusual and some might say mildly ludicrous platform. He put himself forward as a single-issue candidate with the sole goal of enacting campaign reform: automatic voter registration, a redrawing of political districts, and one-per-citizen campaign funding vouchers for future congressional and presidential election campaigns.

Youtube Video

If made president, Lessig said he would stay in the post just long enough to pass a new law and would then quit to let his running mate take over as president: an idea so bad that he was almost immediately forced to abandon it.

Using his niche celebrity status, Lessig managed to raise $1m to run a campaign that ironically was all about taking the money out of US politics. And he got a fair share of press, although much of it ended up focused on the fact that the campaign was going nowhere, and why would a highly respected Harvard law professor take leave of his senses.

As to why the Democratic Party decided to change its rules to make sure that Lessig didn't appear on its platform – a clue can be found in his video.

"Until we end the corruption that has crippled Congress none of the other issues can be addressed," he noted, repeatedly noting that Congress was "crippled and corrupted."

It's a fair bet that a president who has built his campaign around calling his legislators crippled and corrupt is not going to make much actual leeway when in office. And the political establishment is not keen on promoting people determined to undermine it.

But political realities are not Lessig's strong suit: in 2014, a $10m Super PAC he set up as a way to get campaign-reform candidates into US Congress did little but throw another $10m onto the election bonfire.

"No doubt a better candidate could have gone further," he said in a moment of self-doubt before recovering and assuring viewers that he was now "more optimistic than ever that we can win this fight."

As to what to do with the leftover money, Lessig's team has hinted he will stand as an independent. ®


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