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Lessig Isn’t More

One of of the strangest things to come out of the 2016 race for President has been the fact that Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig is going to be part of it.

Lessig’s most famous in the real of technology, particularly as it relates to trademarks, copyrights, intellectual property, and the creation of the Creative Commons. But he has found a new voice in recent years through the creation of the Mayday PAC. That PAC, which Lessig created, is a super PAC designed to bring about radical campaign finance reform. The hypocrisy of using big money in politics to try to root out big money in politics is a source of great amusement.

Lessig is now launching upon a quixotic campaign for President where he promises that he will get elected to pass the “Citizen Equality Act” and the immediately resign from office. The Act deals with radical campaign finance reform, gerrymandering reform, and new voter protections.

What’s missing, though, is a rational explanation of a Lessig candidacy.

While I believe that Lessig is his sincere in his belief about campaign finance reform, there is no logical explanation why anybody would focus on such an issue as the defining issue of a Presidential campaign. In poll after poll, campaign finance reform is nowhere near the top of the voters lists of issues that they care about.

Campaign finance reform won’t put food on the table.

Campaign finance reform won’t get you a job.

Campaign finance reform won’t address immigration problems.

Campaign finance reform won’t protect us from terrorists.

There are any number of real, substantive issues that are facing our country that voters are actually concerned with. So why people donated $1 million to a Harvard professor is going to run a single-issue vanity campaign is beyond rational comprehension. And even if Lessig were to run, how could he possibly get his agenda through what would likely be a hostile Congress?

The real wonder about Lessig’s campaign is not about who his running mate is or what will happen if he can’t get his agenda through. Lessig won’t be the Democratic nominee, much less President. The wonder is how much Lessig’s laser-focused agenda will hurt Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. A skeptical fellow would wonder if Lessig is a kind of insurance policy for the Hillary Clinton folks against Bernmentum,

Either way, Lessig’s single-issue campaign does not add any more to the Presidential scene then we already had. And combined with the radically populist appeals of Sanders and Donald Trump right now, makes me wonder if we are in a brave new world of Presidential politics.






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