Lawrence Lessig 2016 Lawrence Lessig 2016? Chris Hayes talks to Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor, who today announced an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic ...
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As you may have heard, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig will decide to make a presidential bid for the Democratic nomination if he receives $1 million in donations by Labor Day.
I don't know if Lessig's presidential bid will come off-supposedly he'd resign one day after being elected after enacting a single bill which he calls the "Citizen Equality Act" that has three objectives: "equal right to vote (through automatic registration and moving voting to a national holiday), equal representation (by ending gerrymandering), and citizen funded elections (by giving every voter a voucher to contribute to a campaign)."
As Lessig puts it, "the system, by outsourcing funding of campaigns to the tiniest fraction of America, is vulnerable to the instability of that concentration. So that is a corruption of the basic equality of a representative democracy and it makes it so our government can't do anything". I'd also add what that government does do is make sure the laws and regulations enacted along with oversight and enforcement go to the benefit of that "tiniest fraction of America" and not the interests of the people.
The thing is most people in America know the electoral system is broken, corrupt and dominated by big money-even if they never heard of "Citizens United v/s F.E.C., the January 2010 landmark decision by the Supreme Court that essentially gave corporations 1st Amendment rights equal to people which opened the floodgates for corporate and billionaire largesse to completely corrupt the electoral process. Since then there's been an ongoing effort to overturn "Citizens United" with a constitutional amendment but that's a long term process which Lessig even admits is not going to happen anytime soon; thus his unorthodox attempt to run for president and have his vice president become president the day after his single bill is enacted.
My first reaction to Lessig's idea was it's a quirky, a stunt. Even though I agree completely with his aim I can't get past it being that way.
And if my sense is correct, the American people will also see it as a stunt and won't buy into it even though they know the system is rigged and broken.
It feels "magical". And besides, the idea anti-intellectual American's electing some pointy headed intellectual just ain't gonna happen.
In a way it's all too bad. The electoral system as now constituted is irredeemable.
Consider, even in the unlikely event Bernie Sanders gets the Democratic nod and wins the election what could he be able to do with a congress beholden to the big money underwriters of their campaigns? His only option to achieve anything would be a direct appeal to the people, use the bully pulpit to get the people aroused to force their representatives to act in behalf of the people.
Then Lawrence Lessig's idea's could see the light of day.
It's all such a stretch considering the $billions-the latest has $15billion-that will inundate this next presidential campaign with only the "Donald" using his own funds. Even he highlighted in the Repubs. first debate how the system was broken saying when he gave money to a politico he expected that office holder to give him what he wanted.
But if anyone believes if the "Donald" wins the Repubs. nomination and then the presidency he'll push for campaign finance reform, that's pure magical thinking.
The "brash one" is a self important grandstander just as reactionary as the other buffoons he's up against for the Repub. nomination. They're all representative of America's descent into a political spectacle masquerading as a presidential campaign.
Then there's Hillary now supporting campaign finance reform while she rakes in the big dough. How's that for duplicity.