Referendum presidential candidate
In his announcement video, Lessig pledges to enact a package of reforms titled The Citizens Equality Act – designed to crack down on influence peddling, gerrymandering and voter suppression – and then resign the presidency once the law is passed.
Lawrence Lessig Tries To Channel Eugene McCarthyThe video begins with footage of 1968 Democratic primary challenger Eugene McCarthy. "He feared the most important moral issue of the time, the Vietnam War, was going to be invisible in that election, " says Lessig, "The one issue that no one wanted to talk about became the one issue that no one could ignore."
Lessig then asserts that the "inequality of citizenship" is today's moral issue. He tries to tie together various strands of the progressive movement under his banner: "It's why we must even say 'Black Lives Matter.' It's why Congress bends over backwards to benefit those who fund their campaigns. It's why the huge proportion of us don't waste our time voting."
As Lessig repeats Sen. Elizabeth Warren's cry that the "system is rigged, " we see images of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, the cozy Washington institution where politicians, journalists and lobbyists wine and dine together.
Lawrence Lessig Bets It All On The Citizens Equality ActLessig asks viewers to "crowdfund" his campaign. "If we hit our funding target, and the leading candidates in the Democratic primary do not commit to making this fundamental reform the first priority of their administration, then I will enter the race as a referendum candidate." He even says that if someone "better known" wanted run in his place as the referendum candidate, he would "happily step aside."
The announcement video is light on what the Citizens Equality Act would include, but Lessig is more specific in a separate video, including making Election Day a national holiday and a new public campaign financing system through "small dollar vouchers or matching funds."
The video is slicker than the usual fare from single-issue protest candidates. But perhaps that is to be expected. Lessig is a practiced presenter and multiple TED conference speaker. His mixture of speech and visuals is even known as the "Lessig Method."
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As of now:
For the Democrats, we have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
For the Republicans, we have Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul.
Rudy Guliani (Republican) and John Edwards (Democrat) just left the race a few days ago.
Who are the 2008 presidential candidates?
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