Larry Lessig may be the least politically astute person I’ve ever met. I don’t mean that as an insult; he simply doesn’t live on the same planet as the rest of us. What’s worse, he has no sense of how actual politics work (which is why he handed over his MaydayPAC to Zephyr Teachout, who is very good at it). So I’m scratching my head and trying to figure out why he’s pursuing this pointless kamikaze mission:
Some people land gyrocopters on the lawn at the Capitol to protest big money in politics. Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard professor and democratic theorist, is thinking of running for president.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Lessig will announce that he will explore a protest bid for the Democratic nomination. If he can raise $1 million in small donations by Labor Day, Mr. Lessig said, he will run.
The effort follows years of more conventional activism, including New Hampshire protest marches that gave Mr. Lessig a following in liberal circles and a super PAC that in 2014 tried (and mostly failed) to elect Democratic and Republican candidates who would back efforts to empower small donors in politics.
[…] “The reason I’ve been driven to this is the constant ’emperor wears no clothes’ feeling about this election,” said Mr. Lessig, who will also campaign against gerrymandering and restrictive voting laws. “We need a plan for unrigging the system first, and none of them have given us that plan.”
He added: “You want to rail against Wall Street, as O’Malley does or Bernie Sanders does? Great” But, he continued, “unless you fix the way we fund campaigns, we’re not going to take on the largest funder of congressional campaigns in America.”
Mr. Lessig said if he could raise enough money, he would campaign “24 hours a day” for the Democratic nomination. He also said there were “a hundred successes short of” winning the White House.
“Eugene McCarthy didn’t win, but he certainly made the Vietnam War an issue, brought down a president,” Mr. Lessig said, referring to the then senator’s 1968 primary campaign against President Lyndon B. Johnson, which helped persuade Mr. Johnson not to seek re-election.
Reminded that the 1968 election ended with the election of a Republican, Richard Nixon, Mr. Lessig added: “Of course, the wrong president won in 1968.”