Lawrence Lessig's Presidential Bid

August 12, 2015

Lawrence Lessig is a law professor at Harvard University, a prominent advocate for open-access technology and government reform, and director of the university's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. He's also considering an unusual campaign for the U.S. presidency.

"I will run to be a referendum president if two conditions are met: if we hit our fund-raising target by Labor Day and the leading candidates in the Democratic primary fail to make citizen equality the first priority of their administration," Lessig said on his exploratory committee website. "The key challenge now is making the fund-raising goal. That’s up to you and people like you. If we can raise $1 million for this campaign by Labor Day, then I will run with every ounce of my being."

His candidacy would be of the single-issue variety, and how. Lessig said he would represent a single referendum in his run: to reform the political process. As a candidate and president, he said he would push the U.S. Congress to reduce the influence of money in politics, to eliminate gerrymandering and to prevent roadblocks for people to vote. After that legislation is passed, Lessig said he would resign as president.

"The best presidents are collaborators. They work with Congress as partners over long periods of time. I don’t want to collaborate with these people, and I don’t want to be their partners. I want to force them to act on this issue and then get the hell out of the White House," he said. "This reform needs someone willing to burn as well as build bridges, if need be. I’m running to be that SOB."

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