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Lawrence Lessig as Referendum President?

Dr. Lawrence Lessig is considering a 2016 run as Referendum President. The idea is that, assuming Lessig won the election, his sole objective would be to pass the Citizen Equality Act, which would abolish corruption (pretty much) and restore true democracy to our country.

With that accomplished, Lessig would then resign from the presidency. The vice-president would take over as president. With corruption abolished and democracy restored, this president and the Congress would at last be free to deal effectively with the many urgent issues that concern Americans.

The Citizen Equality Act

The Citizen Equality Act aims to eradicate corruption from our political system by implementing three fundamental reforms:

  • Equal right to vote
  • Equal representation (goodbye, gerrymandering)
  • Citizen funded elections (it would also close the Revolving Door between government service and work as a lobbyist)

Lessig has long promoted the truth that corruption in our political system is the paramount problem of our country. Until corruption is fixed, our political system cannot work as it should, representing the people (not just the wealthy elite).

Lessig makes the powerful argument for a Referendum President here:

For more background, the following resources:

Larry Lessig Believes Democracy Is Screwed. So He’s Running for President to Save It. (Link)

WASHINGTON — Larry Lessig, a well-known legal theorist and political activist, is taking the plunge into electoral politics, announcing on Tuesday that he will formally explore a run for the presidency in 2016 as a Democrat. ~ Sam Stein, Hufington Post

Lessig2016

Here’s the idea we’re going to test: a Referendum President, a candidate who runs for president, making a single promise that if elected he would serve as long as it takes, but only as long as it takes, to pass fundamental reform to finally achieve citizen equality. Once that reform is passed, this president would step down, and the elected vice-president would become president to fill out his term. The candidate is the referendum. The campaign is for that referendum. ~ Lessig 2016

Finally, the big question…

Could the Referendum President Idea Really Work?

As much as I admire Dr. Lawrence Lessig, I don’t see how he could possibly be elected. It’s just too radical of an idea.

However, I do hope Lessig does run on this platform. Between him and Sanders, the mainstream media would just about be forced to report on political corruption, and other important issues. What might happen from there?

What do you think would come of a Lessig run for Referendum President? Let it out in the comments.

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About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.

8 Comments

  1. destridge

    This is such a radical idea. Make Bernie your VP and then he steps up to the presidency and carries the banner. Ultimately though this is a good debate topic but utterly devoid of any real political ‘umph’. You could have Reagan rise from the grave and sail to the District of Columbia in a wagon pulled by mystical unicorns and this would still get discredited. Lessig has great ideas and hopefully this helps propel conversations so we can move the needle towards ‘change’ in our government.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Yeah, we’ll probably never have a Ref Pres, but it’s such a creative idea! Lessig is a noble patriot.

      I think this is the most incredible election cycle ever. From RunWarrenRun, Bernie’s surge, Trump’s I-don’t-know-what, to Lessig’s Referendum President idea – this election is stranger than fiction.

      • destridge

        It is one for the history books that is for sure. I’m glad alternative methods of thinking and approaching politics are beginning to show up in our political discourse. Hopefully we as a people have had enough of being marginalized and are ready to take back our government.

  2. Jerry "Peacemaker"

    It’s hard to see how Lessig can critique Sanders for not making money in politics a high priority. Getting money out of politics is Bernie’s core message and the precise reason those attending rallies travel to be in the crowd. Could Mr. Lessig be a “Hillary shill”, and this an effort to break Sanders’ momentum? Or, perhaps Lessig is about forcing all candidates to address the issue, along with the people who ask the questions in debates. On its face the proposal seems far-fetched and not feasible. Lessig might have been more effective, instead of offering this long-shot at best, and chosen to directly challenge all candidates to promise to work toward a Constitutional amendment for overturning Citizens United. Whatever his real motivations, have to give Lessig credit for pushing and concentrating focus on the serious problem of money in politics.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      If it were possible for Lessig to win the Presidency, I’m not sure why he thinks Congress would cooperate with him. Nor do I understand why he thinks, as president, he would have the luxury to focus on only one objective. In addition, he’d probably not get better media coverage than Bernie Sanders does.

      If he runs for ‘Referendum President,’ he’ll make Bernie look like a moderate!

      And, what would happen if he changed his mind about resigning? That is, if the Citizen Equality Act were ever to be passed during his office.

      • Jerry "Peacemaker"

        “And what if he changed his mind?”… You can visualize Lessig sitting down behind the desk in the Oval Office, putting his wingtips up there while reclining into the new leather chair, Vice President Clinton asking him when he’d resign, and Lessig breaking out in an evil grin then maniacal laughter “I fooled them!… I fooled them all!!!” 🙂

  3. Rosaliene Bacchus

    This is a radical idea that would require careful consideration. Why doesn’t Dr. Lessig join forces with Bernie Sanders?

    • JoAnn Chateau

      That is a good question. I’ve noticed the anti-corruption ‘league’ is varied in how it views Bernie Sanders.

      Stamp Stampede endorses Bernie. Move to Amend maintains perfect non-partisanship. Wolf-PAC, Represent.Us and Lessig’s MayDay.Us are all rather dismissive of Bernie Sanders.

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