Democratic Presidential Field Ripples & Shifts

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary field ripples and shifts. Notable updates:

  • Jim Webb has dropped out, although he may run as an Independent candidate.
  • Bernie Sanders loses ground to Hillary Clinton, according to Public Policy Polling.
  • Larry Lessig is nearly eligible to enter the next Democratic debate, and he abandons the ‘Referendum President’ idea – now if Lessig wins, he will finish his presidential term.

Jim Webb Exits (Link)

Jim Webb dropped out of the Democratic Primary race yesterday. He considers running as an Independent candidate, instead.

Presidential candidate Jim Webb

Click image to read Jim Webb’s October 20th statement at his presidential campaign website.

Former Virginia senator Jim Webb announced Tuesday afternoon that he would no longer pursue the Democratic presidential nomination, saying that he will instead gauge support in the coming weeks for a possible White House bid as an independent candidate.

“More people in this country call themselves political independents than Republicans or Democrats. I happen to agree with them,” Webb told reporters at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

“I am withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency,” he said. “This does not reduce in any way my concerns for the challenges facing the country … or my intentions to remain fully engaged in the debates that are facing us.”

— Jose A. Delreal and David Weigel, The Washington Post

Larry Lessig Ascends

Larry Lessig announces his 2016 presidential candidacy.

Yesterday, Larry Lessig appeared at 1%, or better, in a second political poll. He needs one more, in order to be invited to the next Democratic debate. This has been a difficult milestone for Lessig to achieve – because he is seldom included in the polls!

As Webb Drops out, Lessig Ascends (Link)

Monmouth University Poll is Second to Show Lessig Above 1%

Cambridge, MA – Outsider and late-entry Democratic presidential candidate Larry Lessig broke the 1% mark in today’s Monmouth University national poll. This is the second national poll showing Lessig above 1% — important because the 1% threshold ensures candidates’ participation in party-sanctioned debates.

Also today, Lessig showed his rising poll numbers in a Bloomberg Politics poll in New Hampshire. In September, a PPP poll also showed Lessig above 1%. […]

The poll showed Lessig in a tie with Jim Webb, who has also campaigned for months and who dropped out of the race this morning.

“To be clear, we have never agreed with the DNC’s artificial and unfair criteria that a candidate had to be at one percent in three polls when national polling companies were not including Lessig’s name. That is bogus and the DNC knows it. Lessig has raised one million dollars in a matter of weeks, qualified for federal matching funds, has significant television buys in Iowa and New Hampshire, and was not invited to the first debate – he should be in the second one – even Jim Webb, who dropped out today, was in the first debate and Lessig raised more than Jim did and showed more of a national following than Jim did. It is time for the DNC to admit their folly and let Lessig in the second debate,” Steve Jarding, Senior Advisor to the Lessig campaign said.

— Szelena Gray, Lessig2016

Tavis Smiley interviewed Larry Lessig on his October 20th PBS show: Presidential Candidate Prof. Larry Lessig, where the Harvard Law professor talks about his presidential campaign, a corrupt political system, and his fight to be heard.

Lessig Abandons the ‘Referendum President’ Idea

It is important to note that Larry Lessig is abandoning the ‘Referendum President’ idea from his campaign. Instead of resigning after (hopefully) passing the Citizens Equality Act and leaving the post to the Vice President, Lessig now plans to fulfill his presidential term if elected. The reason? Lessig says, “The promise to resign confused people.”

Larry Lessig: I’m All In (Link)

The Democratic presidential candidate explains why his campaign for a “referendum presidency” hasn’t gotten the traction he had hoped for—and how he plans to change that.

In July, I decided to try something that no one else had done: to launch a campaign for a “referendum president,” focused on ending the system of corruption that has crippled our government. Whether it’s a minimum wage that’s a living wage, or making social security secure, or assuring clean air and safe water, or taking on Wall Street, or health-care reform that would make health insurance affordable—none of these issues, or any other important issue, can be addressed sensibly in America until we fix this corruption, first.

This corruption has a cause. Its cause is inequality. Not the inequality of wealth—though that is made more extreme by the inequality I mean. Instead, the inequality of citizens. […]

But from the start, the idea hit a wall—or at least part of the idea did. People understood the corruption bit; they were willing to assume the reform would fix it. But they didn’t get the resigning bit. It caught people’s attention, and the attention of hundreds of media outlets. But it weakened the credibility of the campaign. Was I really trying to be president? Or was I just trying to make a point? […]

In a 1,008-person survey about the idea of a referendum presidency, Drew Westen, perhaps the Democrats’ most influential messaging guru, tested both the idea of a campaign focused on fixing our democracy first, and the idea of a president resigning once that work was done.

The resignation idea was a total bust. No one liked it. At all.

But the idea of an outsider making fundamental reform the central issue of the campaign blew the race apart. […]

— Lawrence Lessig, The Atlantic

Clinton Gains Larger Lead on Sanders After the First Democratic Debate

For his first Democratic Presidential Debate, Bernie Sanders held his own. But he could have explained his policies and values more fully. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has plenty of Presidential debate practice under her belt from her run against Barack Obama in 2008. No surprise, Hillary has now gained a larger lead on Bernie.

Host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur offers Bernie Sanders encouragement and advice. Although, Cenk acknowledges, Bernie probably does not need his advice.

I agree. We may anticipate Bernie’s quick-learning skills to position him more strongly in the next Democratic debate.

Polls Show Hillary’s Lead Expanding Post-Debate (Video)

The mainstream media proclaimed Hillary Clinton the winner of the first Democratic debate. New polls indicate they were correct, with Hillary’s lead growing.

“Two national polls out Tuesday show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton making significant gains against Sen. Bernie Sanders, her chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, in the wake of last week’s Democratic Primary Debate.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Clinton’s standing among Democratic primary voters has improved by 7 percentage points in one month. At the same time, Sanders has dropped 6 points and Vice President Joe Biden, who has not actually said he intends to run for president, has dropped 2 points. Clinton now has 49 percent of the vote, Sanders has 29 percent and Biden has 15 percent. No other Democratic rival captures more than 2 percent.

Without Biden in the mix, Clinton’s lead grows even wider against Sanders (58 percent to 33 percent).”

— Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks

2016 Candidates & Issues

For nonpartisan quick links to all 2016 presidential candidate websites – Republican, Democratic, and Third Party – and a list of the most important issues, visit my 2016 Presidential Candidates & the Issues page at Feeling the Bern.

Research. Compare. Choose your candidate.

Whomever you vote for in 2016, prepare to take continued action after the election – in order to push Congress members to support the solutions and reforms you think are wise. No President can do it alone. Citizen involvement is where it’s at.

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