Following a rules change within the democratic party governing who can participate in televised debates, Larry Lessig has ended his campaign for president. Lessig is the third democrat to drop out of the race, leaving Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley as the only remaining contenders on the left.
Lessig released a video announcement of the end of his brief run, criticizing the democratic party for moving the goalposts for participation in the debates. Getting into those debates was likely the only way that Lessig’s campaign could meet its stated goal of calling attention to campaign finance reform. The rules originally stated that a candidate must have at least three polls placing them at 1% or higher in the six weeks prior to the debate to be eligible for participation. Lessig had scored at 1% in two polls so far, and was hoping for a third. The new rules, however, state that the candidate must have scored 1% or higher in three polls prior to the six week mark. “Unless we can time travel, there is no way that I will qualify,” he quipped.
Lessig has experimented with politics since the 2013 death of Aaron Swartz, with very little to show for it so far. His Mayday PAC failed to deliver on its promise of electing a pro-campaign finance reform majority to the U.S. Congress, with none of the candidates backed by Mayday winning their elections. With his presidential bid ending just 12 weeks after it began, little press coverage, and no real traction in the polls, it’s hard to see the silver lining.
In his video concession, Lessig credits Swartz with opening his eyes to the need for political reform. The two worked together on several projects, including the successful Creative Commons system, with the goal of opening up the exchange of ideas and promoting a more open culture. Swartz, who committed suicide while under federal investigation for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, is rumored to have held political ambitions of his own.
Photo Credits: Rick Perry, Donald Trump, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush: Gage Skidmore, Flickr; Carly Fiorina: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons; John Kasich, Scott Walker: Michael Vadon, Wikimedia Commons; George Pataki: Christopher Peterson, Wikimedia Commons; Lawrence Lessig: Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons; Hillary Clinton: Steve Jurvetson, Flickr; Lincoln Chafee: US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, Flickr; Martin O’Malley: Photos by Jay Baker, Flickr; Bernie Sanders:Public Domain, berniesanders.com; Lindsey Graham, Jim Webb: Public Domain; White House: Tom Lohdan, Flickr.