Larry Lessig Ends Presidential Bid, Citing Restrictive Debate Rules

Larry Lessig
Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Larry Lessig, the Harvard professor and Internet freedom advocate who waged a long shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Monday that he is ending his presidential campaign.

“From the start it was clear that getting in to the Democratic debates was the essential step in this campaign,” Lessig said in a video posted on YouTube. “…But last week we learned that the Democratic party has changed its rules for inclusion in the debate, and under the new rule, unless we can time travel, there is no way I that will qualify.”

He noted that until last week, the rule was that a candidate had to be at 1% or more in three polls conducted in the six weeks prior to the debate, scheduled for Nov. 14. He said that the campaign had reached that threshold in two recent polls. But under the new rule, the qualification was three polls at least six weeks before the debate.

“That means that nothing that happens now could matter. I am just shut out.”

Lessig focused his campaign on “fixing democracy,” including measures to limit money in politics and to reform the system of gerrymandering. He raised more than $1 million in the third quarter, almost as much as Democrat Martin O’Malley, and drew contributions from Silicon Valley and from Hollywood, including from director J.J. Abrams, who has also given to Hillary Clinton.

Lessig’s campaign also put in an equal time request to NBC stations after Hillary Clinton’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 3.