Just like Lincoln Chaffee, Jim Webb, George Pataki, and John Kasich, Lawrence Lessig has no chance of actually being elected president. But unfortunately, Chaffee, Webb, Pataki, and Kasich were allowed into debates, while Lessig's been confined to the sidelines.
You might know Lawrence Lessig from his decades of activism around reducing copyright abuse, enacting campaign finance reform, and severing the collaboration between politicians and lobbyists. He's all about clean, fair, functioning government, and so naturally he's viewed as public enemy number one by our current dirty, rigged, dysfunctional politicians.
That's because he has a plan to overhaul the system with a series of reforms that would ensure that everyone has equal access to a vote; that everyone is fairly represented; and that no one person has disproportionate control over an election.
For those reasons, the Democratic party is doing everything in its power to prevent you from finding out about him.
Lessig has one big issue: reforming the political gamesmanship that keeps power in the hands of the rich. To that end, he's proposing the Citizen Equality Act, which would expand voting access to underserved populations; reverse district gerrymandering; and reduce big-money buyouts of elections. He's also in favor of action on climate change, net neutrality, Obamacare, living wage, subsidized education, the Dream Act, and legalized pot.
He wants to fix the rigging of districts, with boundaries currently set up so that politicians get to pick their own voters. He wants to undo the system of candidates being chosen by whatever millionaires want to pay for their campaigns. And to top it all off, he wants to make Election Day less of a pain in the fucking neck.
And let's be honest — politics could use a little reforming. Even the vote for president — arguably one of the most important elections we face — is rigged with an insane Electoral College system that disproportionately prioritizes certain voters above others. (It takes three Vermont voters to equal one Texas voter. Why? Because!)
But Lessig has one big problem: the Democrats have excluded him from the debates. He's filed all the necessary paperwork; he's running ads; he's managing a budget for his campaign that's larger than that of some of his Democratic rivals. He hit the 1 percent support mark in at least two polls, which is supposed to be the qualifier for appearing the debates. And yet ... he's nowhere to be seen.
It's not like the Democrats don't know he's there. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair (for now) of the Democratic Party, was supposed to have a call scheduled with him, but she stood him up.
The next Democratic debate is on November 6 in South Carolina. Lessig's been excluded from that one as well. At the rate that joke candidates are dropping out, we'll probably only see Hillary and Bernie up there, leaving voters to assume that they're the only two candidates left in the race. Which is exactly what they want you to think.