Lessig for president, and then some
Did you know that Lawrence Lessig is running for president of the United States?
Or… he was. Until yesterday. But you still need to know of him, and hear his story.
Professor Lessig — honorary doctorate at my alma mater Lund University in Sweden — became world famous for launching new and challenging ideas on copyright reform, the “creative commons” license being the most known.
But it’s not as an Internet activist that he was seeking office.
His goal is to fight corruption in the American political system.
Anyone who has heard Lessig speak — and that’s something I wish for everyone, he is incredibly skilled — knows that he does not define corruption as in “money in unmarked envelopes”. Lawrence Lessig describes the American corruption in terms of an unfortunate and inappropriate eco system of politics and lobbying, a feedback loop that is so cemented that it prevents all changes that Lessig and many with him feel are needed.
Lawrence Lessig himself has a background as a young Republican, but is now a Democrat. He is a friendly, unassuming person in his early fifties, affiliated with Harvard University, the father of three children, a vegan… All in all, a conventional yet unusual person with a special kind of radiance.
Lessig is dropping out, you can read more about it here. But he is already a winner. His question is not the biggest question, he says — but it is the first. If we don’t fix this, we won’t be able to fix anything else either.
Howard Dean and Barack Obama set interesting examples of digital campaigning. Lessig took it to the next level. This was hands-on digital policy: finding ideas, doing fundraising, collectingnames, organizing events.
Anyone who wants to understand how the political landscape changed by digitization should take a closer look. There are few people whose knowledge and insights are as deep as Lawrence Lessigs. I would advise every digital strategist to analyze his campaign.
And — would I have voted for him, had he actually stayed in the race and won the nomination?
Yes, of course. But I would have made sure to thorougly investigate his running mate (he never selected one). Lawrence Lessig stated that, if he were to become president, he would resign very soon.
More precisely: After fixing the broken system.
Now, listen to the man.
Andreas Ekström is a journalist, analyst, author and keynote speaker — based in Sweden, but working all around the world. He writes on Medium most Tuesdays. Read more here: http://www.andreasekstrom.se/english/