Thanks, Christian.
Lessig
205

Thanks for your reply, Larry. I have read “Republic Lost” and so I am familiar with your visionary four-pronged approach to solving the problem.

I would respectfully disagree that Bernie has not taken a strong position on public funding and gerrymandering.

Bernie will be introducing legislation on public funding in this session of congress: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/250187-sanders-campaign-finance-system-amounts-to-legalized

Bernie has publicly committed himself strongly to ending gerrymandering and voter suppression: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/36j690/i_am_senator_bernie_sanders_democratic_candidate/creg1lh A good summary of Bernie’s comprehensive and nuanced position on gerrymandering and voter suppression are here: http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-political-and-electoral-reform/#reign-in-gerrymandering-and-end-voter-suppression The funny thing is that you appear frequently on that page. Again, your message is being heard, but to the average person, you and Bernie sound VERY CLOSE on your main issue. It sounds as if Bernie has basically said “yes, Lessig is correct, we need to do what he says on this issue.”

Bernie did mention the issue in the October 13, 2015 Democratic Presidential Debate: “As a result of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, our campaign finance system is corrupt and is undermining American democracy. Millionaires and billionaires are pouring unbelievable sums of money into the political process in order to fund super PACs and to elect candidates who represent their interests, not the interests of working people…What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have.”

I see four major differences between your position and Bernie’s position. First, and most important, you are emphasizing early action on this issue (Day One) — no one else has done that; Second, you have drafted the Citizens Equality Act. Third you have made this issue the sine qua non of your platform; Fourth, you have extensive legal training, have thought extensively about this issue, and have literally written the book on it (“Republic Lost”).

If I were you, I would not spend too much time criticizing Bernie’s attacks on Citizens United, as that will probably confuse people, particularly since you called for the same in “Republic Lost:” “And indeed, even with 100 percent participation in the Grant and Franklin Project, it is conceivable that these “independent” expenditures would simply evolve into another kind of dependency. Rather than obsessively focusing on how to raise campaign funds, the candidates in this new system would be obsessively focusing on how to ensure the right kind of ‘independent expenditures’ by very powerful special interests.” Republic Lost, p. 271. “It may well be that we need constitutional reform to ensure congressional independence.” Republic Lost, p. 272.

I like your emphasis of making this issue a Day One issue. IMHO, that is your key differentiator. If I were you, I would make this point first time every time you open your mouth, otherwise Bernie is gonna eat your lunch. I am not suggesting that you attack Bernie. Far from it. I am just saying simplify. Ending Corruption on Day One is your issue. Punch it up. :-)

Thanks for all you are doing on this issue. You are making progress. People are hearing you. Now if you could just get on the debate stage.

And punch up Day One.

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