Harvard Professor Drops Out Of Democratic Presidential Race: ‘The Party Won’t Let Me Be A Candidate’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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The liberal Harvard professor Larry Lessig said Monday he planned to withdraw from the Democratic presidential race, saying the national party has implemented rules that keeps him out of the debates.

“I wanted to run as president as a Democrat,” Lessig said in a video posted online. “Because the values I champion are shared by all Americans but especially by Democrats. But it is now clear that the party won’t let me be a candidate. And I can’t ask people to support a campaign that I know can’t even get before the members of the Democratic Party.”

Said Lessig: “I must today end my campaign for the Democratic nomination. And turn to the question of how best to continue to press for this reform now.”

Lessig, who was running a campaign to combat the “corruption” of the political system, announced in September he would run for president.

“Twelve weeks ago, we launched a campaign to put fixing our Democracy first at the center of this presidential election,” Lessig said in the video. “I said that if we crowd-fund a million dollars in less than 30 days, I’d run in the Democratic primary for president and give every ounce of my energy to the cause of focusing America on this critical need.”

Lessig acknowledged in Monday’s video that “getting into the Democratic debates was the essential step in this campaign.”

“I may be known in tiny corners of the tubes of the internet, but I am not well known to the American public generally,” he said. “Our only chance to make this issue central to the 2016 presidential election was to be in those debates.”

Lessig said the national party has changed the rules for being able to participate in the debate as he neared qualifying.

“Last week, we learned that the Democratic Party has changed its rules for inclusion in the debate,” Lessig said. “And under the new rule, unless we can time travel, there is no way that I will qualify.”

Explained Lessig: “Until this week, the rule was three polls finding me at one percent in the six weeks prior to the debate. Last week, we began to get close — two polls found me at one percent. One more, and I would be in the second debate, under the original rule. But under the new rule, the standard is three polls at least six weeks before the debate. That means I would’ve had to qualified at the beginning of October, which means nothing that happens now could matter.”

“Under this new rule,” Lessig said, “I am just shut out.”

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