Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig wants to run for president, but for one reason only: campaign finance reform. Once that’s achieved, he says, he’ll happily step down and hand off the presidency to his VP.
“In this presidential race, 400 families have given half the money that has been raised in the election cycle so far,” Lessig told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez. “This tiny, tiny number have an extraordinary influence in our political system because every politician knows if they don’t keep them happy, they have no shot at getting elected.”
Lessig compares the 220 fundraisers Obama attended during his 2012 campaign for reelection, to the 8 fundraisers Ronald Reagan attended when he ran for reelection in 1985.
“How do you run the free world? How are you President of the United States and who are those fundraisers with? The most wealthy, powerful people in our society.”
The academic says that if he’s able to raise $1 million by Labor Day this year, he will make his bid for the presidency official as a single-issue candidate, and join the 2016 democratic presidential primary.
Lessig specifically wants to pass the Citizen Equality Act of 2017 which is made up of three major key points: an equal right to vote, which includes making Election Day a national holiday, equal representation, and citizen-funded elections.
Lessig says that until the U.S. fixes its corrupted system—starting with the way campaigns are financed—political presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are destined to fail, even if they win.
“They are absolutely set up to fail because this is a rigged system,” he said.
Watch the full interview below