After DNC Changes Debate Rules, Lessig Suspends Campaign, Vows to Continue Fight to Fix Democracy With or Without DNC

“The Leadership has changed the rules and effectively forced me out.”


November 2, 2015

Media Contact: Brandon Hersh [email protected]

Cambridge, MA – Today Larry Lessig announced to supporters, donors, volunteers, staff and friends that his bid for the Democratic nomination for President  has effectively come to an end. After the Democratic National Committee changed the rules for access to the debates, Lessig announced that he can no longer pursue the Democratic nomination for President. Lessig:

Just at the moment that under the old rules, we were about to qualify for the debates, the Democrats changed the rules. That change makes continuing our campaign impossible.

As described in an essay on Huffington Post by the campaign’s General Consultant, Steve Jarding, under the original rule, a candidate was included in the debates if he or she received 1% in 3 polls “in the six weeks prior to the debates.” Under that standard, Lessig seemed certain to qualify for the second Democratic debate slated for November 14. Last week, a Monmouth poll found Lessig at 1% nationally. Since that poll, every poll that has included Lessig’s name has also found him at 1%.

But under the new rule, a candidate can only be included if he or she received 1% in 3 polls “at least six weeks prior to the debate.” Under this rule, to qualify, Lessig would have had to have qualified by October 10th—at a time when most polls were still not including Lessig’s name. As Jarding commented:

It was bad enough that despite Lessig having raised more money than almost half the field, polling companies were not including his name in their polls. But to change the rules midstream is unprecedented.

Jarding has now advised Lessig that without access to the debates, there is no viable path to the nomination. As he wrote in the Huffington Post,

Lessig is a leader in the most important political reform movement within our democracy today—his voice and his cause need to be heard. If he were allowed into the Democratic Party debates, I believe Americans would see him, as I do, as a leader who would be true to his word and were Americans to elect him as President of the United States, he would win back our democracy.

Lessig committed himself to continuing the fight: 

The fight to win a democracy back—to get our leaders to acknowledge, openly and honestly, the crippled and corrupted institution that Congress has become, and to give America a plan to fix it—isn’t over. I will continue to do everything I possibly can to make this issue central in this election. The elephant in the room is our dying democracy. We need leaders to rally America to fix it. 

 Lessig launched his campaign on September 9, after crowdfunding $1 Million in commitments in less than 30 days. Since launching his campaign, Lessig has travelled repeatedly to New Hampshire and Iowa, and has spoken at a wide range of venues. But as Lessig explained to supporters in an email sent today,

 I cannot ask you to support a campaign for the Democratic nomination that can’t even get before the members of the Democratic party. And I can’t ask my family or my team to make any further sacrifices for a cause that has no opportunity to earn the support that the nomination will require. The uncertainty around my inclusion in the debates has understandably slowed support for the campaign. Without a commitment from the party that I would be included, we cannot afford to continue the campaign.

 The campaign left open the possibility of Lessig’s returning to the race if he was included in the debate this week. “Of course we would return to the race if we had a clear indication this week,” Jarding commented. “But the DNC was clear with me that under its new rules, Lessig would not be invited to the debate.”


WATCH Larry Lessig’s Announcement to Suspend His Campaign HERE

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