Harvard law professor and democrat Lawrence Lessig announced his formal bid for president of the United States after his crowd funding campaign successfully hit $1 million.
Lessig, an activist with a grassroots following among some progressives, says he’s running on a singular platform — the Citizen Equality Act of 2017. It would expand voting access, ban gerrymandering and institute campaign finance reform.
If he wins the presidential election, the 54-year-old South Dakota native promises to resign and let his vice president take over. He declined to name potential vice presidential picks when asked during the interview.
Lessig previously said he would resign his position at Harvard and focus on the nomination race if he raised at least $1 million by Labor Day and didn’t believe the other candidates were sufficiently focused on “returning political power to citizens.”
“I think I’m running to get people to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We have to recognize — we have a government that does not work. The stalemate, partisan platform of American politics in Washington right now doesn’t work.'”
In August, Lessig revealed he was fully committed to the idea or running and has already hired six staff, according to the Washington Post, a public relations firm and two pollsters.
“I increasingly think this is our best shot at fixing this corrupt system and giving us back a democracy that represents us equally,” he says in the referendum video.
While the primary purpose of his presidency would be giving power back to the people via changes to the federal election system that would require citizen funding of federal campaigns, Lessig said during a conference call with reporters today that he he’d work to expand voter rights as well. “It’s not like the one issue I care about is way off to the corner and nothing else is important to me,” he explained to the Washington Post. “Everything is important to me – from Wall Street to climate change to the debt – all of those are tied to this particular problem.”
Lessig would need to reach 1 percent in national polls in order to make it to the party’s first debate next month.