The American people are very right. The American people are also very wrong.
96 percent of Americans agree that it is important to reduce the influence of money in elections. This is a no-brainer. Just about the only people who disagree are five Supreme Court justices and the corrupt Congress who got elected through that money. Otherwise, real Republican, Democratic and independent voters all agree: If you take a lot of money from someone, you are likely to do what they ask you to do. This used to be called bribery. Americans are correct that this is a massive problem, and it's the first issue we must address, because it affects every other issue that you care about.
91 percent of Americans believe there is nothing we can do about this corruption. Those are the same folks who would have asked the Suffragists, "How can women ever get the right to vote, if they can't vote in the first place?!" Pessimism always seems like the right play in the short run, but it is almost always historically wrong.
First of all, we can pass a 28th amendment to fix our democracy and create a more perfect union. That is what every generation of Americans have done -- passed an amendment to make our government better. That is what our founding fathers instructed us to do, whenever there is a problem that rises to this level of importance, and they gave us the option of proposing amendments through Congress or the states. And that is what we will do, one way or another!
But there is also one other thing that can be done -- elect a president who will take real action on this issue. I know what the professional cynics will say, "But you can't ever trust a politician." I hear you, brother. That's why I'm drawn to Harvard Professor Larry Lessig's brilliant idea. He wants us to elect a Trustee President whose sole job is to fix this problem, get money out of politics, and then get out of town. This is a citizen who's elevated to the highest office in the land, fixes the problem, and then he or she would resign! His vice president at that point would take over and run the government once it has been fixed.
Lessig used a fun analogy in his recent article about this -- we need a Frodo Baggins to run for President, who would throw the ring back into the fire. But there is one thing he did not address: Who do you trust to be Frodo Baggins? We're all afraid that professional politicians would hold on to that ring of power with all of their might while screaming, "The Precious!!!"
So, I'm here to solve that problem. The candidate should be Larry Lessig himself! He is the godfather of the movement for free and fair elections. He is the coder who can fix the bug in the system. He is the one guy we can trust to actually keep his word, get this done, and then hand off the reins of power. He is not going to be seduced by the imperative to pass a transportation bill with important pork barrel spending in it. He will hold the fort down until Congress has fixed this issue. He will be the "Citizen President". He will be our president.
I'm in a unique position here because I might be the only guy in the country who has ever voted for Lessig for President. In the 2012 primaries, I couldn't stomach voting for a guy who promised to change the way Washington works and then sat on his hands (and I couldn't vote for the other guy in the general election either). So, I voted in the primaries for the one guy I could trust to bring us real change. I voted for Larry Lessig for President as a write-in candidate on my ballot.
Now, if we get him to run for President in 2016, we don't have to write his name in this year. If he runs in the primaries, all you have to do is vote for him. And if you don't vote for this Citizen President and real change given the one chance you have to do so, then you should shut your mouth. Don't come crying later that you're despondent because there's nothing we can do. This is something you can do!
All that's left is to get Lessig in the race. Reach out to him @Lessig and let him know, we need him to run for #President. He has to help us save democracy. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to fix this problem, and he's the only guy that I know who can give us a new hope.
For God's sake, do you really want another Bush-Clinton race? Can you live with that? Does anyone think that's good for the country? Who is looking forward to business as usual? Well, instead we can vote for Lessig as a one-man national referendum on ending the systemic corruption of our government.
This transforms 2016 from the least interesting politics-as-usual race into the most important election of our lifetimes. Imagine if we as a country demanded that Washington do nothing else before they fix this problem that affects every other issue in the country. Imagine if we had a president whose sole job was to listen to us and get this done!
We can do it right now. You can finally have a vote that matters. Lessig, this is your mission - our mission together -- if you should choose to accept it. Just do it, @Lessig, believe in the dream you started.