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David Cahn
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I am a political activist and journalist passionate about representing the student voice on a national scale. I am currently working on an upcoming book, "Ascending to Power: What America Will Look Like When Millennials Take Over."

In the past, I have served as National Chief of Staff of the Junior State of America, competed on the national debate circuit and was ranked Top 20 in the USA and managed thirty interns on a successful congressional campaign. I am now an undergraduate studying Economics and Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School.

I would love to hear from you (especially from fellow millennials). My email is cahnda@gmail.com.

Entries by David Cahn

The Godfather of Public Computer Science Education

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 1:22 PM

He has thousands of disciples across the country. His affiliates sit in positions of power at every major tech company and are student leaders at the best computer science programs in the country, including Stanford, Harvard and MIT. His loyal followers - who call themselves The Family - communicate on...

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Harvard Professor Leaves Ivory Tower to Fight Money in Politics

(2) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 4:13 PM

For our generation -- the so-called millennials -- dark money is a uniting issue. Policy Mic says that our generation thinks of the political system as being "Corrupt, Fucked, and Broken." These were the words that came up most frequently in a poll of 666 millennials who were asked to describe the political system with one word. That's why one Harvard professor is considering leaving the ivory tower to pursue a career in politics -- and root out money and corruption from politics.

Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Professor who has long been a champion of campaign finance reform, announced Tuesday that he is exploring a presidential run. His goal: to pass the Citizen Equality Act, which would reform campaign finance laws and restore power to the American people, and then step down, allowing his Vice President to assume the presidency.

Lessig is a long-time campaign finance reform activist. After the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which ruled that third-party groups like SuperPACs could raise unlimited funds to support political candidates, Lessig blasted the decision as depriving the American people of their role in the political process. Now, his goal is to galvanize the American people around the issue of money in politics and fix campaign finance once and for all.

In a video released by his exploratory campaign, he calls himself a candidate of circumstance, not choice. He says he would step down if another candidate were willing to take up the cause of campaign finance reform and fight for the referendum he demands. Ironically acknowledging the importance of money in politics, Lessig has said he will only enter the race if he can crowd fund a million dollars by Labor Day.

The Harvard Professor likens his candidacy to that of Eugene McCarthy, who turned the Vietnam War into the central issue of the 1968. Today, 80 percent of Americans say there's too much money in politics but less than 1 percent say that it is the most important issue they consider when voting. The result is that Congress has not moved the dial on reform.

This is not the first time Lessig has taken aim at the role of money in politics. In an article for the Boston Review, he likened Washington to an alcoholic mother, addicted to campaign donations.

"As with an alcoholic mother trying to care for her children, that conflicting dependency does not change the good intentions of members of Congress--they still want to serve the public interest they thought themselves elected to serve," he wrote. "But as with an alcoholic mother trying to care for her children, that conflicting dependency distracts members from their good intentions, directing their focus more and more toward the challenge of raising money."

Lessig argues that this dependency corruption is just as much of a danger to American democracy as the quid pro quo corruption that the Supreme Court has railed against in the past -- and will be a key issue for the next generation of American voters.

Millennials agree: the single biggest criticism of Washington for the thousands of millennials we've spoken with is that it doesn't represent them; it represents the rich.

"The government is run by monied interests. Corporate lobbying groups don't care about the broad welfare of America, and prioritize policy that benefits only their bottom-line," Mic's Tom Mckay reports. "Some of the biggest corporations in America -- GE, Verizon, Boeing, Honeywell and Wells Fargo -- spend more on lobbying than they do on federal income taxes." Washington has been bought.

And the impact of money in politics is devastating. Retired Supreme Court Justice O'Conner warned that as a result of Citizens United "the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections will get considerably worse and quite soon."

O'Conner was right. Super PAC spending soared by 427 percent in 2010 after the Citizens United ruling and 50 percent of this new cash came from the top 10 donors. A full 78 percent of outside spending in the 2012 election was due to the "Citizens' United effect." The Wall Street Journal, in a detailed analysis of Federal Election Commission data, found that in 2012 a total of 266 super PACs pumped $546.5 million dollars into elections, impacting the outcomes of 354 Congressional and Senate Races.

The direct impact of this money, on the local, state and federal level is a chance to buy elections. "The real danger," wrote academics at the University of Sydney in their study on the effects of Citizens United, "is that unlimited corporate spending will buy hundreds or even thousands of less--publicized elections for state and local offices." The danger is even worse in local judicial elections. Corporations, unions and other special interests believe that the most efficient way to buy influence is to control the bench: as an Ohio union official put it, "We figured out a long time ago that it's easier to elect seven judges than 132 legislators."

Americans are pissed off. 80% of Americans believe that SuperPACS should not be able to make unlimited donations to political campaigns, with 65 percent of respondents "strongly opposed" to the Citizens United decision, including three quarters of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

Let's hope Lessig can raise the profile of a debate that has been silent for far too...

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Jeb Bush Needs to Fire His Campaign Team

(28) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 5:06 PM

I said I would never support a Bush. The first one couldn't get re-elected because he lied to the American people when he said "Read my Lips, No More Taxes" and the second one led two failed wars in the Middle East. But what about Jeb?

The former Florida governor...

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Fiorina Wins Republican Underdog Debate

(9) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 10:18 AM

It's hard to believe that last night's Republican underdog debate happened in the 21st century. Candidates argued that America should put troops on the ground in Iraq, defund Planned Parenthood and said that gay marriage was not that law because it was a rogue Supreme Court decision. For Republicans, this...

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Run Joe, Run

(1) Comments | Posted August 3, 2015 | 5:11 PM

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I am an independent voter, but right now my chances of voting blue in 2016 are basically nil. I am 19 years old and I believe in hope, optimism; Hillary Clinton represents cynicism and the old-regime. Clinton thinks she deserves the presidency, but...

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The Best Politician you've Never Heard Of

(0) Comments | Posted June 21, 2015 | 7:01 PM

He's Ohio's favorite son, a millennial champion and says he'll go to a same-sex wedding if gay marriage is legalized in his state. His political thesis is that conservatism should have a moral purpose and he was the only Republican governor to run for re-election in 2014 without attacking President...

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Dear Class of 2015: College Failed You

(7) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 10:33 PM

Welcome to the workforce, class of 2015. Our broken college education system failed you and your "wage scar" will cost you for decades to come.

You are Unprepared for the Workforce
Two in three college graduates say that they graduated with a skills mismatch, according to...

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What's Behind Asian Discrimination in College Admissions?

(6) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 10:45 PM

A recent lawsuit by Students for Fair Admissions argues that Asian American students are discriminated against in college admissions at Harvard.

It's unlikely that the Ivy League is overtly racist. Admissions officers don't read an application and say, "well, he's Asian, I think I'll pass." Rather, discrimination against Asian...

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Why Marco Rubio is Going to Be President

(11) Comments | Posted May 17, 2015 | 2:28 PM

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It's early in the campaign cycle, but it's never too early to speculate on who will win in 2016. Though most of my friends are "Ready for Hillary," I am confident that Marco Rubio will be the next president of the United States....

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President Obama Is Wrong: College Education is Not For All

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 2:39 PM

President Obama says that every American should get an associates degree because college education is the road the middle class. Now he's announced that the federal government will foot the bill. On face value, this proposal addresses economic inequality and creates opportunity the masses. But the data is unequivocal: college...

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It's Time for Phase II: #BlackLivesMatter Needs a Political Agenda

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 8:19 PM

This week, students staged a die-in at University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutman's holiday party. Gutman responded to the "ambush" by leaving her own party. The protestors eventually left voluntarily. At Harvard, protestors initiated a failed attempt for 4.5 minutes of silence before primal scream, a...

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Meet the Grave Dancer: Sam Zell, Real Estate Billionaire

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 1:11 PM

I walked into Huntsman Hall at The Wharton School expecting to hear another Wall Street junkie spew rhetoric that half the audience wouldn't understand. Instead, I was startled when an older man in jeans and a T-shirt bolted into the room unexpectedly.

Next to me, a mysterious blue-eyed man in...

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De Blasio Announces Longer School Day

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 8:37 PM

It seems like all we hear about from Democrats nowadays is economic inequality. In New York City and Philadelphia, my home and college towns, respectively, this issue will be a crucial one during the midterm elections. Indeed, President Obama has called it "defining challenge of our time." And...

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Colleges Need to Protect Women in Practice, Not Just Theory

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 6:58 PM

"There are three girls sitting in front of you. Pick one to marry, one to fuck and one to kill." The interviewer, the President of a prestigious academically oriented student group at the University of Pennsylvania, had just asked me to sexually harass three women in their presence and expected...

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Don't Abolish Single Test Admissions for NYC Specialized Schools

(6) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 12:40 AM

Every Stuyvesant student remembers the day they took the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).

I was thirteen, a student at the Ramaz Middle School in Manhattan. I was taking the test on a Sunday due to religious observance. My alarm rang at 6:00 AM. I washed my face, said...

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Single-Sex Classrooms Are on the Front Line in the Fight for Gender Equality

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 4:54 PM

We're a society that talks with great frequency about gender inequality, but does little to combat it. In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama lamented unequal salaries, noting than women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. "That's an embarrassment," he said. "It is wrong." Likewise,...

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My Teachers Have Senioritis

(5) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 11:15 AM

My teachers have caught senioritis. "I know you're seniors and you don't want to do you any work, but... " were the first words uttered by each of my teachers as I began the spring semester. In most of my classes, the homework load suddenly shrank and in some, it...

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Popular Does Not Mean Practical: The Case Against the Federal Minimum Wage

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 4:47 PM

An astounding 71 percent of Americans believe that the federal government should raise the minimum wage to $10.10, including 87 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 50 percent of Republicans, according to Pew Research's most recent polls. Raising the minimum wage is so popular, in fact,...

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Young Jews Are the Key to Solving the Arab-Israeli Conflict

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 8:26 PM

Young Americans are notoriously liberal because they are constrained by neither cynicism nor historical failures. Over the past half-century, the campaigns they have spearheaded have initiated momentous social change -- from the civil rights movement in the 1960s to the gay rights movement that is mobilizing young people today. This...

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China Rejected Allegations of North Korean Human Rights Abuses

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 6:04 PM

On Monday, March 17, Chen Chuandong, a counsellor at China's mission in Geneva, publicly rejected allegations of North Korean human rights abuses. In his speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, he called the allegations "divorced from reality."

"The inability of the commission to get support and cooperation from the...

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