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To Un-Rig Electoral System, A Plot to Treat 'Presidency as Referendum'


To Un-Rig Electoral System, A Plot to Treat 'Presidency as Referendum'

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Campaign finance reform advocate and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig announced Tuesday that he is forming a committee to explore entering the Democratic primary for president—a job from which he says he would resign as soon as Congress passed a package of pro-democracy reforms.


Lessig’s reform movement doesn’t go far enough in getting Big Money out of politics. In fact, his Mayday PAC was all about using Big Money Democrats to support political candidates who gave lip service to reform.

Overturning Citizen’s United and establishing Instant Runoff Voting does nothing to address the larger concerns of Independent Voters who want nothing to do with the Bipartisan Wall Street War Machine. Lessig appears to be acting as liberal sheepherder bringing hopeful Progressives into the Bernie Sanders Camp. While Bernie is sheep herding Progressive voters into the Hilary Clinton Wall Street Camp. More Hope and Change than we can afford. We’ve had enough of the lies.

Which of the two War Parties will end the Permanent War Economy and really “Make America Great” again? Which one will rein in military spending so we can rebuild domestic infrastructure, schools, parks, libraries, railways, etc…? Why aren’t these questions being asked on the Corporate Sponsored Fox Presidential Debates? Why aren’t Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton raising these questions? Maybe it’s because they have consistently voted to fund our elective and illegal wars of aggression?

Why doesn’t Lessig support Open Presidential Debates instead of the Corporate Sponsored Privatized Bipartisan Presidential Debates? His voter reform does nothing for third party candidates shut out by this corrupt system. It doesn’t address the rights of Green Party candidates such as Dr. Jill Stein to have equal access to the Presidential Debates.

Lessig’s Mayday PAC sends the wrong message if you really want to get Big Money out of poltics. You don’t do it with more Big Money. And you certainly don’t give your support to Climate Denying Tea Party Republicans just because they support campaign reform. That is bizarre and counterproductive to any Progressive agenda.

Search “Mayday PAC and What’s eating Lawrence Lessig?”


Interesting, but, like the Sanders candidacy, there is nothing about how to curb the omnipotence of the Pentagon. Under Bush and Obama, the USA has become a full-fledged Military Dictatorship, and until the Pentagon is recaptured and controlled, everything else is just window dressing.


You know it astounds me that you expect the Democratic Party to open debates up for the Green Party. You’re stretching that " ask " but then at every turn insult the Democratic Party. Have you even been to a party? It’s rare to be invited to a party by calling the hosts " murdering scumbag lackeys " in my experience. Lackey, the Dems get and admit to, scumbag; not so much :relaxed: Why doesn’t Jill go crash the Republican Party for a change? Or, Greens offer up someone, possibly a strident and whip smart Marxist like Angela Davis, who I really find fascinating to read incidently, to challenge Jill to a debate on the Green Party platform and BLM movement.


It’s depressing that CD so often forgets there’s any party other than the Republicrat, or any half-way decent candidate other than Sanders. The article says:

"Lessig acknowledges that Sanders, more than any other presidential candidate, has talked extensively about the need for electoral reform. "

No mention of non-Demublican candidates. According to CD, the Green Party and others don’t exist.

Here’s Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s position taken from her webpage:

“Abolish corporate personhood. Protect voters’ rights by establishing a constitutional right to vote. Enact electoral reforms that break the big money stranglehold and create truly representative democracy: public campaign financing, ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, and open debates.”

This goes further than anything the article discusses.

People have voted Democrat over and over, and what has it gotten us? One step forward and one step back. It will take much more serious shaking than the Democrats care to take in order to knock the ruling class from their perches of power.


Since Bernie Sanders is already raising this crucial issue in the Democratic primary, why doesn’t Lessig switch to the Republicans and run on fixing the system among the more egregiously corrupt of the 2 major parties?


The concept has been around a long time, and versions of this have been used as far back as city-state Athens. Sortition, or Demarchy, are terms used for such a system.


Who gave the Democratic and Republican Parties an exclusive corporate franchise on public presidential debates? No one. They and the Main Stream Media have conspired to limit choices by limiting access to OUR PUBLIC AIRWAVES.

OUR electoral system like our election machines have been privatized to benefit the two Wall Street War Parties which you seem to believe should be asked nicely to open the process. You have got be kidding!

I don’t know where you got “murdering scumbag lackeys.” I never use that kind of rhetoric. And we’re supposed to believe you support Angela Davis. She and Jill Stein agree on several important issues. Bruce Dixon, managing editor for Black Agenda Report, has endorsed Green Party candidate Jill Stein.


Lessig supports both open debates and proportional representation. Where are you getting your information from?


I noticed that he does support Automatic Voter Registration as well as Proportional Representation. Good. I corrected my comments. Thanks. The other stuff stands.


Am I ( we ) to be believe you get invited to many parties by denigrating the party which gave us Social Security and Medicare and lots and lots of good and honorable things. And, yes, I’m discerning enough to know you if you try to kick someone’s barn down you might get asked to leave the premises. You use the " sheepdog " crap and it is you who are trying to develop a " host " relationship with the Dems at every turn. You’d do better if you’re approach was more discerning and calculated. And, I could care less if you believe I’m knowledgeable with Angela Davis’s stands on issues or not. You called the Dems war party members when they are split right down the middle on this and many issues. " Bruce Dixon, Bruce Dixon, everybody’s talkin’ about Bruce Dixon. " You’ve got a mind of your own, why don’t you use it. You know the way home or did you lose it. " D. Bromberg


Happy to see Lessig include Rank Choice Voting among his electoral reforms.

The stupid Plurality Voting that is the norm in US elections, limits each voter to only express their preference regarding a single candidate in each race. Rank Choice Voting allows the voter to rank all the candidates in numerical order. Among the main benefits of allowing each voter to express preference regarding every candidate, is that it wrecks the “spoiler effect” beloved by the Duopoly. You can vote for your preferred candidate, without “wasting” your vote, or effectively supporting the “most evil” candidate in the race!

THERE IS NO NATURAL REQUIREMENT FOR A “SPOILER EFFECT” OF VOTING THIRD-PARTY. It’s “the water we swim in” and there is zero education on such matters so the thought hardly crosses our minds, but the “spoiler effect” (argued about so passionately here in the CD threads) is engineered into the system. There’s NO need for it, there’s no SENSE to it, except that it leads to a “two-party” system, and so it is beloved by adherents of the Duopoly.

BUT! There are electoral systems as simple as Rank Choice Voting, but more responsive to voter preference, more effective at translating voter preference into election results. Lessig has to be aware of this, so i’m not sure why he specifically promotes Rank Choice Voting instead of Score Voting, or the simplest form of score voting, Approval Voting.

In Rank Choice Voting, voters rank each candidate in a race. Which candidate has the most #1 votes? If no candidate wins a majority in this “first round” there is an automatic second round (thus the term “Instant Runoff Voting”) using the same ranked ballots. The candidate who got the fewest #1 votes is removed, and ballots where that candidate was ranked #1 now go to the #2 candidates on those ballots. This winnowing of the “weakest” candidate from each round of the “instant runoff” continues until one candidate does have a majority.

In Score Voting, each voter gives every candidate a score on a scale. (The scale can be as big as 0 to 10 or 0 to 100, or as small as 0 to 1. This 0 or 1, “no or yes” score system is called Approval Voting.) Add up all the scores from all the ballots. The candidate with the highest total score wins the election, with no need for any “instant runoff.”

Both these systems are WAY better than Plurality Voting! There are reasons why Score Voting is better than Rank Choice Voting. If you want to get better informed about voting systems go to www.electology.org.


The Green Party has a great platform, but why do you think it has a monopoly on progressives? That would be wishful thinking or manipulatory tactics to waste our votes on it.


Please see my post about voting systems and the engineered “vote waste” that creates the Duopoly via Plurality Voting. There is NO NEED for any “wasted vote.” It’s engineered into the electoral system and can be simply engineered out.

TPTB love this stupid Plurality Voting system, for many reasons. Among them: It leads to pointless arguing and bad feeling among engaged members of the populace about “wasted votes.”

Please look into getting Score Voting or another intelligent electoral system instituted in any organization you’re involved with that holds contested elections. The more people who become familiar with the utter pointlessness of the engineered “wasted vote,” the more we can put an end to this pointless waste of our energy.

In the meantime, i STILL disagree that any vote is ever wasted.


To un-rig the electronic mysteries every election produces, now, the need for reform is paramount! As a nation our rulers see us as little more than chattel. The electorate is democratically powerless without a process for verifiable elections. Period.

The strategy should be a scorched Earth effort to collect every association in the country, still believing in the republic and unite all that might for one issue: verifiable elections.

The republic is lost without the influence of American citizens pointing the way.


The reason “everybody’s talkin’ about Bruce Dixon” is that he is the author of the sheepdog analogy you call “crap.” If Dixon wasn’t so thoroughly right on the mark, you wouldn’t be anywhere near as irritated at the African American leftist Green Party member. Black Agenda Report, Dixon and Glen Ford, have a great critique of the Democratic War Party. I don’t need to try and reinvent that wheel. They do just fine, thank you.

Face it. He’s right and a lot of people realize that. If we wait to see if Berney wins the Primary to decide whether to support a third party candidate such as Jill Stein, it will be too late. The time to create the movement for many of the things Berney just talks about, plus needed cuts in Defense Spending, is now, not when he loses the Primary and sends his herd of voters to support war monger Goldwater Girl Hilary Clinton.

We had NAFTA Bill Clinton and Mr. Hope and Changey # 2, Obomba. Fool me once shame on you. … FDR would be puking and rolling over in his grave if he saw what has happened to “the Party of the Working Class.”


Nobody gave the Democratic or Republican parties the exclusive franchise to be the only two parties take turns damaging our democracy. In neither the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or even the Article of Confederation are mentioned any political parties. These organizations are an evil force of money that comes between the voters and the candidates. The candidate must obey the parties over the people to get the money to run. The candidate heeds the word of the ‘donors’ over that of the constituents. We need to GET RID OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES.

If we would DEMAND that our elected Representatives MUST heed the people and not the money, we could get some democracy in our nation.
An elected representative would need to set up a web site and list all the bills coming up for a vote. On that web site would be a place to click to get a copy of the whole bill, or click to get a summary. They there must be statements for and against the proposed new law. In the last week before the vote takes place, there must be a secure web site where registered voters in the district could instruct the official on how to vote on the bill. The count would be seen by the people as the week goes by. At the end of the voting period for citizen’s advise on how to vote, the Representative must then truly represent the people by voting as directed by the constituents.

As it is now you know the ‘Representatives’ really represent the money—not the people. Under this proposal the ‘donors’ could give all the bribes they want—but that will not effect the vote.


Matt, I was thinking similar thoughts… Never would this get through Congress. Also, let’s say for sake of argument that it might get through Congress… why not just have Bernie Sanders promise similar action, elect Bernie as President, and then keep Bernie in office regardless of whether or not Congress acts?


It is simply about POWER.
When the two large corporate-backed groups get to wield sufficient control they simply TAKE the “Authority” to decide who gets in the “debate.”
Preventing other Voices or Ideas from messing with their Game is their means of self-defense.
Those running this “Home of the Brave” with YOUR money and YOUR offspring are really COWARDS who FEAR the presence of New Ideas, and use false Fear-Mongering to make YOU fear seeing Reality or Facts, or any Change from their Control.


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