Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A farewell drink for Larry Lessig

I concluded Drinks for Republican candidates: Graham, Pataki, and Gilmore with "I'll have one more drink recipe entry for Larry Lessig.  Expect to see it in November."  It's November, but Lessig has already dropped out.  Vox reports Lawrence Lessig quits Democratic race, says party changed rules to exclude him from debate.
On Monday, campaign finance reform activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig announced he was ending his long-shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Lessig blamed the national Democratic Party for, he said, changing the rules in a way that made it impossible for him to qualify for the party's next debate. "It is now clear that the party won't let me be a candidate," he said. "I must today end my campaign for the Democratic nomination."
Farewell, Larry!  Here's a drink in your honor, the Harvard Cocktail.

1 oz brandy
1 oz sweet vermouth
4 dashes bitters
1/4 oz simple syrup
I'm now done with the project that started with recipes for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley.  My drink orders for Paul W.'s Democratic Debate Drinking Game for October 2015 are now complete.

Follow over the jump for Lessig's account of what led him to drop out and my brief rant about how Democratic and Republican candidates have behaved very differently in response to their likelihood of getting the nomination.

Here's Lessig's story from Vox.
Since Lessig announced his presidential campaign less than two months ago, he's gotten little attention or traction in the polls. So he pinned his hopes on qualifying for a Democratic debate. Perhaps once he brought his message to a national audience, his bid would catch fire. "I may be known to tiny corners in the tubes of the internets, but I am not well-known to the American public generally," he says in the announcement. "Our only chance to make this issue central to the 2016 presidential election was to be in those debates."

To qualify, Lessig thought he had to hit 1 percent support in three major national polls in the six weeks before the debate, and he says that DNC staffers he spoke with confirmed this. That proved difficult, since many pollsters didn't even bother to include Lessig's name as an option, and when they did he often didn't do very well. So he missed the cut for the first debate — but he had hit that 1 percent threshold in one live-interview phone poll (from Monmouth) and a few internet polls so far, so he hoped he was on its way.

But according to Lessig and his adviser Steve Jarding, the DNC suddenly informed them last week that the rules were different. Now, instead of hitting 1 percent in three polls in the six weeks before the debate, they had to hit 1 percent in three polls conducted over six weeks before the debate. (This is very odd because debate qualification is usually set by using the most recent polls, not designed to deliberately exclude them.)

Since the next debate is scheduled for November 14, that means candidates had to meet the polling threshold by six weeks before that — October 3. And that means it's impossible for Lessig to make the cut. "Unless we can time travel, there is no way that I will qualify," he said during his announcement.

If this account of events is accurate, then the DNC changed its rules in a really petty and ridiculous way, deliberately to exclude the one gadfly candidate remaining in the race, and limit its future debates to only Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley.
That is indeed a jerk move on the part of the DNC, if Lessig is correct.  Still, it shows which party is more in touch with reality and it's not the Republicans.

With Lessig's announcement, there are now only three Democratic candidates.  Two others, Webb and Chafee, dropped out over the past two weeks and Biden announced he wouldn't run, trimming the field from seven.  Meanwhile, the Republican field still has fifteen.  The Democrats have reduced their candidate list to candidates who have at least an outside shot, while the GOP is still having two debates a night with candidates who don't even poll one percent.  Honestly, I was expecting one of their candidates to drop out since Scott Walker shot his campaign in the head as soon as he realized it had become a zombie.   None have.

If someone had offered me a wager at the start of October three (or four, counting Biden) Democrats would drop out while all Republicans continued to run during the past month, I would have bet against them.  Good thing that didn't happen; I'd have lost.

Stay tuned for election coverage from Examiner.com later tonight.