Harvard’s Larry Lessig Fails Again

Larry Lessig

Larry Lessig / AP


A week before President-elect Donald Trump officially secured an Electoral College victory without a single defection, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig claimed his group expected to peel off about 20 electors from Trump's camp.

In fact, more defections came from electors whose states had voted for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"I think that we are not going to see more than a handful who actually vote against Donald Trump unless that number [of Trump electors publicly committed to defecting] climbs above 40," Lessig said days before the vote.

His failure to oppose Trump marked the latest defeat for a quixotic political activist who has repeatedly failed to reform the American electoral process.

Lessig ran a short-lived presidential campaign that ended in late November 2015 after he failed to qualify for Democratic presidential primary debates. His platform focused almost exclusively on campaign finance reform, though it also played fast and loose with some of its own financial reporting.

Though he insists that ridding the political process of money is platform that can win elections, political experts say, and polling data indicate, that it is at most a tangential issue for most voters.

Prior to his presidential run, Lessig ran a Super PAC with the stated mission of reducing the political influence of Super PACs.

The group, Mayday PAC, ran ads in eight Senate races during the 2014 midterm elections. Lessig's preferred candidates won just two of those races.

After one Mayday-backed candidate was defeated in a Republican primary in Massachusetts, Lessig admitted, "We lost. Badly."

Update Dec. 21, 1:07 P.M.: A previous version of this post said that no Trump electors had defected. Two Republican electors voted against Trump.

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