Lawrence Lessig Has a “Moonshot” Plan to Halt Our Slide Toward Plutocracy

Bill Moyers:

Holland: Let’s get back to your plan to shake up the system. What is it that you believe might break that cycle of cynicism and complacency, and get people motivated to deal with these issues?

Lessig: I think you’ve got to identify two changes, and then ask how we bring them about. First, we’ve got to have a president who leads on the issue. And then we’ve got to have enough votes in Congress.

Those two changes could happen if there were the right resources behind them. And this is a little ironic, but we need to embrace the irony: We need a super PAC to end all super PACs. We need to think about how to raise an incredibly large “money bomb,” as Matt Miller described it, that would be influential enough to give people a reason to hope that there’s actually a chance of success.

When you start thinking about the numbers, it’s not so hard to imagine. Michael Bloomberg recently announced that he was giving $50 million to fight the NRA on gun control. Tom Steyer says he’s going to spend $50 million to fight the carbon industries in order to get climate change legislation. If you got 20 billionaires to each put $50 million dollars into a super PAC that was focused on changing the way elections were funded, there’s no doubt we would win. One billion dollars would certainly have enough influence in this political system to rally Americans to vote and to demand the thing that we already want. Ninety percent of us want a change in the system.