The Referendum President

By Emmanuel Atufu

Staff Writer

The 2016 Presidential Election cycle has been quite the spectacle. From Donald Trump’s speech about Mexicans allegedly being rapists to Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. There has been a nonstop barrage of drama and theatrics.

When it comes to presidential elections, some people tune out because they do not have time for politics as usual. Although, some folks already know who they are voting for, while others are not as certain.

Then there are those in the middle who change their minds faster than a freshman changes majors. But there is one thing we know for sure, this campaign season will be the one for the ages.

A multitude of contentious issues have been brought up by many of the presidential hopefuls, mainly Trump, that have started debates in the media and water coolers everywhere. Trump has led the charge with the issue of immigration and states ending birthright citizenship, even going as far as to call Mexicans “anchor babies.”

The problem with that proposal is birthright citizenship is a right upheld and protected by the Constitution. However, it would be disingenuous to not mention that the Constitution has been amended several times in the past.

Trump has called for lowering the taxes on the middle class and raising taxes on himself and the hedge fund guys whom he calls “paper pushers.” Those hedge fund guys make millions, even billions and pay squat little in taxes. Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are also championing this idea.

For a rational and objective person, who is a big proponent of campaign finance reform and getting money out of politics, my only question to these candidates would be how they would tackle all these issues since some issues hold more importance to some voters than others.

Currently, there are 22 major candidates running for president. There were 17 in the republican field until former Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out recently due to abysmal poll numbers.

In the Democratic field, there were five candidates running for the democratic ticket until Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig recently announced he will join the race as a referendum candidate, which essentially means he runs on a single political issue, in Lessig’s case, campaign finance reform. Once he implements a legislative bill that tackles the issue he ran on, he will step down and the Vice President will be sworn in as President.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter myself, Lessig’s platform sounds phenomenal, so phenomenal that it is making me consider changing my vote. For the most part, Sanders and Lessig want the same thing, the only difference is the process in which to get to that goal.

Lessig’s plan would be a lot more effective than Sanders. Sanders has to also talk about climate change, abortions, income inequality, LGBT rights, gender-wage gap, foreign policy, ISIL, gun control, Wall Street etc. With all these issues on his plate Sanders could not possibly have the ample time to reform the campaign finance system and get money out of politics.

However, with Lessig’s plan, the nation comes together as a whole on one issue, which is really the most important issue there is. Money in politics is like the head of a snake, you take care of that and everything else becomes a lot easier.

During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, Lessig states that Bernie Sanders is “running a campaign to win, not to govern.” He also adds that Bernie is “talking about the problem, but not giving us a plan for how it will be fixed.” Lessig hit the nail on the head.

Sanders still has my support, but when it comes to choosing a candidate that is going to reform the campaign finance system and get money out of politics, the referendum candidate gets my vote.

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