Like Larry Lessig, CNN® Didn’t Want Bernie Sanders In the Debate Either…Probably.
By Tim Carthon (Blog #23: Politics)
This past Tuesday was the first Democratic Party Candidate ‘Fight Night’ of the 2016 Presidential campaign season, and did you notice something really obvious? Presidential Candidate Larry “The Professor” Lessig wasn’t in the ring.
Wait, you didn’t notice that?
Oh, it was probably because you didn’t know who he was or that he was even running, you know, since his name was taken off of the fight undercard; the list of candidates for pollsters to give to the people they were polling around the country.
That was definitely not by accident.
Since the controversial and political-campaign-changing Citizens United ruling, money has increasingly become the primary determining factor politically of which direction to go and what corporate decisions will and won’t be made. Although he fit every criteria that was required of him to be included, Lessig was excluded from the Democratic Presidential Debate by the very entity that made the rules.
That decision to keep the Harvard Professor from the debate seems to have been a calculated one based solely in money and power. To understand this rationale, you have to first know and understand what candidate Larry Lessig’s entire campaign is about, and it’s rather simple:
Get money out of politics.
Secondly, you then have to methodically follow the Citizens United corporate-money-to-political-campaigns breadcrumbs.
THE GAME CHANGER
Since SCOTUS’ infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling, money in politics has become a severely corrupting, democracy-crippling force, so much so to where even if “We, The People” don’t want a candidate, they can stay in the race as long as they have a multi-millionaire/billionaire donor. So essentially one (1) person can fund a massively-unwanted candidate’s entire political campaign. This is done through what’s known as a Super PAC.
No, I’m not kidding. One single, solitary person, and “We, The People” be da#@!d. That’s power (Did your head explode yet?).
Now I know what you’re thinking:
How do the voices of democracy break through the millions of dollars from multi-millionaire and billionaire donors?
DING, DING, DING, DING! That’s Professor Lessig’s entire point. How do the severely-muffled voices of millions of people compete with the bullhorn-powered millions of dollars? In today’s money-saturated, political America, there seems to be no way for that voice to compete. No way for that voice to break through, which leaves only one option:
Have the money completely removed from politics.
This, however, can only be done one way temporarily and another way pretty much permanently.
- The Supreme Court of the United States overturns the Citizens United Ruling (temporarily).
- A Constitutional Amendment banning private money from politics (pretty much permanently).
Now I know the next thing you’re wondering:
How does any of this apply to news outlets like CNN® to where they’d block someone like Lessig from debating?
It’s simple. You just have to follow the breadcrumbs, and they include corporate conglomerates and both the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Lessig wrote a powerful article about being blocked from the Democratic Presidential Debate entitled, ‘I’m Trying to Run for President, But the Democrats Won’t Let Me.’ And, based on what I’m seeing, I am inclined to believe him.
Since the passing of the infamous Citizens United ruling, companies have been making record political-based profits and entities have been bringing in record amounts of political donations from two things:
- The massive increase in ad buys on their television stations and websites (CNN® anyone?)
- The passing of court rulings and congressional laws that are more favorable to corporations financially, passed by the very politicians who just so happened to have corporations donating millions of dollars to their campaign-supported Super PACs (Republican and Democratic Parties anyone?).
These corporations and political entities in America work together directly and indirectly for a single purpose.
Just look at what has happened in the past 32 years to the “objectiveness” of the media:
No, you’re not seeing that incorrectly. These six (6) companies control 90% of the media in America where it used to be 50 companies back in 1983. The laws being passed over the past 32 years that financially-favor corporations have allowed this power consolidation and inevitable control of our media and elected officials to be placed in the hands of a handful of conglomerates, owned by an even smaller handful of billionaires.
So it begs to reason that if your singular focus is to get rid of the pile of corporate money on which the American political and ‘news’ systems are run, then that is a bad thing for the corporations that run them and the politicians that receive enormous amounts of money from them, wouldn’t you think?
Hence, the dismissal of Lessig by both CNN® and the Democratic Party.
THE UNLIKELY CONTENDER
Unfortunately for those same two entities, Lessig isn’t the only one on the Democratic side of the Presidential Candidate isle talking about the corruption of politics through skewed, immoral capitalism and private campaign donations. There is another contender, and he’s hungry. He’s Rocky Balboa to current national front-runner Hillary Clinton’s Apollo Creed.
(*Clearing my throat…) “At 74 years young, standing at 5’8″, hailing from Burlington, Vermont, the former 4-Term Mayor, former 8-Term Representative, and current 2-Term U.S. Senator, he is…the Independent Socialist with the Mostalist…Bernie “Feel the Beeeeeeeeeeern” Sanders!“
*And the 19,000-attendee Portland, OR crowd goes wild!*
The question is: Is Sanders Rocky Balboa from the 1st Rocky who just wanted to go the distance with Creed, or is he Rocky from Rocky II who told his trainer in the corner, “I ain’t goin’ down no more“? It is increasingly looking like the latter. However, just like Lessig, he is up against a juggernaut of corporate conglomerates who have poured massive amounts of money into the party for which he’s running for the Presidential nomination, and neither are going to make it easy for him. They’re attempting to marginalize him at every turn. Check it out:
However, they really didn’t do their homework on this contender. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders brings a long-held arsenal of political punches to the ring;
- A strong women’s rights jab
- A straight education reform right hand
- A foreign policy left to the mid-section
- A right to the economic and political corruption body
- A racial justice check left hook
- And a right income and wealth inequality uppercut.
His strongest punch is his uppercut, but he also throws a hard right to the body, the same as Lessig. Without Lessig in the debate, it would be left up to Senator Sanders to make it into the ring so he could throw verbal blows all night at his ‘corporatist Democratic opponent’ Hillary “Apollo Creed” Clinton about how the corrupting of the democratic process (due in part to the money from her wealthy donors) has severely weakened the nation’s middle and lower economic classes.
Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the CEO of Time Warner (CNN’s parent company) Robert D. Marcus and the Democratic Party (to which I wouldn’t doubt they’ve monetarily donated), there was no legitimate or viable way to keep Sanders out of the debate. This was due to his very high poll numbers achieved months before the debates were even announced, which cut them off before they could even try to kick him out.
Lessig was not so lucky.
Allowing Lessig’s singular-issue-focused voice into the debates would have highlighted, on a national scale (15M people watched the debate…a Democratic debate record, by the way), the biggest, most important problem in current electoral politics:
As Cenk Uygur would say, “It’s the money, Lebowski!“
Sadly, even with Senator Sanders fighting hard, building coalitions, garnering massive support, raising record amounts of money from small donors, and ultimately being allowed in the debates (to date), he’s up against the same ‘powers that be’ in the Democratic Party that have allowed donating individuals and corporations to corrupt the political process.
THE POLITICAL CORRUPTION EFFECT
Take House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example. On one of the October 12th segments of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, she said something that was arguably much more damaging to the political process than what House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said about Hillary Clinton and the House Select Committee on Benghazi. I was absolutely stunned when I watched her say it, so much so to where I rewound it several times. Yet, no one seemed to even pay attention, let along care about its seeming implications:
“Now I think we have all good candidates running on the Democratic side . Any one of them would be a good President, but, in this field, Hillary Clinton is the person who will be our nominee.”
I’m sorry Leader Pelosi, I generally like you and all, but did the 2016 Democratic National Convention already pass and I missed it?
No, it didn’t.
Notice how she didn’t preface it with an “I believe she will be the nominee”? And no. In no way did she sound like she was guessing the outcome. She just seemed to have one of those rare truthful politician moments and made what used to be called a gaffe (which no one has seemed to even notice), but now has become something easily overlooked because the corruption and ‘illusion of choice’ has been placed right in front of our faces due to Citizens United.
So what did her words mean exactly?
Something very simple. The political classes, who are now ruled by the money from corporations, are not interested in what you as a citizen think. They’re not interested in what or who you want. They’re seemingly and simply trying to control what you think because they already have who they want. So, they’re just letting you go through the motions so you can think you’re choosing someone and actually feel good about illusion. Yes, choice has become an illusion. Wait…
…where have I heard that before? Oh yes, from The Great George Carlin.
THE CORPORATE CORRUPTION EFFECT
Speaking of illusions, we all know that Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate and, although currently a U.S. Senator, her closest rival Bernie Sanders is not. After Tuesday night’s 1st Democratic Presidential debate, look at how the so-called news organizations judged the first debate (REMEMBER: 90% of all media in America is owned by only six  corporate entities):
Now compare that to actual people who were in focus groups around the country who, unlike corporations, will actually be voting. Look at who the people feel won the debate:
See a pattern here?
The pattern is simple and clear. Corporations = Hillary. “We, The People” = Bernie, but because studies have shown that the amount of media coverage affects election polling and six (6) corporations control 90% of the ‘news’ you see in America, all of the ‘news’ outlets seem to be in lockstep with who they ‘think’ won the debate. It just so happens that their ‘winner’ is the establishment candidate who’s taking their presidential campaign donations (Hillary Clinton) and not the non-establishment candidate who isn’t (Bernie Sanders). So it makes one wonder:
Are we even watching real news?
Which brings me back to CNN®.
CORRUPT SYSTEM PROTECTION PLAN: EXECUTE!
In a genius business move, CNN® removed Larry Lessig not only from the debate, but from the national polls. In order to protect their future monetary windfalls, they seem to have taken a gamble that Lessig didn’t have a big enough following yet to cause a large enough uproar; an uproar that would more than likely have forced them to do something similar to what they had to do for Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, which was give her a non-existent slot on the main Republican debate stage.
You’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t Carly Fiorina like a deeply-ingrained part of the corporate and political establishment?“
Yes she is, no doubt. However, she’s also a woman, and to push a man out of a slot for a woman is a no-no in the male-dominated, corporate and political worlds. So, they just circumvented their own debate entry rules (just like they did Lessig, but in reverse) and scooted one man over and slid her right in there. So, instead of the so-called limit of 10, it became the stage of 11.
(*Robert De Niro voice…) “What debate entry rules? I don’t see no stinkin’ debate entry rules!“
Which brings me to the number 12.
Could 12-time Boxing Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. even beat the corporate and political odds Lessig is up against? Well, now that I think about it, of course HE could. Didn’t you see his middle name?
So, as a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars, yes, Mayweather would beat the corporate and political odds, and easily…again…all because he fits into the same monetary bracket of the individuals and entities who/that control the political and economic systems in America. Unfortunately, CNN® and the Democratic National Committee were 100% correct in their gamble against contender Lawrence “Larry” Lessig, who is worth considerably less, at least to this point. Think about it:
Have you heard any mainstream, viral outrage about Lessig not being allowed in the debate, even though he has secured all of the necessary criteria to do so?
Game. Set. (Fixed) match. A tennis reference, I know, but if it fits, then you must equip.
Tim Carthon; Advocate, Speaker, Author, Educator