Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig speaks on stage at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on Sept. 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Scott Eisen—Getty Images
November 2, 2015 3:59 PM EST

Harvard professor and Democratic presidential hopeful Lawrence Lessig says he is ending his campaign after a party rule change made him ineligible to participate in the next Democratic debate.

Lessig said the Democratic party now requires debate participants to have 1% support in three polls at least six weeks before the debate—milestones he had yet to reach at the beginning of October.

“Unless we can time-travel, there is no way I can qualify,” he said in a YouTube video announcing his decision. “It is now clear the party won’t let me be a candidate, and I can’t ask people to support a campaign that I know can’t even get before the members of the Democratic party.”

Lessig’s campaign was unusual. Were he elected, he planned to resign from the presidency after passing what he calls the Citizens Equality Act, a bill focused on reforming Congress through new campaign finance rules, the expansion of the voting body and the end of gerrymandering.

Lessig said entering the Democratic debates was a key component of his campaign. “I may be known in tiny corners of the tubes of the Internets,” he said, “but I am not well known to the American public generally.”

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