Lawrence Lessig Would Not Have Qualified for CBS Debate

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Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig ran for president mainly to raise awareness for his ideas about campaign finance reform, then dropped out when he couldn’t get much of a hearing.

The CBS Democratic debate criteria are in, and they show he wouldn’t have gotten a boost even if he had stayed in.

According to the CBS criteria shared Thursday afternoon with TIME ahead of next week’s debate, Lessig would not have been allowed on the debate stage with frontrunner Hillary Clinton, challenger Bernie Sanders and underdog Martin O’Malley.

The Nov. 14 debate requires candidates to have polled above 1% in national polls recognized by CBS News over a five week period from Sept. 29 to Nov. 3, CBS said. Many polls had not asked about Lessig, and in a CBS poll taken last month, the minor presidential candidate registered no support.

“Now from the start it was clear that getting into the Democratic debates was the essential step in this campaign,” Lessig said in a video on Monday when he announced he was dropping out. “I may be known in tiny corners of the tubes of the internets, but I am not well-known to the American public generally.”

Lessig, a political activist, attorney and Harvard Law School professor was the founder of the Mayday PAC, whose purpose is electing candidates to Congress who will pass campaign finance reform. His primary campaign motive was ending the influence of big money in politics.

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