Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic


Translator: Milenka Okuka
Reviewer: Mile Živković So, it turns out exactly a year ago, right now, right this minute,
a year ago in Hong Kong, an extraordinary protest began. Protest begun by students, literally, high school
and college students, elementary school students, then their parents
felt a little embarrassed that they had let their kids work so hard
and then they showed up as well. And the protest was about a law. And the law was proposed by China. The law was to determine how the Governor of Hong Kong
would be selected. The law said, “The ultimate aim
is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative
nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” OK, so the idea was,
there’s a two step process. The first step was nomination, and then the second step
was an election. The nominating committee
would be comprised of about 1200 people which means out of seven million people that is .02 percent of Hong Kong. Alright, .02% as you can see
is a really tiny number. (Laughter) Really, really small. If you thought about it,
relative to all the people in Hong Kong, it would look something like this, this tiny little corner is .02 percent. So .02% get to pick the candidates, that the rest of Hong Kong
gets to vote among. And the protest was because the fear
was this filter would be a biased filter. The claim was that .02% would be dominated by a pro-Beijing business
and political elite. So 99.98% would be excluded
from this critical first step with the consequence, obviously,
of producing a democracy responsive to China only. OK, now, it turns out the Chinese
stole this idea from an American. Don’t worry, there was no patent,
no copyrights, there’s no IP violations going on here. But they stole the idea from an American. Maybe the greatest
political philosopher in America – a man named Boss Tweed. (Laughter) Boss Tweed had
a Tammany Hall political party. He used to say,
“I don’t care who does the electing, as long as I get to do the nominating.” (Laughter) So, this conception, this kind of – (Laughter) (Applause) conception of politics
has an obvious logic to it, right because, if you control the nomination, every candidate was going to worry
what you, the nominator, think. So, you practically control the candidate, whether or not you control
the ultimate election. We can call that genius theory – that genius theory for
destroying democracy – Tweedism. Any two stage process
where the Tweeds get to nominate and then the rest get to select
is Tweedism. And the consequence
of Tweedism, obviously, is producing a system responsive
to Tweeds only. Now, Tweedism was practised
not just in the North, not just in New York, it was practiced in the South too. Texas in 1923
practiced Tweedism by a law. In 1923 Texas passed statute that said, “In the Democratic primary
only whites could vote.” Only whites could vote. Blacks can vote in the General Elections,
if of course they could get registered, given all the barriers to registration. But only whites
could vote in a democratic Primary. And of course, back then,
hard to imagine, but back then the only party that mattered
was the Democratic Party in Texas. So, in this two stage process,
blacks were excluded from the first stage. 16% of Texas excluded from
this critical first stage, with the consequence obviously of producing a democracy
responsive to whites only. Now, those cases are obvious to us. Everyone looks at that and says,
there is something obviously wrong with those so called democracies
to set up their structure in that way. So why don’t we see it here? We take it for granted in the US,
that campaigns will be privately funded. But we need to recognize funding
is its own contest, funding is its own Primary. We have the voting system,
where people vote, but in the first stage to that
there is a Money Primary that determines which candidates
are allowed to run in those voting elections. Now, that Money Primary takes time. Members of Congress
and candidates for Congress spend anywhere between
30 and 70 percent of their time dialing for – this is an old telephone,
you might not recognize this – but dialing for dollars. Calling people all across the country
to get the money they need to run their campaigns,
or to get their party back into power. B. F. Skinner gave us this wonderful
image of the skinner box where any stupid animal could learn
which buttons it needed to push for its sustenance. This is the picture of the life
of the modern American Congress person As the modern American Congress person – (Applause) comes to learn which buttons
he or she needs to push to get the sustenance he or she needs
to make his or her campaign successful. This is their life, and it has an effect. Each of them, as they do this,
develop a “sixth sense”, a constant awareness of how what they do
might affect their ability to raise money. They become, in the words of “X Files”,
“shape shifters”, as they constantly adjust their views
in light of what they know will help them to raise money. Not on issues 1-10,
but on issues 11-1000. Leslie Byrne, a Democrat from Virginia,
describes that when she went to Congress she was told by a colleague,
“Always lean to the green.” And to clarify, she went on, “You know,
he was not an environmentalist.” (Laughter) So this obviously is a Primary too. It is the Money Primary. It’s not the White Primary,
it’s the Green Primary. It’s the first stage
in a multistage process to select the candidates
who will represent us. So, if this is the structure,
we should interrogate who are the funders. Or we can think about
who the biggest funders are. In the 2014, the top 100 gave
as much as the bottom 4.75 million funders to congressional campaigns. In this election cycle so far,
400 families have given half the money in the election contributions
and contributions to Super PAC, so far. Four hundred families! That is not American democracy.
That is Banana Republic democracy. (Laughter) And then we can think
not just about the biggest funders but think about the relevant funders. Of course the people giving
millions of dollars have the attention of the members of Congress. But how much do you need to give
to be relevant? How much do you need to give
to be big enough to matter to those Congress people
as they are dialing for dollars to raise money from you. Let’s take people who maxed out in 2014. And in 2014 – that means you gave
5,200 dollars to at least one candidate in the General Primary
and in the General Election. In 2014, it turns out,
57,874 Americans maxed out in that way. So we could say,
57,874 gave enough to matter to control, to be the dominant force
in this first stage of the election process. And, some of you out there,
the math genius out there might do the numbers. 54,874, hey wait a minute,
that’s .02% – (Laughter) – of America. .02% of America dominate this first stage
in the process of electing the candidates who will represent us. They pick the candidates,
because you can’t be credible unless you get their money. And we get to vote for those candidates. This tiny fraction of the 1%,
this Chinese fraction of the 1% dominate the first stage
with the consequence, obviously, of producing a democracy responsive
to these funders only. It’s Princeton study,
which, as a Harvard professor I’m not allowed to talk about much,
let’s get it off the stage quick. By Martin Gilens and Ben Page,
the largest empirical study of actual decisions by our government
in the history of political science, related the actual decisions
of our government over the past 40 years with the views of the economic elite,
the views of organized interest groups and the views of the average voter. And what they found was
there was a nice correlation between the views of the economic elite
and what our government actually did. So, as you go from 0% of the elite
supporting something to 100%, the probability of that proposal
being passed, goes up. Same thing
with organized special interest groups. As the number
of them support something increases, the probability
of that proposal being passed, goes up. Here is the graph for the average voter. It is a flat line. Flat line, literally and figuratively. What this is saying is,
as the percentage of average voter supporting a proposal goes from 0 to 100% it doesn’t change the probability
that that proposal will be enacted. As they put in English, “When the preferences
of the economic elites and the stands
of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American
appear to have only a miniscule near-zero, statistically non-significant
impact on public policy.” In a democracy, this is true. Alright, here’s the picture that we had,
we were told of our democracy. There we were, citizens, driving the bus. But here is the reality, the reality is – (Laughter) (Applause) the reality is the steering wheel
has become detached from this bus, we don’t drive the bus anymore. We do not, that anecdotally,
in the most aggressive empirical analysis have no relationship
to what our government does. This is a product of Tweedism. And what Tweedism is, is first corruption. It’s a corruption of the design
of our representative democracy. When Madison gave us
our representative democracy he described it, in “Federals” 52,
to be a system that would have a branch – Congress that would be,
“dependent on the people alone.” An exclusive dependence. But that’s not our Congress. They are dependent on the people
and dependent on the Tweeds. And then to go on, to clarify,
Madison in “Federals” 57 said, by the people he means,
“Not the rich, more than the poor.” Not the rich, more than the poor. But that is not our reality. The people today mean,
not the rich, more than the poor, except for the Tweeds. The Tweeds have more power
than the middle class and the poor. This is corruption. It is not criminals, it is a system
in which decent people who come to this city
to do the right thing find themselves bent to do the thing
the Tweeds demand – because that’s the only way
you can survive. It is corruption. But it is caused by a basic inequality that we have allowed to evolve
inside of our representative system. An inequality. Remember Orwell’s, “All animals
are created equal.” And what we’ve got here,
all animals are created equal but the Tweeds are more equal than others. It is inequality. But what is critical about recognizing
that it is inequality is, if we could remove the inequality; if we could address
that fundamental inequality in this representative democracy; If we could neutralize this Tweedism,
then we could crack the corruption that makes it impossible
for our government to do any of the things
we want our government to do. We could achieve a system dependent
on the people alone because only the people
would be having the influence inside our government. It would be a system where not the rich,
more than the poor were the people because every one would,
because of this equality, have the capacity to press the government in the direction they want
the government pressed. Equality. I’m not talking about wealth equality,
that’s important to worry about too. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about inequality
we have as citizens. And to get that, what I’ve been arguing,
we need to talk about is a statute, that Congress ought to pass tomorrow. Statute, let’s call it
the Citizen Equality Act. What the Citizen Equality Act does first,
it changes the way campaigns are funded. To make it so that instead
of this Green Primary we have a Money Primary, but citizens are funding these campaigns,
as much as anyone else. The money comes from all of us
through proposals like the American Anti-Corruption Act, or John Sarbanes’
Government by the People Act that would provide
small dollar public funding to fund congressional campaigns. So that they wouldn’t be dependent
on this tiny few, to fund their campaigns. That’s the critical
first dimension of equality we ought to insert back
into this representative democracy. And there’s other inequalities
inside of our system. We need equal representation
inside of our system. This article, this fantastic article
written by Christopher Ingraham for the Washington Post graphs these gerrymandered districts
in the United States. These are congressional districts
in the US. Here is my favorite example of this. You can see the natural community
that bonds these people together here. (Laughter) This is a system – they said it’s crimes against geography,
that’s kind of a nice way of putting it. This is the system where the politicians
are picking the voters. The voters
aren’t picking the politicians. And they pick the voters
to create safe seats. Democrats and Republicans
both play this game. So, in our Congress today,
90 seats are competitive. Which means 345 seats
are these safe seats. Which means, if you are minority party
in each of these 345 seats, you don’t matter to the representative because the representative knows
he or she doesn’t need you. Which means 89 million Americans
are not represented in this system, because we structured this in a way
that makes sure that these people don’t count. That is inequality. And Fair Vote has a proposal
which is incorporated in the Citizen Equality Act to radically change the way
we make these districts work so that we have proportional
fair representation across the country. And finally, an Equal Freedom to Vote. The absurd ways in which we make it hard
for people to vote. And it is not accidental
how we make it hard for people to vote. In the last election 10 million people
had to wait more than 30 minutes to vote. Which for people with nannies and iPhones
might not seem like a bad thing but if you are a working family
who can’t afford that kind of support, that’s a poll tax
that is too high for too many. And of course as the – (Applause) as the Brennan Center found
in a study that they made of this, this poll tax
is correlated strongly with race. It is racially correlated in a sense that
where there are black or brown districts they are less likely to have the resources necessary
to make it possible to vote easily. That, of course, I think is more directly
correlated with party which leads to many proposals incorporated
in the Citizens Equality Act, including
the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would attack some of these provisions
that make it hard for people to vote. And Bernie Sanders’ suggestion
of Democracy Day, where we move voting to a holiday
so working people can vote just as easily as those who don’t have to. (Applause) So these three ideas
get wrapped into one statute, the statute Congress could pass tomorrow
to achieve this equality to make
this representative democracy possible. OK, now, I push this as the core fight
we ought to have and people say, well why? There are so many issues out there
why would you pick this one to push? And there is a practical reason. The practical reason is we will get
nothing from this government, until we get this. You want this government to address
the problem of climate change, we will not get
climate change legislation, until we address
this fundamental inequality in this broken democracy. You want Congress to address
the problem of social security to make sure that there is social security we will not get a government
to address that problem until we fix this democracy. You want Congress to address
the problem of student debt. We’re not going to address
the problem of student debt until we address
this problem of democracy. So it is not that this
is the most important issue. It’s not that those issues
are the most important issues, this is just the first issue. This is the issue we have got to solve,
if we are going to have any chance to solve the long list
of critical problems that we as a nation must address. So practically this is why
we need to put this first. But it is not just practical, it is moral. 400 years after slavery came
to these shores, I think it is time we have
a peaceful fight for equality. That we have a campaign,
a national campaign, everybody who rallies around the idea
that it is finally time that we stand up
for this idea of equality. It is an embarrassment to our traditions that in 2015 we have movements that need
to assert that black lives matter. How can that possibly be? (Applause) Well, I can tell you that it is because we have a political system
that doesn’t count us equally. We have a political system
that counts some more than others. We have a political system that betrays the fundamental idea
of a representative democracy. 54 years ago, Martin Luther King
went to Lincoln University, gave a speech in which he said,
“America is essentially a dream, the substance of the dream is expressed
in these sublime words words lifted to cosmic proportions:
that all are created equal.” We’ve heard it said that the Pope
shouldn’t talk about climate science, so I shouldn’t talk about
what the Creator meant, but let me tell you about the reality,
whatever the Creator meant, reality is we are not equal
in America today. Reality is we do have
second class citizens in America today. And the reality is until we confront
the fact that this ideal is a fantasy in America today, we will not begin to have a democracy
that represents us. We need to learn from our brothers and sisters
fifty years ago who risked their lives
to fight for equality. And we need to learn
from our brothers and sisters from all the way around the world who are risking their lives now
to fight for equality. To fight for equality,
to love for equality. To sacrifice that sense of love,
to sacrifice for equality. because if we don’t,
how will we look at our children, who will look back at us and say, “Look at what you inherited
and then squandered. Look at what you had and then left to us.” Because we were given the nation
with the potential to be the greatest democracy in the world and we have allowed that potential to die. Thank you very much. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

100 comments on “Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic”

  1. Joe Uehlein says:

    4 years later there are still protests in Hong Kong and Beijing is closer to taking complete control. America is still a Republic (not a democracy) and the people elected a president who no political party wanted in office. Our rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are under attack mostly by the liberals because they seek complete power. These same liberals seek to change our system of government to socialism to better serve the people. Our representative Republic that this professor revers is in jeopardy – he calls it corruption. Yet he is one of those elitist academics who is now endorsing the agenda of these liberals.

  2. Torbjörn Lekberg says:

    Another thing is that the elections in the US is held during a work day, wich forces people to take the day off. Somthing the poorest rarely can afford. In my homeland it is always done on a sunday.

  3. LostInThe0zone says:

    The United States was never a democracy. It is a representative republic.

  4. Are See says:

    One would think a Harvard law professor would know the law better. We don't have a democracy but a limited Constitutional republic.

  5. John Stockton says:

    Tweedism happens all the time. In the UK Labour and Conservatives are one in the same a false choice. You know when an outsider comes in, the establishment goes after them to destroy them.

  6. Beth Helmey says:

    Get rid of the white people from this our land.Evolution is however doing its best as we watch their population shrink.

  7. Erica Allispn says:

    So run for president then

  8. Jim Nichols says:

    Well professor cupcake you might have needed to stay awake during civics class, as the USA is not a Democracy but a Federated Republic…

  9. Dan Jones says:

    Half of America doesn’t vote, I wonder why? Bush1, Clinton, Bush2, Obama and Trump, does it really matter which war Criminal is Dropping the bombs and keeping people in poverty?

  10. Raykibb says:

    Excellent talk! Campaign reform is essential for our continued Democracy. Make all elections publicly funded, give equal air time to each candidate, and no PACs campaigning for or against candidates. I see the First Amendment issues, so this may need to be done through a Constitutional Amendment, providing Campaign Reform and overruling Citizens United.

  11. Robert Wilber says:

    The US is not a democracy. It never was meant to be.

  12. Adam Cohen says:

    I love his message the message is so good I wish it was delivered by somebody that was a little bit better speaker for the general public I mean

  13. Kelly Wheatley says:

    We are not a democracy, WE are a Republic. Thought you said you were a teacher? Teach the right stuff then

  14. tomfreed says:

    Yep i agree. It is worsen now with sob Trump in power.

  15. Maple Leafs says:

    Senators get elected not to serve but to get wealthy and doing so are not interested in the people and steering the country in the wrong direction.

  16. Get a Life says:

    This is. It a democracy. It is a republic. Maybe that’s the problem – ignorance.

  17. Brian Cullen says:

    Isn't this old news?

  18. Brian Cullen says:

    I've been thinking this for years.

  19. Brian Cullen says:

    Now this is worth a referendum.

  20. Vichit video says:

    Did the British allow the Hong Kong people to directly elect their leader during the period it ruled this Chinese island?

  21. Macarthyism says:

    Look buddy if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem! Oh I listen once already I am not going to put myself through that again. And stop talking down about our President

  22. Smoovie119 says:

    Nothing has changed.

  23. Yeah ok says:

    Do u the Sheeple really need someone to inform u of n explain this 2u?¿

  24. Tapajara says:

    A democracy fails when most of the people are trying to be parasites off everyone else by using the government to steal from their neighbors.

  25. Dirk Hunter says:

    btw, we are not a democracy. We are a republic! I am often amazed how uninformed educated people really are…

  26. Missy V says:

    When one notes that after working all their lives almost all 18 million U.S. citizens couldn't afford healthcare in 1965 and Medicare was enacted 54 yrs ago, one wouldn't entertain such an absurd notion of belief. It's a
    de-mockery- a fool'$ massive delusion, and few dare can handle the truth.

  27. Alan Roberts says:

    It's painful to see the problems with our country exposed almost daily and with a lot of expertise in the way it is done. If this was the intention of our government and constitution, I think most people would wonder if it wasn't working out very nicely. Both sides are getting their messages put out there in a fair impartial way. And there are fair and dependable ways in which our elections are held and people in general have a good secure feeling in their bellies, to know that our two party system can take care of any foreseeable problems that may arise.
    Does anyone agree with that? Anyone???

  28. Victor Y says:

    The western governors look after the people who funded them to win ,only the Chinese government really looks after the entire people.

  29. Global Vision Traders says:

    God-bless you and thank you for standing up for our human rights

  30. Hector Gonzalez says:

    Bernie Bernie Bernie

  31. justin miller says:

    Jews

  32. airraid713 says:

    Liberal elitism is the primary infection of this cancer..

  33. daveat191 says:

    This talk is for everyone and is most important for our nation. As the man says, Congress could fix it tomorrow but they won't because they don't want public financed elections. A few, like Bernie try but the majority refuse. Several Democratic candidates refuse big money and often lose but voters are getting smarter…..I hope. Oligarch or plutocracy is what we really have.

  34. david asher says:

    That was a good one!

  35. beyondfubar says:

    Tweedism is extremely old. But for whatever reason he doesn't explain that Madison's original plan, which I think is extremely important to understand here, in the actual plan you did not elect Senators, just representatives. That's new in fact, politically. Also you didn't even go through the charade of electing a president. You elected your state leadership who appointed/elected virtually everyone else. Scary, but also removed the negative feedback loops perceived at the time.

  36. Joe Glassy says:

    Good ideas. But we also need a broader continuum of parties, eg 5-7 truly viable parties. The Big Tent is obsolete—Two parties cannot hope to represent the diversity of political will and ideas in the US. We need a parliamentary style system with forced coalitions to break endless deadlock. Move to Amend is also working to address the money issue so well articulated here.

  37. Joshua Phillips says:

    Why dont we have a selection when we are voting that we say we want new canidates i vote for non of these and want new canidates

  38. Fifth Entity says:

    Very persuasive, very sublime manipulation of facts. That's real fist class demagogy for you–half-truths expertly mixed up with lies. Political propaganda in US is getting better and better all the time, very few people are going to be able to see through the con job so expertly put together.
    Well, look at the bright side, if con artists are getting more sophisticated, it means their victims are getting smarter.

  39. MrPyrotonic says:

    The illusion of participation. The average American has no say in the nomination process. The average american has no say in who wins the election unless they are an delegate of the electoral college. We have no control. Its an illusion of participation. The majority of this country does not chose its leaders in any stage of the process. WE are being played by oligarchs.

  40. arhern7 says:

    Bernie 2020!! 100% funded by the people!

  41. Voice of Reason says:

    You had me until you said the BLM movement was now necessary. I understand the impetus of the movement was racially motivated police brutality. Statistics do not bear this out.

  42. Andraith016 says:

    Still waiting for the part where we hang the plutocrats from trees and hit them with big sticks until all the candy falls out.

  43. Al Cubed says:

    This speaker made me want to cry. Great speech.

  44. Alfredo Rebolar says:

    Why didn’t this speaker give any example of a country where his perfect equalitarian democracy exists? Because there isn’t such a country.

  45. Unknown Soul says:

    America is a lost cause. Just give up, technology made our revolution impossible. Might as well just figure out how to make the last days of an inhabitable earth decent. Dont have kids, that's selfish; just party til the end. Alot less stress, just saying.

  46. Gary Hallford says:

    Sadly, this does not work in the USA. Fascism is alive and well…

  47. Jons LG says:

    The sad truth is, even when the economy is doing good most Americans aren't doing good economically. Not 65%

  48. Chuck Desylva says:

    Impressive.

  49. Ariues_Love says:

    demockery, democrazy

  50. DrDavenstein says:

    If you want to abolish the electoral college, you are tweetbait. If you want to suppress minority votes, you are a democrat. Simple logic…

  51. Phred Flypogger says:

    I've never heard a more accurate presentation. The system is well and truly broken.
    How about we make elections web based. Save heaps of money, makes it available to all and secures greater participation. 1) Anybody can nominate themselves subject to specific background qualifications, education, work experience etc. 2) There is a questionnaire to allow everybody to choose the issues that are most important to them. 3) Every candidate gets a web page to express their policies on various matters. 4) The people cast their vote over the web and the computers quickly tally the winner.

  52. Don farlan says:

    Democracy means when you get more you get charged more.

  53. Darkages says:

    To righ it doesn’t. The majority voice has been shunned. The only thing that matters is the minority voice.

  54. Marcin Kożuch says:

    I agree 100%. If you don't implement these fundamental changes, China will rule the world.

  55. Terrie Cotham says:

    For a nation to be grate its laws and justice system must work for all and be fair and have laws base on common sense, science, real facts tanking into accounts all the effects on its people , not just those going to jail or free but the common dirt poor person who could be homeless,

    For a nation to be grate it must have a medical system that works well for all the people

    For a nation to be grate it must potect the small farmer at all cost and promote people to plant and grow food in there back or front yards, In schools were kids can grow food for lunch's or set up food stands to rase money for school functions like sports or field trips to Museums were the mins of the young can learn.

    For a nation to be grate Big business should have no real hand in supporting and one for office

    For a nation to be grate all the people in DC should be paid by the state and there housing as well and this would stop them from voting for laws that give then benfenes for life and they should have no special benfines the common man does not have

    For a nation to be grate its police officers DA,S or any one hiding, lying or keeping evidence should receive at lease double the time or 4 X the time when found Guilty of knowing sending the wrong person to jail

    For a nation to be grate its police can not and should not receive any incentives in the form of cash, days off or other things for wiring high amount of tickets. taking people to jail or any thing that would let police and DA,S do or get away with things like the Tula Texas case or the HPD case were it looks like police Lie to get the waqrren and the home owners were killed along with the dog and it seems the lead officer had unaccounted for drugs in his police car.

    For a nation to be grate out kids in high school should be train to thank and not just to believe ever thing on TV, Radio or from other people like Police or Govmend leaders

    Yes thiere are so many things that can make a natation grate but many things can tear down a grate nation as well like

    When people loose respect for the rule of law or those with the job to enforance it

    When base heath care is not open to all and is base on ones weath

    When schools do not sent kids out into the world woth open mines and looking for the best path for all not just the street or road paived with Gold and have no trouble walking on those who work so hard to build it

    When the young have no respect for each other or the Old

    At times all we can do is work for a better world for those to come if not out kids could find a world were Hope, Respect, Dreams and Trust die a slow death at the hand of some who thank their better than them.

    Just look at WW2, and the killing on both sides, the KKK who saw them selves standing at the right hand of God and had no trubble killing in the name of him or the law or the Rwanda Massager were one group believe the land would be full of Milk & Honey and in truth all they got was the smell of rotting bodes in the streets of those some had called friends just days before or 911, OKC, Boston

    Control who can gets in and you can control the world and its people to a point by using the words of God, War or Race

    Just a note to thank on

  56. The_Endgame says:

    Sanders Warren 2020!!

  57. Rinzin Namdruel says:

    EVERYTHING IS SOLD….INCLUDING US!

  58. NickLeo Smash says:

    We could fix it if we elect Andrew Yang 2020

  59. Charles Nelson says:

    I would say that the election of Donald Trump, in the very teeth of a vicious, corrupt and unscrupulous establishment 
    that was so vehemently opposed to him…is proof that in the US; democracy represents the people.
    I would also say that the bravery of the British in voting to escape the EU nightmare…despite a relentless campaign of
    scares and denigration by the 'establishment' and their pals in the media is also a triumph for democracy.
    Finally I would say that 'Harvard' Professor Larry Lessig does NOT represent the people and is a mouthpiece for the very elites
    he purports to challenge.
    On the positive side a good educator could this entire TED talk as an almost perfect illustration of 'Irony'.

  60. Hans Kramer says:

    It is like the five degrees of Kevin Bacon, where everyone knows him through five people relationships away; but only when he played "The Invisible Man". 1+1=10 for the unseen and they are detached from reality by their pursuit of mammon. They turn away from the billions of people who live in accordance with the laws of math. We have been capitalized and there is no more money for Democracy (the problem) so the rich get a tax cut. 1+1=20. It is 'fixed' Larry.

  61. IloveDoubleD says:

    Not sure where this guy lives but if it's the U.S., it's not a democracy. Never was.

  62. Qi Siang Ng says:

    This is like late-stage Venice before it got conquered by Napoleon

  63. Wisdom Child says:

    Great job sir.

  64. Tonydfixer D says:

    Tweedism

  65. balazs hideghety says:

    Well, in our country the selected parties gets their money from each citizen vote (from taxes). But guess what: there's still a 0.02% that does add some extras (legally or illegally) to get their favorable conditions… Votes are on weekends, yet participation is very low…

  66. An Ominous Anonymous says:

    Well, to be fair, most people in America aren't qualified to vote.

  67. John Mullins says:

    We do not now nor ever have had a democracy in America. We have a constitutional republic.

  68. FlamingManofIron says:

    Fascinating video, and it also explains why Trump's election was so contested – was the he wasn't an "approved" candidate by the 0.02%.

  69. zac blake says:

    Great useless emotional pep talk …

  70. Bobby Johnson says:

    Its amazing no one in this conversation is mentioning how we are not a democracy but a republic.

  71. Shannon Massena says:

    A nd trumpbillys show them no supposed to

  72. Joel Stewart says:

    I guess those HK demonstrations against who picks the candidates for HK governor never panned out for the people after all….very prescient. America, pay attention….

  73. Joel Stewart says:

    Has Citizens Equality made an progress since 2015?

  74. Арсений Рубцов says:

    Gold.

  75. Dimas Satrio utomo says:

    Thats the same reasons why democrazy apply in the whole country but china, you can see the different now. I am pretty sure that all country have the same problem with the basic system of nationality, that makes a tiny rich feel so wealth, and the other feel so unwealth.

  76. TheKaffeeKlatsch says:

    A “committee” representing an oligarchy, not the people.

    By the way we don’t live in a democracy. I wish so called intellectuals would stop spreading this myth.

  77. petrong says:

    This is the way the EU nominates its president. The USSR much the same form of system of rule, so no points for originality here, there or anywhere.

  78. The big N says:

    This "money primaries" would matter way less if the real problem of the US democracy, the insignificance of most voters, would have been solved. You address this very briefly, and only regarding gerrymandering, while the main issue is the system of "the winner takes it all", instead of proportionally-ish distribution. When the citizens, in the primaries and in the elections, would be heard clearly, the effect of the donations will diminish to its natural secondary size, and be easily solved by online crowdfunding and the free flow of information in this era.

  79. craig merrell says:

    We use the term democracy I believe it is a misnomer it should be an oligarchical cronyism…. the taxing and printing of fiat currency has more of a control on the nation than does the average voter… who is the puppet???
    "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes its laws." Nathan Rothchilds

  80. James Birt says:

    America is a republic! Not a democracy!

  81. min konto says:

    I agrees.. : How can a democracy work when we the people are fed nothing but lies?

  82. mcse9073 says:

    Hey Larry we don't have a democracy, and don't want one. Sticking to the Republic there Larry. Wake up and smell the coffee.

  83. TeaParty1776 says:

    “The people” is Leftspeak for communism.

  84. TeaParty1776 says:

    Individualism is contra collectivism of left and right.

  85. Tina Li says:

    His whole claim is based on that 0.2% people who have real power to vote have no correlation with opinions of the rest population.

  86. David S. Hasanli says:

    I don't know the outcome but I'm pretty sure it didn't passed

  87. Dan D says:

    Much of what he says is true. However, as a leftist Harvard professor, he desires socialistic and federal kingdom goals. He wants to address student college debt which is solely the individuals problem, not societies. He wants the federal government to address climate change. Only a kingdom federalist would think that the states gave the federal government the power to do that. I would suggest that he remember that the USA is a union of republics, not a kingdom. Each state is a sovereign nation by law, by the federal Constitution and by each state constitution. If we got back the the legality of how how union was created, we would not have the money primary problem as Lessig describes.

  88. Suezq Dillard says:

    Best speach I've heard to describe what I've been trying to say

  89. Brandon Faun says:

    They filter the information that formulates public opinion as well. They've got you by the balls.

  90. TheVern18544 says:

    Depends on which people you align with. Remember, Democracy is 3 wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner.

  91. Rikard .Martin says:

    nice speech, but we are not a democracy. we are a republic. no matter how you want it and make pretty speeches

  92. Melanie Clark says:

    It is not supposed to be a democracy.

  93. Jazmin Mitchell says:

    Mexican govnt. elections work the same way. The nominated are just as corrupt or worse the ones previously elected.

  94. Steven Zhu says:

    "Created Equal" and "citizen funded campaigns". They obviously should NOT be together. Through "citizen funded campaigns" the first primary won't be decided by corporates, but still by RICH/WEALTHY citizens. That is NOT equality upon creation.

    And because YouTube has a somewhat screwed comment sorting system (I don't care about that, but in this case it matters) so that other people probably won't see this, this comment won't matter.

  95. kattoo B says:

    or… how about we get rid of representational democracy all together in favor of direct democracy?! You can get rid of the "tweedism", but as long as there are a small group of elites that govern masses, you'll never have a true democracy. we will always be governed by people who make claims to represent our interest, but will always ultimately fail.

  96. Col Pro says:

    One word: Crowdfunding.

  97. Kohn Bonn says:

    I agree with many of the problems with the system but this guy is a super liberal trying to get control for his party.

  98. TheMaster says:

    Just pass a law that limits campaign donations to just come from individuals with a yearly cap. No corporate or businesses, no "Dark money".

  99. The Scoop! says:

    Our democracy? What democracy?

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