@Lessig in the Daily Beast:
This was the argument that I had made to Sanders directly, as Politico reported yesterday, citing a confidential memo I had written, and that was apparently leaked to Politico by the campaign. As I argued there:
Reform can’t be just one idea on a list. It can’t be something you talk about achieving “in the long run.” Nothing that you’re talking about doing is credible unless you achieve this reform first. What you need to do clearly is to demonstrate convincingly how you’re going to achieve at least the corruption, and voting parts of your program as the first thing you do.
This is important both politically and for credibility.
Politically: every Democrat is going to be talking about basically the same issues. You need to distinguish yourself from them by describing a credible plan to make certain these changes happen first.
Credibility: after the surge of support for you, the single strongest attack is going to be the “reality argument.” You’re talking about a string of reforms that simply cannot happen in the Washington of today. The “system is rigged.” If that rigging is good for anything, it is good for blocking basically everything you’re talking about.
The only response I’ve heard you give to that is that you’re beginning a revolution—making it sound like the mechanism of change is a bunch of people in the streets of D.C. Whether you believe that is possible or not, other people won’t. Indeed, talking like that only weakens your credibility.
The only credible way to talk about why you will get the change you want where no one else has or could is because you have a plan for making sure the “unrigging” of the “rigged system” happens first. If you have a convincing and credible plan for that, then the other changes you’re talking about don’t sound like mere fantasies.
Citizen equality can’t just be one issue on a list. It has to be the first issue—the one change that makes all other changes believable. For the first time in forever, The Wall Street Journal reports this issue is at the top of voters’ mind. You need to be the leader who makes it top of your platform as well.