Lessig still isn't a household name, so I think it's far too late for him to participate in this election cycle as a real candidate. That being said, he's also imperfect as a candidate for a few reasons. Lessig is really good at presentations and speaking eloquently, but he still doesn't quite rile people up in the way that is needed for his kind of insurgent campaign (against who, exactly?). Lessig also doesn't have the cash to get noticed nationwide. He's setting goals to raise a million, whereas Hillary is planning a billion dollar campaign, and the Republicans are likely planning a several billion dollar campaign for whoever they pick.
Also, an elephant in the room: the issues Lessig is running on (campaign finance reform, voting reform, ending gerrymandering) are not actually non-partisan in the way that he is trying to market them. Everyone (everyone!) knows that campaign finance reform, gerrymandering, and voter reform are the left's issues.
Why? Because the right in the USA needs voter exclusion and balkanization(via the false issue of voter fraud aimed at poor populations) in order to win elections. Campaign finance reform is similar; big money influences both sides heavily, but they favor the right for their business-friendly disposition. Big money favoring the right wing means that prospective candidates from the left are also vetted against how business friendly they are, pulling the mainstream left wing toward the right wing, assuming that candidates act rationally and take the money for grabs.
This series of behaviors ultimately results in the far-right wing business cartel promoters that currently comprise Congress. Claiming that Lessig isn't some kind of far-left (for the US) candidate is a tad disingenuous, even if he actually believes it. A popular and well-moneyed Lessig would be a huge threat to big money's influence on politics, to be sure-- in the way that Sanders is currently.
I like your comment overall, but there's no evidence I'm aware of that this is true. Massachusetts didn't elect a Republican governor in 2014 because otherwise Democratic voters there are balkanized or intimidated. Don't like that specific example? Choose another.
Besides, gerrymandering doesn't help the GOP that much. If anything, it's the opposite. If the Democrats want the composition of the House to reflect their national vote totals, they'd need to draw some pretty nonsensical districts to "dilute" their highly concentrated urban votes into suburban areas where they could help swing more seats. This appears to be one reason why Lessig is arguing for larger, multi-member Congressional districts.
You say gerrymandering doesn't help the GOP, then link an article which describes how gerrymandering has allowed for the complete and uncontested domination of half of the legislature by the GOP for over a decade. There's only two houses in Congress, and three presidential elections and numerous mid-terms is a long time for half of congress to be safely locked down. Then there's the fact that the lockdown of the House has occurred during a very protracted time of endless GOP fumblings, failings, catastrophes, and unprecedented low approval ratings. Without gerrymandering, the House GOP would have been ghosts in 2008, then again in 2012, then again in 2014...
As far as Massachusetts goes, we have a history of picking centrists when the left's candidate is weak. This happened in recent memory with Baker, Romney, and also Scott Brown. That being said, MA is also strongly left/European, so you wouldn't even see the start of anti-voter campaigns against either side here.
Single member districts and the concentration of liberals in urban enclaves helps the GOP, but very few sane districting systems (using single member districts) would fail to produce the same outcome -- you'd have to actively gerrymander in a way that breaks up communities with similar demographics to get a near-proportional representation out of the existing population distribution.
While gerrymandering may help the GOP in some cases, the big thing that helps the GOP isn't gerrymandering so much as the basic structure of the electoral system (which also makes gerrymandering a high-stakes game.)
Which is why Lessig proposed ranked-choice voting in multimember districts. Multimember districts with proportional representation within districts eliminates the high-stakes districting decisions that make gerrymandering possible (there are still district lines that need drawn, except in small states, but the details of where they are drawn has much smaller impact on outcomes), and also eliminates the natural advantage that a group whose support is a small majority over a wide area has over one that is supermajority in a concentrated area, tending to produce results in the legislature that are overall more proportional to those in the electorate.
That's not what the article says. At one point it suggests gerrymandering is good for maybe 6-8 GOP seats (and it's not clear that counts any offsetting gerrymandering in Democratically controlled states).
Much of the rest of the GOP "lock" on the House is described thusly:
Even so, “by far the most important factor contributing to the Republican advantage,” Mr. Chen says, “is the natural geographic factor of Democrats’ being overwhelmingly concentrated in these urban districts, especially in states like Michigan and Florida.”
Which is exactly what I said.
You have this backward. The Hispanic population tends to be naturally left leaning (immigration reform, worker's rights, protection from the police, etc.), but can be convinced to go somewhat to the right with enough bashing from the Pope/pulpit.
Marijuana legalization in California was a good example the last time it popped up.
So, if you combine the fact that Wendy Davis was female and was facing a very competent political opponent, 20 points isn't really surprising. Her distribution was exactly what you would expect (check the county results map on the right hand side):
Now, compare that to Ann Richards win and loss:
So, Wendy Davis took the districts she was expected to take (possible exception being San Antonio), and nothing more.