Campaign finance expert Richard L. Hasen is author of The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, writer of the Election Law Blog, and a professor of law and political science at University of California, Irvine. Before participating in a panel on the cost of U.S. elections, he confessed in the Zócalo green room that before he became a law school professor, he was nearly a law school dropout—and that chocolate is his kryptonite.
What’s your favorite constellation?
I’ll name Orion, but I have no idea. It’s the only one I know.
As a kid, what did you spend your allowance on?
Comic books and baseball cards.
What do you wish you had the nerve to do?
Ski like my wife does.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Write a lot, but don’t write crap.
If you could vote in another country besides the U.S., which would you choose?
Any democracy that has nonpartisans running their elections.
Which country would be the most fun?
Australia, because it’s fun to be in Australia.
What’s the last great book you read?
It’s a book by five political scientists on how lobbying works: Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why. That’s kind of an odd thing to say, but it’s really a great book. I read a lot of books but few of them fit into the “great” category.
What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?
It’s like having a fourth child. The blog always wants more, and during the election season it consumes every free waking moment.
What’s the hardest choice you’ve ever had to make?
Whether to drop out of law school after three days.
Why did you want to drop out?
I felt like it was going from being a colleague of professors to being in kindergarten. I vowed never to treat my law students like they were in kindergarten.
What dessert can’t you resist?
Generally anything with chocolate—like a chocolate budino or a chocolate soufflé.