8Books Review: The Last Election by Andrew Yang

I met the former presidential candidate and founder/co-chair of the Forward Party back in July at a political event, and one of the first things he did was hand me this book, The Last Election – a political thriller he co-wrote with writer Stephen Marche, based on a lot of learnings of his run for president. I was like, “WTF is this?” Andrew explains his reasoning on his blog post back in March (which I obviously had not noticed):

“Last year, I interviewed the Atlantic columnist and author Stephen Marche on his non-fiction book, “The Next Civil War.”  It was a sobering conversation; I found that Stephen and I shared many of the same concerns about American democracy and society coming apart as institutions struggle. 
A few months later, Stephen and I were discussing ways to work together. How could we get out more of these ideas to the public?  We agreed that stories are the best and most powerful way for people to understand something.  We would tell a story that everyone would get and could access. 
Thus was born “The Last Election,” a novel starring Mikey Ricci, the campaign manager of an insurgent third-party presidential candidate and Martha Kass, a journalist who gets a hold of some material that could determine the future of American democracy. The story proceeds from the launch of the fledgling new campaign for fourteen months through Election Day and the swearing in of a new – or is it the old? – administration. 
I’ve written a few things, but I’m no novelist. Stephen, happily, has produced both fiction and non-fiction and had a bunch of research from “The Next Civil War,” that appears in “The Last Election.”  We also had my campaign manager Zach meet with Stephen to give him nitty-gritty details and stories from what it’s actually like on the trail.  I’m proud of the result and can’t wait to share it with you and the world. Hopefully it will both entertain and prepare you.”

I have not read fiction since college, so I though, “damn, I’m going to have to read and review this.” But The Last Election was an easy and enjoyable read. This novel is NOT based on Andrew Yang’s his presidential campaign run, but there are definitely certain elements of the campaign that are echos of the campaign. I asked if the third party candidate, Cooper Sherman, was modeled after himself – and he had said no – more of a combination between Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert (and maybe a little of himself).

If you enjoy following politics and learning a little bit more about the behind the scenes of a presidential campaign, you will enjoy the book. The Last Election is a political thriller in the spirit of the film The Manchurain Candidate (2004 remake) and the TV series Designated Survivor. To be honest, I couldn’t get past the third or fourth episode of the first season of Designated Survivor because I thought the conspiracy nature of the series was just too over the top.

The Last Election almost goes into conspiracy theory territory. When you think, however, about what happened on January 6th attack on the Capitol and Trump’s efforts with the fake electors as well as the Gore vs. Bush 2000 election decided by the Supreme Court and throw in the Oklahoma City bombing, Joe Rogan and Alex Jones, you realize that we’re not too many steps away from what could happen. The culination of what has happened politically and societally the past 40 years could lead up to The Last Election, or what I have often commented when I post political news on Facebook bordering on the crazy, “Not from The Onion …

So if you’re into reading fiction, into politics, and looking for something entertaining to read, don’t miss The Last Election.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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