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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

How to Overthrow the Corrupt System - My Initial Review of The Fringe Candidate by W. Brad Swift

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

The Election of 2016 resulted in a possibly mortal injury to the Status Quo. I applaud Donald J. Trump for that. Status Quo has had it coming for a long, long, long time. S.Q. still has its supporters & there are times when I'm pretty sure DJT is just trying to re-form S.Q., like he is the Republican party, in his own image. But for some of the same reasons he was elected in 2016, I think there's a decent chance he won't in 2020. No outright prophecies here, but some personal observations from the past & my opinions on how it may affect the future. Trump won the presidency due in large part because Democrats & the 'Left' underestimated just how much Republicans and the 'Right' hated Hillary Rodham Clinton. There's a pretty good chance that Democratic party turnout, and a pretty solid chunk of those like me who reject the party system, or at least are unwilling to commit to one or the other, will come out in record numbers on November 3rd to let the world know how much we dislike Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, most of the "fringe candidates" of the Democratic presidential primaries have already melted off. Though, to be fair to history - Bernie is still pretty fringe. Brad Swift contacted me shortly before Christmas about partnering with him & Meg Price to produce the audiobook of The Fringe Candidate. Due to prior commitments, I couldn't get around to it in time for it to be available while most of the "fringe candidates" were still in play. The titular character is based on Marianne Williamson who has unfortunately suspended her bid for the 2020 Presidency. As a dual narration, Meg Price will be voicing Angeline Tarkington & the other female characters of this book. I'll be narrating most of the book, told from the perspective of an MSNBC grizzled news commentary host Brasten Gramarly, as he first interviews her that leads to an eventual change in his own perspective & attitudes toward Tarkington and how to beat the Trump of a fictionalized America (Amberica in this case, and Oscar Wellian instead of Trump, and a couple other equally tongue-in-cheek-we-don't-want-to-get-sued kind of names to protect the innocent, or sometimes guilty).

When I was approached by Brad, I was excited to work on something that is trying to make a difference in our world today by use of story. This is something I've done with Cameron Taylor as well. Swift's writing is interesting & engaging. I'm going to enjoy giving voice to Brasten & the story in general. Brasten's deceased wife makes cameo appearances as his conscience & I thought the way Swift handled her as a character & as a driving force for change for Brasten was believable and made for some fun moments in the story. This is a quick read & will be a quick listen once the audio is done. (Click here to hear a sample of Meg & me reading from one of the first chapters).

The realistic approach to what it would take to actually get a fringe candidate elected to the highest office in the nation are well thought out & some of it is just outlandish enough that it might work. There are a couple of plot points I didn't see coming, and it should be interesting to see where Swift goes with this series. I like the use of the term "visionary fiction." I like stories that are meant to make us think & sometimes motivate us to make a change.

Realistically speaking, I think it's too late for the 2020 election to get a Fringe Candidate like Angeline Tarkington or Marianne Williamson elected. At best, we'll get another 4 years of somebody's version of the status quo. But reading this book has brought some things to the forefront of my mind:

1- The Status Quo NEEDS to be changed. Regularly. It's like a baby. If you don't change it, things are going to stink. Someone will end up screaming and uncomfortable and making things unpleasant for everyone else (I'd even be willing to replace "Status Quo" with "Politicians, Presidents, Senators, Representatives" and so on & still stand solidly behind that statement.

2 - There are indubitably some puppet masters pulling strings in the background of political machinations. If you think that's just a wild conspiracy theory, they've obviously got you drinking their KoolAid. Those in power are there & stay there because they have power & manipulate the system to keep it that way.

3 - If you want evidence of #2 - WHY have we not had a successful Woman candidate for president from either party. The Deck is stacked against them. It's not the status quo. Rich and Powerful White Men have been at the helm for all but 8 of the last 500 years on this continent. Some of them have been AMAZING principled white men, and others... well... Introducing Jim Crow Segregation into DC in your presidency a little over 100 years ago comes to mind along with some more recent examples.

4 - We NEED to speak out, act out, resist, and support those who are trying to stand up for Decency, Dignity, Personal Liberty, Humanity, and real solutions to the problems we are facing and throw the labels that are hampering us out the window. Including Liberal, Conservative, Republican, Democrat, Socialist, and Capitalist.

So while I don't necessarily agree with Swifts exact political leanings & I'm completely unwilling to declare myself as a Republican or a Democrat, I'm rating this book at 5 stars because it is designed to make you think - And to help us look directly at what is wrong in our current system that has evangelical Christians as apologists for a misogynist, and calls for a censuring of a politician for voting against party lines based on principles instead. I see in this book that Tarkington runs as a Democrat because that's the choice she has. The fact that we are again going to be ultimately stuck with a "binary choice" disgusts me. It floors me that not only have no Republicans stepped up to challenge Trump, but many states are not even holding Republican primaries. Baskin Robins always has 31 flavors. Why in the wealthiest nation in the world are we forced to pick between only 2 every election?

I feel for you, Captain.

Is this book maybe too late for 2020? Maybe. I still hold my hopes out for some 3rd or 9th party candidate, but I'm not going to kid myself. Chances are good we are in for another 4 years of partisanship politics that is the ultimate Status Quo that needs to be toppled every bit as much as the 13 Colonies needed to revolt against King George. Read this book. If you want to help get it going live as an audiobook, contribute to the Kickstarter page. Pass it on to anyone you know who is sick of the partisan status quo. Give me another year or so & I'm hoping to have my own personal book written on how to fix what's wrong with the planet & our society, but in the meantime - I'll recommend anything I come across that I think might nudge things that way.

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