Tuesday, 20 September 2016

*Don't Invite the Vampire In*

NY Times
Don't invite the vampire in. In classical Dracula stories, a vampire can only enter your house if you invite him in. Faithless Elector is not a vampire story (spoiler alert). But it has at its core the terrible consequences of undermining the foundational principle of popular sovereignty and democratic governance--voting. 

In the novel, the conspirators strike at the heart of the electoral process by attempting to subvert the Electoral College vote. The underlying "reason" the faithless electors in the novel point to is voter fraud in Illinois. 

Since the novel's publication, I have watched the continued growth of the voter fraud/rigged election myth with trepidation (46% of Americans believe voter fraud happens 'somewhat' or 'very' often).  Authors love to see their ideas and creations breathe life beyond the page. I am no different. I struggle to create stories that resonate, characters who seem alive, situations and conflicts that seem real. 
But in this instance, I am conflicted. 

One of the central motivations for the characters in Faithless Elector is their bone-deep faith in the value of democracy; that what is happening to them and their country if the conspiracy succeeds is wrong. Their need to set that right pits them against powerful forces who have no love for, nor no regard for the nation and its people; who will stop at nothing. 

Here in the real world, Republican leaders have lately engaged in some very public hand-wringing apologies about the rise in power of the Tea Party and Donald Trump supporters. When pressed, many will admit that their rhetoric and tactics have backfired and undermined their credibility as a party, leaving only the nihilist likes of Donald Trump to cash in and drain the Grand Old Party of its lifeblood. After all, they invited him in.

But there is something even more insidious at work: their repudiation of voting. "Behind closed doors, some Republicans freely admit that stoking false fears of electoral fraud is part of their political strategy. A former Florida Republican Party chairman, Jim Greer, told The Palm Beach Post that voter ID laws and cutbacks in early voting are 'done for one reason and one reason only' — to suppress Democratic turnout." (NYTimes, Opinion 2016-09-20 http://nyti.ms/2ddKBIJ)

Will we be hearing yet more hand-wringing apologies come November?  How do you rescind your invitation to a vampire?

Publishers Weekly says Faithless Elector is a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.”

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.

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