Craig Tomashoff is a freelance writer/producer based in Los Angeles. His blogs appear regularly at Huffington Post.com. Most recently, he was a producer for The Queen Latifah Show. Prior to that, he served as Executive Editor of TV Guide, and has also worked as Associate Bureau Chief for People. In addition, he has written for the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Emmy Magazine. Prior to The Can’t-idates, he was the author of You Live, You Learn: The Alanis Morissette Story and co-wrote I’m Screaming As Fast As I Can: My Life In B-Movies with Linnea Quigley. He has also worked as a television writer/producer for such series as VH1’s Behind the Music, The Martin Short Show and The Late Show With Craig Kilborn.
His latest book is The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name.
For More Information
Title: The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name
Author: Craig Tomashoff
Publisher: Bobtimystic Books
I’m not a political person by nature. Most of the time, it seems the political world plays out more like a lame ‘70s sitcom with all its predictable characters and routine storylines. However, last spring, I got tired of hearing friends and family complain about the lack of exciting, innovative candidates for president. Everyone seemed ready to vote for "None Of the Above." So, I decided to take a 10,000-mile road trip across America in May 2015 to meet several of the more than 1600 "real people" who are legit candidates for the presidency. Including a couple in New England.
The Can’t-idates is about dreamers -- not all of whom are tin-foil hat crazy -- who just want to fill a hole in their lives by running for president. And as I drove to meet them all, I realized a lot about not just my life but also about the country. If we could all take time to believe in what our parents always told us -- "Someday you can grow up to be president" -- maybe we wouldn't be in the shape we're in.
For More Information
- The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
As much as we love our children, the cold, hard fact is that we frequently lie to them in order to give them hope, which, in this world, is often in short supply. As far as I’m concerned, that’s totally ne. Adults recognize the harshness of a world that seems determined to discourage the next generation, so we manufacture comforting fiction to soften the blow and keep them in line (at least somewhat). How else do you explain countless fantastical tales throughout history, from stories of Greek gods to the annual appearance of Santa Claus to certain beliefs about what will cause hair to grow on your palms?
Most of these stories are innocent and well intentioned. They tend to achieve the desired effect of keeping our kids believing in the unbelievable and living the good lives we want them to live. There is, however, one complete and total lie we have spun for years that may be doing far more harm than good. It has wreaked havoc on our entire democratic system. We tell America’s future leaders that if they work and study hard, any of them, no matter where they came from, can one day be President of the United States.
Presidential candidates want you to believe in this fiction because it humanizes them. They spend huge chunks of their day trying to portray themselves as men and women “from Main Street and not from Wall Street,” each one attempting to out-ordinary the next by sharing everything from stories of immigrant parents to childhood newspaper routes to their favorite barbecue recipes.
However, claiming they truly feel the plight of average Americans is like hearing them say they’re connoisseurs of Mexican cuisine because they’ve sampled the late night menu at Taco Bell. It’s pretty hollow reasoning and produces nothing but a lot of hot air. I’m reasonably certain this was not quite what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they set this whole democracy thing in motion. In fact, they took great pains to keep the requirements for leading this nation as minimal as possible. It’s more complicated to get a Costco membership card than it is to make a run at the presidency. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifically states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
And that’s it. Turn 21 and you can drink. Turn 25 and you get a better rate on your auto insurance. Turn 35 and you can be the Commander in Chief. It all seems so simple. Which is maybe why we constantly remind our kids that someday it could be them. It really does seem that almost no one is ruled out of this race. At least that’s how it feels if you spend three minutes viewing any cable news outlet once the election cycle starts spinning. I could swear that at one point, the only person not running for the Republican presidential nomination was that crazy old guy you see arguing with cashiers at the grocery store. And even he would have led if he weren’t so busy watching Clint Eastwood movies and telling the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.
OUR REVIEWS: 5 stars from Rachel Weeks
The Can’t-idates provides an interesting look at the presidential candidates (“can’t-idates”) who didn’t even come close to making it on the general public’s political radar. Tomashoff is witty and honest, as he takes readers along on his cross-country road trip to interview the most compelling, comical, and curious can’t-idates. I found Tomashoff incredibly funny, and I appreciated how he delivered his quips gently. While each presidential can’t-idate’s story functions as its own chapter, Tomashoff does a nice job of weaving the stories together, reminding the reader of moments earlier on in the book.
5 out of 5 stars from Ally Barber
When we’re young, we think we can do anything and our elders encourage this belief, no matter how false or impossible it may be. Almost every child in America grows up truly believing that one day they could be a future leader of the free world, the President of the United States. It is only upon an increased cynicism or age that the formerly idealistic child realizes that such a dream is simply that – a dream. In reality, only those with the last name Bush or Clinton or who have millions in their bank account and have a few well placed supporters on Wall Street and in Congress could ever have a chance at the presidency. Despite this, there are still some, as eccentric and odd as they may seem, who truly believe that as long as they reach the stipulations that are in the Constitution, that they too may one day be a force for good and democracy and freedom in this country. For them, dreams are still attainable. In The Can't-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name, Craig Tomashoff describes his experiences meeting these dreamers who are willing to risk everything for a cause.
The Can’t-idates is one of those books that is so entertaining and enjoyable due both to the author’s incredible and witty way with words as well as the fascinating quality of the subject. Tomashoff seamlessly integrates his own personality and anecdotes into the subject matter, creating a work that is both informative and personal. The author’s witty and humorous yet tactful prose makes for an incredibly entertaining read. The individual stories about the ‘Can’t-idates’ function as separate chapters, yet Tomashoff manages to create a cohesive whole out of all of them. Though the book focuses on the sensational people who dream of being president, Tomashoff avoids castigating them or mocking them, choosing instead to view them as idealist members of a democratic process that is obviously now incredibly flawed. Overall, The Can’t-idates is a very enjoyable work that is sure to both amuse and inspire those who read it.