Presidential election year... A time when everything seems to get a bit crazy. Everyone is asking for your vote. Telling you what they will do for you if elected. Making promises while knocking down the other guy. The media barrage is so constant and the tone so negative that some wonder why vote at all. Today Harvey Simon is here to remind us why each and every vote does count as well as to tell us a bit about his book The Madman Theory.
Think your vote this November in the presidential election doesn’t matter? Then read my novel, The Madman Theory.
The Madman Theory tells a story of what might have happened if just a tiny number of voters had changed their minds about which candidate to support in 1960.
The contest that year was between a young Senator and an almost equally young vice president. The Senator was the Democrat, John F. Kennedy. The Republican was Richard Nixon.
Of course, Kennedy won the election. And you may owe your very existence to that simple fact.
That’s because two years after the election, the Kennedy administration discovered that our nuclear-armed enemy, the Soviet Union, was secretly building a missile base in Cuba. These missiles, just 90 miles from Florida, had the capability to obliterate New York, Washington and other major U.S. cities.
This was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and at its height the secretary of defense thought he might not live another week. Ultimately, Kennedy saved the day – literally saved the world – and ended the conflict peacefully.
We were lucky to have Kennedy as president. That’s what it was – dumb luck. During the presidential campaign Nixon bumped his knee on a car door. His knee became infected and he was hospitalized. He lost a lot of weight and looked terrible – just in time for his presidential debate with Kennedy on television.
Some people think Nixon lost the election because he looked so awful during those debates. In other words, the world was saved because Nixon bumped his knee.
Maybe – that depends on what Nixon would have done during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had he been president.
Read The Madman Theory and find out.
-- Harvey Simon
About the Book: It is 1962 and there are children at play in the White House for the first time since the presidency of William Howard Taft. Richard Nixon, the vigorous 49-year-old president, has been in office less than two years, having won election by a razor-thin margin over Senator John Kennedy. In Moscow, the wildly unpredictable Nikita Khrushchev is looking forward to visiting his cherished revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro. Just 90 miles from American shores, Khrushchev will announce an audacious and dangerous nuclear stunt to abruptly shift the balance of power: a secretly-built network of missiles across Cuba that put American cities in the atomic crosshairs. But President Nixon has his own announcement planned. A U.S. spy plane has discovered the missiles being set up in Cuba and Nixon will soon address the nation to announce his response. Meanwhile, First Lady Pat Nixon is in California to look at a San Clemente house the first couple may purchase. Seeing shoppers crowd around a store-window television, Pat gets her first inkling of trouble. Dick has always insisted she not listen to the news and she is happy, for now, to return to her correspondence. In the coming days, the confrontation between the U.S. and its nuclear foe will escalate. The president will weigh his determination to overthrow Castro against the risk of all-out war as Pat struggles to reconcile her proper role as a wife with her estrangement from the man who thrust her into a public life she despises.
About the Author: Harvey Simon is a Washington, D.C., based writer whose articles have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and elsewhere. Before moving to Washington he was a national security analyst at Harvard University, where he also wrote about other public policy issues. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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