• July 15, 2016
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Interview with Craig Tomashoff, author of ‘The Can’t-idates: Running for President When Nobody Knows Your Name’

With the general election coming up, what a perfect time to interview Craig Tomashoff, author of THE CAN’T-IDATES: RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT WHEN NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME.  I asked him about his book and who was he planning to vote for in November?

About the Author

  Craig Tomashoff

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

About the Book:

The Can't-didates

Title: The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name
Author: Craig Tomashoff
Publisher: Bobtimystic Books
Pages: 302
Genre: Nonfiction

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.

Thanks for this interview, Craig.  Your book’s release comes at a great time – in the midst of the craziest campaign for President of the United States.  You say you’re not a political person, but can you tell me why you wrote The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name?

Craig: I know it sounds strange but I don’t see this as a political book at all. It’s about Americans who have tried to fix their lives by running for president. Every person in the book has experienced something in their past that led them to seek redemption with this run. I’m fascinated by people who wake up in the morning and say, “You know what I’m gonna do today? I’m gonna do this thing that everyone will think I’m crazy for doing. I’ll lose friends. I’ll lose money. And ultimately, there’s no chance I will succeed.” Who does that? The answer is, people who have finally summoned the nerve to do their “crazy thing.” We all have a “crazy thing” we want to do but are afraid to try because of how people will react. And my “crazy thing” was writing about these people.

What were some of the craziest stories you heard while getting information about your book?

Craig: First, let me explain the process I went through to do my research. I used the Federal Election Commission website to get the addresses of all 193 candidates at that time (spring 2015). I wrote them a not expressing my interest in their impossible request and about 100 got back to me. (I didn’t hear back from the guy who listed a Washington, D.C. Motel 6 as his address.) And yes, some of them were too crazy to include in the book. For instance, two people had filed and yet were unaware they had to be 35 to run for president. One guy had done it just to make new friends, and continued to call me for months after our initial call. There were three different vet-turned-truck driver guys in the South who all complained about pornography in movies these days. And then they proceeded to explain the movies they hated most and how they’d watched them several times to make sure.

Out of all the people you interviewed, did any particular person stand out who would have made a good candidate?

Craig: There were a few people who I could actually see as a politician, if not president. Bart Lower in Michigan may look like your high school principal but he was one of the wisest people I’ve met in years. He is what we should want our politicians to be – someone who takes time to think through his positions based on his real-life experiences. He may be uncertain about gay marriage but after meeting the lesbian neighbors who adopted a child, he changed his thinking. When his son developed a drug problem, he factored his experiences into his thoughts on the war on drugs. When he was laid off, he understood exactly how humiliating the experience can be. If you took Bart’s stances on the issues and compared them to the meaningless rhetoric from big-name candidates, I think he’d get a lot of believers.

Who would have made the worse candidate?

Craig: I suppose the easy answer is Vermin Supreme, who has been running for president since 1992. He’s a veteran political prankster who wears a boot on his head when he campaigns. His policies include providing free ponies for all Americans, enacting legislation requiring all citizens to brush their teeth and going back in time to kill baby Hitler. But the more I think about his candidacy, the more I think his attitude might be way better than any big-name candidates.

Can you tell us why we would enjoy reading your book?

Craig: Don’t see this as a political book. See this as a character study memoir. I think we all feel inspired by people who chart their own course, and each of the people in the book does just that. They are going after their “crazy thing” and I like to think that gets all of us thinking that we should try something crazy. If that isn’t enough for you, I swear to God some of my jokes are pretty funny too. (Pay particular attention to any Kardashian references.)

Lastly, are you going to vote for President?  Would you like to tell us who and why you decided to vote for him/her?

Craig: I won’t say who I’m voting for, but I will say who I’m NOT voting for. It rhymes with “Dump.” He personifies everything we teach our kids not to be, and honestly, I can’t understand how anybody would vote for him.

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